Beloved double life

How do I do that with child and work? Is that even possible? "Almost all mothers have asked themselves at some point Dagmar Reiß fencer, But for her the answer was clear: "That has to go." The lawyer was in the middle of her traineeship when she first became pregnant.

Stay home now? With such an education? "Everyone in my area would have shaken their heads." First, her mother, who ran a canteen and funded her daughter's studies. Then the grandmother, who always had her own income as a cook. Dagmar Reiß-Fechter learned as early as childhood that women, including mothers, go to work, just like men. She wanted that as well: "I told my husband from the beginning: He only gets me with my job." With her life model was the 54-year-old in the 70s an exotic. Her husband, who was in agreement with her, had an exotic effect on her: childcare is a matter for both parents.



As a photojournalist Hans-Rainer Fechter mostly worked in the evening, during the day he took care of the two daughters. In the afternoon, a nanny helped him, and in the evening his wife came punctually out of the office to replace him. Often the custom work was to the minute. In addition to this, the young mother initially worked and hired between several occupations: in addition to her work as a trainee lawyer, she was preparing for her state examination and was a research associate at the university. Even on Christmas days she learned for the exams, next to the stroller with the new-born daughter Marthe, and under the Christmas tree 160 seminar papers piled up to correct.



Only later, with two small children, has she become the principle: not to take work home. Although the responsibility grew bigger and bigger. The lawyer rose to Oberkirchenanwältin, then to the managing director with 150 employees and 70-hour work week. But at home she was only a mother. "Otherwise you get bogged down."

"What a stress," many say, when Dagmar Reiß-Fechter, now managing director of a housing construction company, tells about it today. That's right: the everyday life of a working mother is easily the ordeal. In the morning before the job, the first "shift" at home: "Quick, children, we are too late." Hunt through the work day and back home from work in the evening. Only rarely have time for a bar evening with colleagues or friends, for sports, theater, reading. Always needed somewhere where you are not right now.

Decision for a double life: job and children

The smaller the children, the bigger the bad conscience? to the family as well as to the employer. Because no one can be both a 24-hour mother and a worker available at all times. All this is incompatible with the claim of many women to be perfect everywhere. And what do you answer to questions and comments like, "Why are you doing this? That must be hell!" "Oh, what," says Dagmar Reiß-Fechter. She would always opt for the double life as a career and family wife again: "I was suddenly much looser in the job," recalls the 54-year-old. Her duties took her seriously, but conflicts no longer so personal. Her first boss distrusted her: "It was hard for him to endure a woman in a responsible position, and then a working mother, that was suspicious." The supervisor eyed every move, asking behind her back if others were happy with her.



She bounced that off: "There was nothing wrong with my work, he had a problem, not me." And she still had her second life. Sometimes she literally fled from one to the other. Whenever she had a business dinner in the evening, she was glad to say good-bye to the many gray gentlemen: "My children are waiting at home." Conversely, she was only too happy to go to the office when her daughters whined about food, the weather, or just a bad mood.

Today, Dagmar Reiß-Fechter is "proud of my two girls", who build their own lives. And she encourages her family members to stay on the ball at work. However, she knows from the women around her that many are quarreling. The full-time family women ask themselves: Do I possibly miss the connection in the job? Will the pension be enough later? The non-stop workers, on the other hand, doubt: am I caring enough about the family? Does not it hurt my child that I'm not there during the day?

Of course, a lot remains on the track in everyday life, says the manager. As long as it was not about life-important things, Dagmar Reiß-Fechter always saw that with calmness: "The household was unimportant to me, so I never intended to be perfect, nor was I a super mother." That's what their daughters like. "That was just right," says Marthe, the Elder."I still do not like it when someone keeps looking over my shoulder, we were able to do whatever we wanted in the afternoon, and we learned to take responsibility for ourselves, but you were always there for us, in any case . "

I also want recognition from the outside.

If her mother had not shown her how to reconcile family and work, "then I would not have thought so," says daughter Marthe proudly. Her children Benedikt and Lena were born when she was in the middle of business studies. That was planned. The question "How do I do that with child and work?" the 28-year-old has not asked. She knew from her mother how to do it. Eike Ostendorf from the Association of Working Mothers confirms that this model of life lies in the family, so to say: "If a mother continues working in her profession, the daughter is likely to do the same later." Although Marthe is now completing her studies as a distance learning course, she also manages a hotel with her husband and mother-in-law. "I could not just be at home, I also want external recognition," she says.

What working mothers have to learn rather than others: let go. They are usually not present when the child makes the first move, the first word says. Some regret this. Others are happy about the second word. Like Marthe, who got a kindergarten place early for her son. She knows him in good hands with the educators, and he loves to play with his peers.

But a good child care within reach is rare. Most mothers therefore have to "constantly perform this care egg dance," such as Beate Eisinger that's called. Are you rushing out of the office in a panic because the cribs are more busy than they are? or reduce their number of hours.

As a half-time worker, the satisfaction in the job is only half

That would have been out of the question for Beate Eisinger. "As a half-time worker," she says, "you do not feel the full satisfaction at work: Whenever it gets interesting or critical, you're not there." In addition, in her marriage she brought home a secure income as an employee of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Her husband Günter had a temporary contract as an editor when the first child was born. He ran out soon. For both it was clear: He would stay home afterwards. But not just because of the money: "I'm not so into parenting," says the 46-year-old, "too little patience, I know what I can do at work, but as a mother you're always a dilettante."

If she had been there when the kids once spilled a bag of flour, she would have had a tantrum, she says. Her husband took out the video camera and filmed the "white splendor" under the kitchen table. When Günter Mayr-Eisinger signed a permanent contract shortly after the birth of the second child, the two brought two shocks to the environment at once, his wife recalls: "Günter went on child-care leave, that was awesome in his company There was great amazement in the office when I returned. "

For the Eisinger family, the father is usually there for the children Judith and Matthias during the day. "He tries harder than some mothers," the two say about him

At first, however, did Beate Eisinger have a hard time with her new role? especially when a child got sick: "Then you have a bad conscience and think: I have to be with him as a mother." Really? The first time, when both children were sick, Beate Eisinger raced home from the office to help her husband. He had already packed the children to bed and cooked them tea: "The three came wonderfully without me."

"Dad was there," says her 13-year-old daughter Judith. "If both parents were sitting by my bed, I would not have gotten better faster." Her 14-year-old brother Matthias thinks, "We have it as well as others, or even better, Daddy is more bothered with us than some mothers." Even if Beate Eisinger did not wipe every tear and did not play every game? Now she is looking forward to seeing her children grow into conversation partners. At the dinner table, they give tips on how best to counter with inappropriate criticism, or recommend her an outfit for an important appointment.

On the weekend, mother and daughter like to treat themselves "such a real woman's pleasure" and go "like two coffee fans" in the chocolate factory. Beate Eisinger enjoys both life, both professional and private.

Erika Kelz For decades had little time to enjoy. Her husband was an electrician at a fertilizer company and on Mondays during assembly. She herself worked nine hours a day in the office, including Saturdays. And by the way done the household almost alone. "But that was quite normal," says the 61-year-old smiling, "at least in our time." In the GDR, the full-time job was self-evident for almost all women. And her husband's income would probably not have been enough for the family. "But I also like to work", says Erika Kelz afterwards.When she talks about the office without any point or comma and the former colleagues she's meeting with today, they think so right away. And she works until today. After the turn she opened a small sports shop with her husband. Since his death, she continues to lead it alone, although she could retire already. As far as gainful employment is concerned, the mothers in the new Länder are still reliant on women in the West, twice as many working. "Mum did it right," says Erika's daughter Claudia, today mother of two children.

It is important to stand on your own feet

Claudia is not only cut out of her mother's face. She has also taken the attitude from her: "The responsibility for your own life should not be out of the hands." When she separated from her first partner, she realized how important it is to stand on her own. Therefore, Claudia continues to work in her profession, although many would say that especially their three-year-old daughter Luisa still needs them. And even though she has to travel a lot as a sales representative. Erika Kelz strengthens her daughter's back.

What upsets both of them is, "When a mother works, she is asked if she needs it, not if it is her need." And Erika Kelz wonders where the fathers are, why so few feel responsible for their children in their everyday lives: "Workshops for mothers:? How do I enforce my equal rights at home?" Somebody would have to offer it here. "

For her mother it was not easy between partnership, the children, the profession, and all the lives. "It's just a question of discipline," says Dagmar Reiß-Fechter energetically. "I have to send an e-mail quickly, is that possible?" She sometimes says when greeting her when she visits her daughter. "That's how I know you," Marthe says with a grin. "You are unbelievably organized." The mother used to have to do that, but she also enjoyed her daily routine, which was often played to the minute: "Playing with the children in the morning, talking about a building sum of ten million at lunchtime and then calm down a social tenant." That was my elixir of life, "she says.

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Double life, conscience, CCI, children and job