Mothers in Distress. And what does that have to do with the economy?

by Mariam Irene Tazi-Preve, Politics, Security, and International Affairs, University of Central Florida

Women who have children and earn their money through paid work have reached the limits of what they are able to bear. All the children, including teenagers, are now at home. The older ones aren’t allowed to get together, the younger are left staring at barricaded playgrounds. According to recent news reports it will be the middle of May, before schools start to reopen – even at a limited capacity. That means for months mothers are the sole entertainers of small children and are also responsible for homeschooling the older children. There seems to be total chaos at the kindergartens. Are they open or not?

The offers of help are ambivalent. The government emphasizes that there is capacity. So why aren’t women using them? You guessed right: out of fear of accusations of being bad mothers, who “give their children away.” That was always a cliche to end any discussion about preschool care and now it is being revived when women are accused of placing their children in danger of a deadly virus in order to egotistically relax at her home office and work.

In extreme cases single mothers are pent-up 24/7 with their children, usually in cramped quarters where they have to work from home for the office or as a one woman business (often a precariat). These tiny businesses were mostly founded because women have to plan their lives around their children. Such a situation is a recipe for disaster. Mothers were previously supported by their network of women, starting with their own mothers, who are no longer allowed to help, because a quasi-house arrest for senior citizens, even if a grandmother is young, she is supposed to keep her distance from her daughter and grandchildren. If the mother does not follow the rules she will be the one accused of any infection! When mothers so exasperated that they turn on the television or tablet, they are considered bad mothers; also if they don’t want to cook. Remember: mothers are always to blame. She is either accused of doing “too much” or “too little” or not the right thing.

The policy of outsourcing care for the elderly by temporarily importing Romanian and Hungarian nurses has proven to be horrendous. Now when all the support of the healthcare workers is gone, guess who will take over this care? A hint: it will probably not be the son-in-law.

At times when it would be feasible for mothers and fathers to equally divide up work at their home offices and childcare – a new study shows that again, that is not happening. Even when the chairman of the board and the general director cannot claim to be indispensable and must run off to a business trip or a meeting. It also turns out that male scholars increase their publication load while female researchers do not.

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