While waiting for our kids to finish their gymnastics program, I had the chance to swing into some mommy talks with two of the waiting moms. The question was lame enough, 'do you want to have another child?'
I dont know why it turned into a debacle over career and children. For someone like me who have never really seriously thought about starting a career in the near future, it was an eye-opener.
A, who is an accountant, lamented that having one child is already considered a big hindrance by future employers. How much more so if she's got two kids? They have decided not to have another child, because then she would be definitely out of the race. We wondered how A is already lucky to have the advantage of a self-employed husband plus the fact that they are living with her in laws -- thus, she wont have any problem with baby-sitting her 5 year old daughter. But still, employers turned her down. Her former employee kicked her out as they want to avoid part timers on the job. She is now working for her husband, doing the accounts; but is still going around looking for a part time job.
The other mom, N, also works parttime. But she is lucky with her employer because the company she's working with is a mom-friendly one. She works two times a week, clocking a full day each. She's got a 5 year old daughter in kindergarten.
I shared what I saw in a documentary film. A hidden camera filmed how a young single mom, (she's got a 3 year old daughter), asked a bakery owner if she can fill the position as helper. The first question was, 'do you have a child?'. When she nodded, she was turned down right there and then. Whether she's capable or not; they didnt even bother to ask.
The bakery owner was then asked by the TV team about her negative response. She said simply that she wanted someone who would be flexible with her time. Someone who would be there whenever she is needed. And that is definitely not a commitment provided by moms with kids.
A is afraid to be jobless. But she dont want to miss the growing years of her child; thus she would pursue a career when her daughter goes to school, which would be next year. N's child would be in school this year, she dont plan to go full time. She emphasized that if she really need to work, then she would go full time; but since this is not the case -- then she would love to enjoy being with her child. For me, it is a choice to be a stay at home mom; although I am slowly thinking of working part time, too. But I would have to schedule my job around the needs of my family first. Would I have a chance, too? I am optimistic though.
We all agreed that it doesnt feel right to leave our kids to the care of strangers. And to see them only at night or early morning, just enough time for kissing them hello and goodbye. I am sure it is also not easy for the working moms; I admire them for choosing both careers and family. I dont think I'd have the same dedication they have.
At least some of us have a choice, but what about the moms who must work for their kids to have something on the table at home? It is a sad fact that Deutschland is lagging behind other European countries when it comes to child care. And politics are just blah blah blah...the hands that rock the cradles must prevail, after all, the country also needs the young.