13.01.2022 – People & Living | Parents We Love

Patrick Fischer: from the coach's bench to the baby changing table and back again

Translated by Deepl

As a professional athlete, for Patrick Fischer it was all about winning or losing for most of his life. In this interview, he talks about what actual success means to him, why self-esteem plays a big role in this and why we should also achieve more balance in terms of compatibility.

Becoming a father in times of Corona - how was it?

Super. I've had a lot of time to experience the whole pregnancy. When the lockdown came in March, a kind of deceleration began. And even though it tends to always be quiet here in the Lucerne hinterland, it was still different here too. So I was able to experience the whole process very actively, support Mädy - I was really in the middle of it. In addition, we are lucky that it never hit us and that we didn't lose anyone to Corona. We are infinitely grateful for that.

You were also actively involved in the birth. You could also read about it in the media. Why do you share such an event with the public?

Mädy and I didn't plan it. But when the interview request came, we didn't hesitate. Not because we wanted everyone to know about the birth of our daughter, but because the topic of the lotus birth seems so important to us. We want people to know that it exists.

Tell us!

In the lotus birth, the umbilical cord is not cut off after birth. The placenta continues to pump, which is important for the child's immune system. So we left the placenta on for one day, then it dried out. For us, this spiritual experience was important and right - and an exciting process that we wanted to share. We received many positive reactions to it. We are generally two very open people and have nothing to hide.


'Many things that seemed important then are not important now.'

You became a father for the second time. What was different in 2020 than 19 years ago?

Many things. At 25, Mara, my ex-wife, got pregnant with Kimi. I had just had a serious injury and was quite preoccupied with myself. Now I am much calmer and more stable inside. Many things that seemed important then are no longer important now. I was able to perceive - and enjoy - the whole time much more consciously. I experienced every step, every phase that Mädy went through.

Was it clear to you from the beginning that you wanted to become a father again?

I still wanted a little daughter. But first I had to find the right woman - that didn't happen so quickly.

How did you find her? In general, is it difficult to meet someone when you are in the public eye?

It's not like everyone knows me. Many people are not interested in ice hockey. In addition, people in Switzerland are very reserved and leave you alone. I met Mädy through a colleague in Ticino. She had no idea who I was. Then we lost track of each other and met again by chance. And at some point we hit it off.


As coach of the Swiss national ice hockey team, you jet around the world. The annual World Championships, then the Olympic Games in 2022... Is there time for your family?

I have more intense phases and quieter ones. That is part of my job. I love this variety. That also includes the Junior World Championships, which always take place in December and January. For me, that means I can't be at home at Christmas. Of course it's sad, but that's part of my job. As an athlete, you have fixed appointments that you can't postpone. But you also have a lot of free time during the day, where I can enjoy my family.

So the compatibility of work and family is also an issue for a professional athlete or coach?

Yes, quite clearly. It is a topic that concerns everyone. And a topic on which we - especially here in Switzerland - still have a lot of work to do.

What do you mean?

The regulations around parental leave or even maternity leave are completely antiquated. When a new life comes into your life, so much goes on. Be it emotionally or organisationally. It's an experience you go through as a family. If the husband has to go back to work after a few days, back to his daily routine, then something is wrong. It is terrible. And it's not fair. Mother and child need support, the father needs time with his family.


Bei Tadah dreht sich alles um die Vereinbarkeit – im Online-Magazin mit spannenden Interviews mit Eltern und im ersten Schweizer Coworking Space mit Kinderbetreuung. Ob mit oder ohne Kind – schaut doch vorbei auf tadah.ch. Oder direkt im wunderschön eingerichteten Space in Zürich Albisrieden.

What has to change for us in Switzerland - a country that is actually so prosperous and social - to achieve a better family policy?

You can learn a lot from Scandinavia. It's about splitting up and finding a balance - teamwork is the key word. It must be possible for both of them to do the work they love. But in my opinion, it is also not acceptable for the child to be looked after 100% by others. As an employer, this also means asking yourself certain questions. What are my ethical approaches? Is it important to me that my employees have the opportunity to spend time with their children? Time, by the way, that is so formative - for both sides. At the moment, our system is neither suitable for children nor for parents. Maybe it's also about spelling back. To get away from this performance culture in which everyone just has to do everything.

'After all, the greatest success is to be happy. In harmony with yourself and with life.'


That's an interesting statement coming from a sportsman. After all, in sport it's all about winning - success.

I guess the question is how you define success. After all, the greatest success is to be happy. To be in harmony with yourself and with life. To be allowed to do what you enjoy, what you love. I think that's when you're happy. When you talk about goals, the head plays an extreme role. You are what you think. Is your glass half empty or half full? Moreover, it's about not falling - no matter if it's windy or stormy. Resilience is the magic word. You have to keep the fire, hold on to your dreams. If you want something, you will achieve it. But it doesn't just come to you. You have to have the right attitude. But if the head breaks down, the body breaks down.

'Do I like doing what I do? Or do I do it only because I feel I have to?'


How do you achieve this?

It is important to know what you can do and who you are. That is shadow work. You have to get rid of patterns that don't belong to you. And you have to give yourself honest answers. Do I like doing what I do? Or am I only doing it because I feel I have to do it? That's how you find yourself and can live your truth. You don't have to please everyone.

You have also gone this way. At 33, you hung up your skates and went in search of yourself. You found yourself in the jungle of Peru. Tell us!

It was mega liberating. First and foremost for my body. Because I'd been promoting and training it for 30 years. But secondly also for myself. A lot of things fell away. The pressure, the expectations of the people. It was simply beautiful. And at the same time very exciting. In South America, I got to know new cultures and perspectives. And also new truths. I really liked the simplicity. It was a completely different world in which I was fine. I missed the game, yes. But not the winning and losing.


'As parents, we have a responsibility to ensure that the child is full of confidence and ready for life.'

So it's about self-worth. Is that something you want to pass on to your children?

Absolutely. It is essential to promote children's self-worth. As parents, we have the task of ensuring that the child is full of self-confidence and ready for life. We can't give them much more than that. They must be convinced that they can go their own way. That they know their strengths. That is where I want to lead my children. This path also includes defeats - and the ability to deal with them.


Childcare situation: Patrick and Mädy (self-employed photographer) share the care - depending on the play schedule and the order situation. Oceania is looked after once a week by her grandparents.