What if mana and magic were real

Dad can do that too

I am writing this text with one eye. Meanwhile, the other has the cell phone next to the keyboard in view. The screen is black, but if there is a message there, I definitely can't miss it. Then I have to be able to react immediately. At least that's what I think. My husband, who this message would come from, doesn't think so. If there really was a problem, he'd call. Still, I'm restless. Because: the child is sick. It is well looked after, the father is at home with him, you have been to the doctor, have medication, actually there is nothing to worry about. I know all that. But it doesn't help - when the child is sick, it is difficult for me as a mother not to think about it. Although we as parents try to divide up the care and upbringing duties equally between us, I have the feeling that in crisis situations I am a little more responsible.

I haven't questioned that for a long time. Until I spoke to a friend's husband a few weeks ago, he's an executive in a large company. It was about the compatibility of family and work, and he raved about working mothers: “I'm really impressed by the way you manage all of this, hats off. Mothers are so well organized and structured that there is nothing to procrastinate at the desk. I'd like to hire a lot more mothers - if they didn't drop out so often because their children are sick. ”I had to swallow first. That a father could stay at home if the child has a fever or chickenpox does not happen in this boss's world. And vice versa, in his eyes as a mother, I am not a fully serious worker. Phew

My number appears to be the family's emergency number, although we have the father's number on file everywhere

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In truth, that's not a surprising statement. It hit me anyway, maybe because no one had said it to me in this way and to the face. Of course, there are explanations for this - mostly unspoken - assumption: Many mothers return to work part-time after their parental leave, while the fathers tend to work full-time. If the child has to stay at home sick or has to be picked up earlier from daycare or school, it seems obvious that the mother should further shorten her already shorter working day. Or fail completely.

That's why my cell phone usually rings first when something goes wrong with the child. My number appears to be the family's emergency number, although we have the father's number on file everywhere. Because the common belief is: A sick child needs its mother. It is true: You need a caregiver who, in addition to cough syrup and rusks, can above all give you closeness and security (with the exception of naturally breastfed babies).

It is quite possible that my feeling of special responsibility in such situations also comes from this traditional assumption. That is one of the reasons why I tell myself that only I can hold the feverish child properly in my arms and make him tea, that only I know how many milligrams of paracetamol can be in a suppository for children up to 10 kilograms and how to make proper calf compresses. This knowledge did not automatically flow into my brain when the child was born, but rather I acquired it by studying package inserts and reading through books. So my children's father could do all of that (and he probably does anyway). Caring for a sick child is not mom magic, even if it may feel like it at times.

I don't want to relativize the sentence made by my girlfriend's husband, I just want to understand its origin better. He stands for a major problem in our society: Those who take on a lot of unpaid care work in addition to their job are less attractive for the gainful employment market. No matter how much they tear each other up to create both side by side. Apart from the fact that it is hardly possible to meet all demands, those of the employer, those of the child, your own. And I ask myself: How many women are there who work till they drop and who are not trusted to take on the big project or lead the team - because they are mothers?

I realize that I have to question myself if I feel that I have been treated unfairly. I realize that I have to work to genuinely trust the father that he can do it well with the sick child at home. That he can manage everything well with the children (because that is not always easy for many mothers). In return, the father has to show that he has earned this trust - by taking on the same family responsibilities as I do without being asked or commissioned.

If, as a mother, I can sit at my desk without grumbling and checking my cell phone while the child is sick at home, then at some point the employer should take it for granted (and it shouldn't play a subconscious role in evaluating my work). Because the other thing that my friend's husband said is true: Mothers usually waste little time. This is simply not provided for in their system. On the contrary: mothers are masters of project work. You can swaddle the child, blow dry your hair, set the breakfast table, find missing socks and check the tax bill. Simultaneously.

Recently my husband signed up for a first aid course for babies and toddlers. I suspect that he already knows most of what is shown there. But it makes us all feel good.