Do you see the children in between the training sessions?
No, I can’t do that because I live more than an hour’s drive away. That’s the compromise: My family is always close by at home and can take care of things. But I can also train individually at home. For this purpose I have set up a weight room, which I now use. Generally speaking, I’m always part of the team training and the munchkins are at home.
With your decision to continue to be active as a professional footballer after the birth of your children, you are a role model for many – not only for other female athletes. Do you have any tips for young mothers who, like you, don’t want to choose between child and career?
The most important thing is to ask yourself if and how early I would like to work again. Or whether I would rather spend time with my child. You have to be at peace with yourself. Because if I have to concentrate on work, I can’t look at my smartphone every five minutes. The next step is: Who do I entrust the children to? A daycare nursery? The grandparents? Auntie? Uncle? Everybody has to find their own way. And the third point: You always have to look forward to your children. And if something goes wrong in between, just accept it. That is totally normal.
You work, your husband does too: Are we on the right track when it comes to equal rights in Germany?
It is better than 50 years ago. More and more men are taking parental leave and enjoy watching their small children grow up. Not just going to work in the morning and coming home from work in the evening when the children are already in bed. That is really great. But there is still a lot of catching up to do.
What do you mean?
Personally, I was accused of things like: ‘But now, as a mother, you have to stop playing football. It’s not that I don’t take care of my children just because I work. There are still many prejudices about working mothers.
What do you wish for?
We as a society must continue to create opportunities for mothers. It must not be suggested that working as a young mother is not possible and unfair to the children. That is simply not true.
What can employers do to make it easier for mothers to return to work?
There are a lot of things. Internal company daycare nurseries are important, for example. If something happens to my child, I can go there quickly or even have lunch with them. Maybe that way I can make new contacts with colleagues and help each other – for example, when I pick them up in the afternoon. I would also like to see more mothers in management positions. Those who have themselves experienced how challenging it is for women to get back into the job after the birth of their children. Mothers inevitably have a completely different view on the topic of combining family and career than is sometimes the case with men.