Love German: Mutterschaftsurlaub

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Love German: Mutterschaftsurlaub

Der Mutterschaftsurlaub: Maternity Leave

This oxymoron is composed of 3 parts: Mutter (mother) + schaft (work) + urlaub (vacation). What I love is that the word combines schaft (work) and urlaub (holiday) – because maternity leave is literally a mother’s ‘working holiday’. Any mother with kids knows that all we get are ‘working holidays’. And anyone who has ever been on maternity leave definitely knows it is no holiday. So, if you work with someone who has recently come back from Mutterschaftsurlaub, be kind and gentle.

Note: schaft does not actually mean work but schafft does. It’s just a good way to remember the word 😉


Some say (Swiss) German isn’t a beautiful (let alone sexy) language. I beg to differ. While my relationship with German has had its ups and downs, I’ve learned to love it. While (Swiss) German’s hard guttural sounds sometimes seem harsh, I found many (Swiss) German words to have deeply beautiful, even philosophical, roots. By breaking these words apart, I have not only learned to love them more, I was able to make quick associations to be able to use them.