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Kids & career
A day in the life of a working mum
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Act 2 : Lunch break, baby break


At lunch, there is a little baby break. © Jupiter
At lunch, there is a little baby break. © Jupiter
Lunchtime is always particularly hard for Claudia. Like clockwork, just before 12 it starts; her breasts feel tight and start tingling. She used to breastfeed her daughter around this time every day and always found it funny that the little one announced her hunger punctually at midday.

Since she has gone back to work, the times have shifted. "The idea had been to have Mirjam weaned well before now. We haven't quite managed it yet – but we're getting there." Then her mobile beeps, an SMS from her husband: "We are downstairs, waiting at door."

Career women: men are taking time out from work
Finally. Three weeks ago Claudia returned to her old job as team leader in a large advertising agency. Since then, her husband, a doctor, has been on so-called "parent leave": He is now staying at home with Mirjam.

Recently, the German state has started providing support to parents who take time out from their jobs. Couples where both partners take time out can obtain the benefit for longer than if just one of them – the woman, historically – stayed at home looking after the children.  

"People still give you funny looks when you do this"

When it is time to breastfeed the baby, Claudia’s husband comes out with her and usually waits in a cafe around the corner. Today, he greets her with a screaming Mirjam, who he presents to her with outstretched arms. While the little one has a good feed, Claudia writes two e-mails, makes a phone call and responds to several messages on her mobile.

"In Germany, people still give you funny looks when they see you do this sort of thing. In spite of the fact that there are quite a few men now taking time out from work – you have to come to some arrangement after all." Then the lunch hour is over, husband and baby get a kiss and Claudia maybe salad to go.
Career mothers in conversation: "Not all have two jobs, but they all work"
Thalia spends her lunch hour at home. At some time or another she started getting into the habit of doing her cleaning and washing up at this time. There are also e-mails and calls waiting. Because, in addition to her job as an estate agent, she also runs a small inventory business with her mother.

"Not all my girlfriends have two jobs, but they are all working mums and are just as busy as me. It is nothing unusual." Sometimes she wishes that her husband would get more involved with the housework. "On the other hand, when something needs doing, it should be done properly. And men are not particularly tidy."


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