Not sure when I first learned about the word ‘Rabenmutter’. And although it is not a very friendly nickname, I immediately liked it! Probably it’s because it got a certain ring to it, and I don’t know of any other language that has a word like this. ‘Deadbeat mum’ comes close according to Wikipedia, but it does not hold this illustrative link to nature like ‘Rabenmutter’. I am a ‘Rabenmutter’ now.
Like I said, nice ring for a foreigner with a brain twist like me, but ‘Rabenmutter’ is a German cultural adapted negative nickname to point out mothers who want to combine career and kids. Like the actual raven mother, the black bird that tend to push the chicks out of the nest to early and leave them helpless.
I guess the Germans began to use this nickname ‘Rabenmutter’ when the whole discussion regarding the increase of the birth rate started. Germany needed more babies, since women pushed back having kids to pursue a career first. And besides, there where by far not enough childcare places to drop your kids off and go to work. But before that conservative politics and female, social culture nicknamed the very, very few women who did combine work and kids as ‘Rabenmutter’. A very bad mommy. Nowadays a swarm of ‘Rabenmutter’ drop off their kids at a Berlin childcare place, ‘Kita’ in German.
‘Rabenmutter’. ‘Rabenmutter’. I still like the ring of it as a word. And as of this week I finally have become one by taking my almost 7 months old son Lux Zillion to a ‘Kita’. And I wish I could have worn the late Alexander McQueens’ Raven Dress from ‘The Horn of Plenty’ Autum/Winter 2009 collection for Lux’ his first ‘Kita’ day. Because this ‘Rabenmutter’ is pretty proud how she is combining motherhood and business!