According to the many opponents, it is better to call the Betreuungsgeld ‘sink subsidy’. They think that the fact that the government subsidizes parents in practice usually women who stay at home for their children. But the Bavarian Pamela thinks otherwise. “Mothers prefer to stay at home with their children for the first few years. When they work, they only do so because it is financially necessary and otherwise because it is expected of them in this society. Betreuungsgeld gives families like ours space to breathe.”
Pamela is a full-time mother. She worked in her parents’ orthopedic shoe company until she had her first child five years ago. A son, his name is Jakob, she says proudly. “I am still recovering, but I would like to talk for half an hour. My husband is on vacation and plays in the garden with the children. ” This is normally different. Pamela’s husband Matthias works full-time at a bank and he can afford to buy Instagram followers, the small town in Bavaria where they live, a councilor for the Christian-social CSU, the Bavarian sister party of the CDU. “In addition to his job, that costs him at least a few hours a week.”
Logical division of roles
That Pamela takes full care of the children is simply what happened, she says. “It was the logical division of roles because I could quit more easily and my husband earns more.” But when she continues, there appears to be more to it. “I always thought I would like to keep working, but that changed when I had my first child. When you hold that in your arms for the first time, you don’t want to give that responsibility away to strangers. Unless there is really no other option. ” The fact that a parent stays home for the first few years is also better for the child, Pamela thinks. “Young children move towards their parents and especially towards their mother. That’s a natural bond that I didn’t want to break. We had the opportunity to do it that way, so we took that opportunity. I don’t want to go back to work until the youngest is three. Maybe my husband will work a day less and I will work part-time. ”
The choice to stop working had financial consequences for the family. They can barely make ends meet on Matthias’ salary alone, says the Bavarian. “That is why we are also in favor of the Betreuungsgeld. It is nice for us and also fair. The government does not have to contribute to our childcare and can thus help us a little in a different way. ” According to the opponents of Betreuungsgeld, fewer women are going to work as a result of the scheme. They would rather see the money – the introduction costs about 2 billion euros – invested in expanding the number of daycare places.
She also disagrees with the argument that ethnic minority children will no longer go to day-care due to the scheme – their mothers are usually at home and now receive money for this – and that this means that they run into a language delay. “Most of the immigrant parents I know are of the second generation and speak excellent German. Of course, there are always problem cases, but you should not let such a scheme fall off. You just have to offer those families extra help.”
Would she condemn a working mother the other way around? “Of course not,” says Pamela firmly. “If it is not financially sustainable for your family to stay at home, you have to do what you have to do.” And what if a woman really wants to work? There is a short silence. “Even then I will not judge her. But in many cases, I doubt whether there is any freedom of choice. I think there is a lot of social pressure on mothers to go to work. “Aren’t you working yet?” Ask friends. Or colleagues. Or the boss.