Intensive mothering in the time of coronavirus
Jun 23, 2022
Amy Lutz, Sujung (Crystal) Lee, Baurzhan Bokayev
Journal of Social Issues, June 2022
Sujung (Crystal) Lee
We investigated experiences of mothers of school-age children in Central New York during a time of remote education due to COVID-19. We extend the concept of intensive mothering, characterized by the expectation that mothers are constantly available to meet their children's needs, and examine mothers’ intersectional identities related to their experience of remote education. Mothers working from home often went back and forth between work and school in what we refer to as a simultaneous shift. Essential workers were engaged in a sequential shift, engaging with children's schoolwork after work and trading off with partners. Mothers took on multiple roles during the pandemic which led to role strain. In extreme cases, multiple roles could be impossible to fill, leading to a situation of role conflict where the demands of one role made it impossible to meet the needs of another role. Mothers of children of color experienced more negative interactions with schools than White mothers. Mothers of children with disabilities spent extended time on remote schooling. A limitation of our study is that we only interviewed people in Central New York and cannot generalize the results of our research to a larger population. Another limitation to our approach was that we have little information on how fathers experienced work and overseeing children's schoolwork. Future research should examine how mothering may have changed after children returned to school.
Jun 23, 2022
Jun 21, 2022