Is compatibility possible?


The life of parents is tough, no question. But why do we all come on the gums? Is it because we are just too stupid, too unmotivated and too little disciplined to get on with family, job and life?

It does not work

No, say Marc Brost and Heinrich Wefing in their book “Does not work at all”. You write about it “why we can not reconcile children, love and career“.

Bit by bit, the two authors – even fathers – argue, which makes life as a parent so difficult. It’s about working hours and unfriendly bosses, it’s about family politics and capitalism. It is also about the love and the partnership of the parents. For the latter, I have never found meaningful statements in any book.

The book provides hardly any solutions, but accuses. But it still helps immensely to read it. For anyone who understands that he is not an individual failure, but a victim of lousy structures, can better understand and accept his situation. I think so. In this respect, one can understand “everything is not at all” quite as a balm for the soul.

The overburdened generation

Sure, everything was harder in the past. After all, there was famine, no washing machines and whipping teachers. But we parents of today are allowed to moan. Brost and Wefing analyze: We are the overwhelmed generation. After all, at the same time we have to deal with three major new challenges:

  • globalization
  • digitization
  • equal rights

Each topic is already exhausting enough to bring one to the edge of resilience. After all, almost all activities, actions and plans must be completely renegotiated and carried out quite differently than we know from our own parents.

We want to finally acknowledge that the old role models are disappearing, but no new ones have taken their place. Anyway, none that work. And we want to finally realize what that means: stress.

Does not work, page 63 f.

Weekly working time per family

An important insight for me was the consideration of the family income. The authors state that in the 1950s a single-income worker with a weekly working time of 48 hours was able to feed his family well. Today it takes about 72 hours. This means that in an average family, 1.5 full-time jobs are needed to maintain a good standard of living.

Ostensibly, the extra time is available for gainful employment because housewives are deprived of so much work by the many great devices. You no longer have to stand at the washboard and wash dishes all day long, but you can now (at least part-time) also submit to the laws of capitalism.

Compatibility is a Bitch

I myself am experiencing exactly the average model that Brost and Wefing report in their book: The Provider Marriage with Two Children. Neither my husband nor I wanted to live this model. But capitalism, the splitting of spouses, and the unequal treatment of men and women in the workplace have pushed us into this norm.

At the moment, I can still speak of luck, because my children are still too small for time-consuming hobbies and do not need any help with math homework. But this time will come. And we too will be bent on covering kindergarten closing times and school vacations somehow. We too will have to finance school trips and eventually take care of our parents.

The book “Does not work at all” by Marc Brost and Heinrich Wefing has been published by rohwolt and costs € 16.95. We thank the publisher for providing a free review copy.

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Christina Cherry
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