After having my baby and when I had to decide how much parental leave I will take, I started googling: best tips for returning to work after maternity leave and so on. I found some advices, I tried to follow them and I wrote a return-to-work plan (per period and number of hours).

Months passed, I made some new mom connections, and the first question we ask each other after common baby subjects is: when are you going back to work? How are going to deal with it? and from there the discussion continues with many raised concerns. It seemed a hard topic or decision because it’s not easy to leave that teeny tiny baby of hers, in addition to, the big changes in her life, in her body, in her personality.. in everything that she is still assimilating and adjusting with.

Anyway, from these discussions that I held, I discovered that many of us, start rethinking their career, their field of work and feel somehow lost, or with very little support. This made me question why those women, who can be talented, ambitious in their careers don’t receive enough support when they become mothers in order to uplevel their professional goals and keep growing? I felt a real lack of support system offered by people.

I couldn’t resist seeing this reality without doing anything, I know that many women like me, who got children and want to also have a career. I know that we deserve both! That’s how I got an idea and I started googling again to be hit at the end by another reality: Germans have a name for working moms, and it’s not very nice. I was shocked! I didn’t expect that Germany has such a culture, I never heard about it! I kept reading and investigating and here are the top things I believe are worth mentioning:

1- One recent survey found that 56% of East Germans are in favor of moms of school-age children working full-time, while only a paltry 22% of West Germans are in favor. [1]

2- the “wage penalty” is largest for German mothers compared with those in four other European countries included in a recent study. After 10 years, the study found, a German mother earns 61% less than she did a year before giving birth, because many mothers work part time or quit working after their children are born. (A 2015 study of more than 19,000 German mothers found that 18% returned to work full time at their previous employer after taking maternity leave, and 20% returned to work part time. Thirteen percent switched to a new employer). [2]

3- Germany actually has Europe’s lowest share of families in which both parents work full-time, after the Netherlands. Some 80% of part-time jobs in Germany are held by women, according to the Federal Labor Agency. [3]

The above statistics made me even more determined to challenge the situation, understand the problem from working mothers’ view and look for a solution.

I do also know that new parents are struggling to find a childcare place for their children, which of course leads to more women staying at home because they couldn’t find a solution. Often time, there is no real support from the government or employers. This means many mothers are living tons of stress of searching for a Kita place for months or even years(according to some parents here in Berlin) in order to go back to work.

That’s why, if you are a mother, living in Germany and experienced working before and/or after becoming a mother, I invite you to fill this survey (takes about 9 minutes), in order to help me help each other.

And if you’re not a mother, please share it with moms in your network! I will be very grateful for your support. 🙂

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