Need a break? Pamper yourself with a Mutter-Kind Kur - on state expenses.
Mothers are highly thought of in Germany. In fact, they are put on a pedestal so high above normal human habits and needs that the altitude forces them to breathe thin air. Yet despite the moral worth of being a mum, the position has little worldly rewards in terms of pay or status. Result: it’s an ideal breeding ground for exhaustion.
Don't despair, mums of Berlin. We live in a civilized country. In acknowledgment of the fact that the burden of reproduction weighs heavily on us, the state healthcare system offers to send burned-out mothers on a Kur: hanging out in health resorts, a privilege once reserved to the idle class, has become a right for all in modern Germany, especially for Mutter. Would it make more sense to provide better childcare facilities? Or to enable bosses to deal positively with employees with family lives? Maybe. But until that day comes, dear mummies, let’s get real. No one will be applauding when you have driven yourself to exhaustion. Don’t even go that far: if you’re feeling permanently tired, depressed, overburdened, bowled over by every infection that comes your way - in short, you have ‘mum shell shock’ - consider a Kur.
A Mutter-Kind-Kur is a minimum three-week stay in a health resort suited to your particular needs. The Kur is fully paid for by your Krankenkasse (except for €10 per day for accommodation and food), and you can bring one or more children or go on your own. The 'cure' combines regenerative and therapeutic treatments with childcare facilities and can be found all over the country in its most idyllic corners - from North Sea islands to the Black Forest in the south. Health resorts have a long history in Germany and although in recent years the trend has been to cut back on such state-funded 'wellness' - Omas can no longer indulge in their quarterly spa sojourns for free - mommies continue to have it easy. Germany wants more kids: it must pamper its mothers.
But the first and perhaps most daring step is, of course, to admit you need it. After that, you’ll need to fill out an application form and take it to your doctor; since a Kur is a preventive health measure, there’s room for interpretation and doctors have little reason to question a motivated application. For information, application forms and assistance, visit the very friendly (and even English-speaking) Berlin branch of the AWO health counselling office. Let the healing begin!
Mutter-Kind-Kur | AWO - Arbeiter Wohlfahrtsorganisation, Gesundheitsberatungsstelle, GesundheitsService AWO, Dunckerstr. 1A, Prenzlauer Berg. Tel 030 4030 1410, Mon-Fri 10-16, www.gesundheitsservice-awo.de