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Family and work: Family-hostile Bundestag


Brush your teeth and smear bread in the morning, late evening sessions. Politicians can also be parents - and they have to make constant decisions: family or parliament?

Maybe the moving boxes in Swen Schulz's MP's office are a sign. I'll be out of here soon! Schulz, 51, is a member of the SPD parliamentary group in the Bundestag. The lanky Berliner has been in parliament since 2002. He survived Gerhard Schröder and large coalitions. His party is losing its meaning. One of the main reasons for not running for the Bundestag election in 2021 is another: Schulz wants to spend more time with his family.

Perhaps it is her unmistakably optimistic nature that lets Katja Kipping say: "Parenthood and political commitment - that is not always easy, but it works." The party leader of the Left, 41 years old, has just come from the talk show, is sitting in a café at Hamburg Central Station and is drinking her rhubarb juice spritzer. As the mother of an eight-year-old daughter, she also has one goal: to spend as much time as possible with her family.

Politicians are hostile to the family

The perspectives of Schulz and Kipping are different, the claim is the same: in 2019 it is up to date that politicians can also be parents. That her private life can be structured similarly to that of Otto Normal. But despite many privileges, this is a difficult mission. Above all, you need to be willing to say no and create space. Politicians are hostile to the family. Above all, it demands fighting time wasters such as meetings and evening appointments. Only those who really want it can win this fight.

Winston Churchill, British prime minister from 1940 to 1945 and from 1951 to 1955, once said that it was easier to rule a nation than to raise four children. Churchill's first term in office was during World War II. Swen Schulz and Katja Kipping experience how much fighting spirit it takes to switch between tough politics and tender childcare.

Schulz has two small children: a six-year-old daughter and a two-year-old son. A 16-year-old daughter comes from his first marriage. "At the time, I didn't take care of them enough because of my job," says Schulz, who sometimes fixes his counterpart rigidly through his glasses and seems a bit absent.

"Family-oriented evening planning is certainly not conducive to careers." Swen Schulz, SPD member of the Bundestag

The first marriage broke up because Schulz had so little time for his family. He wants to do better today. He has created free spaces that he defends, no matter how hard they pull at him from the outside. Every Sunday evening he discusses the coming week with his wife. Then the family jobs are split up. A lot has been working automatically for a long time.

For example, Monday is family day for the Spandau MP. He takes time off in the afternoon and picks up his son from the Bundestag daycare center shortly after 3 p.m. Above all, it has places for members of parliament, but deputies can also apply. Father and son then go to children's gymnastics, Schulz also picks up the daughter from school.

Every morning he gets the kids ready to brush their teeth, smear bread, pack satchels. He takes her to school and daycare before his mandate takes him back. On Thursdays, the Schulz family indulges in a babysitter to relieve them - money is a subordinate problem for a member of parliament.

Source: zeit

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