Maintaining a relationship in two-day slots
Change of scene: Different department, a different family situation: Fredy Germerott works full time in production planning at Volkswagen. In principle, his job in Wolfsburg would allow him to see his 10-year-old daughter in the morning or the evening – if, course, she were not living with her mother 260 kilometers away. Germerott and his former wife separated when their daughter was 4 years old. Since then, he travels to Erfurt every two weeks and picks her up for the weekend.
The engineer took 14 months of parental leave after his daughter was born – while the family was still together. Today, he is happy that he took this intensive time off because it helped him form a bond with his daughter. Nonetheless, maintaining a strong relationship under such circumstances remains a challenge. Just how can you maintain an interpersonal relationship as well as nurture and raise a child during a two-day slot every two weeks? “You simply couldn’t do it without an employer like Volkswagen,” he says.
A trace of normality
He heads off to Erfurt every other Friday when he can after he finishes work at mid-day. He leaves right after the team meeting. Reliability is important to Germerott. After a couple separates, joint care and relationships with children will usually function well only if strict agreements are maintained. You cannot say that you will be a little late today because you cannot make up the missed time. “I frequently don’t have the time when I need it for my daughter,” he says. “Or I am not nearby.” That feeling hurts the father – and causes him to constantly worry about his relationship with his child.
Germerott was really happy when his daughter had a chance to participate in the coveted vacation program Volkswagen offers to employees’ children. The girl really enjoyed the activities – and her father felt that he finally had a chance to share something of an everyday relationship with her.