Housewives in Germany when the lockdown is in effect

UMMATIMES - Stories about parents balancing work and taking care of their children at home during the first lockdown in 2020 went viral on social media. A year later, the situation still hasn't changed.

A year ago, journalist and housewife, Mareice Kaiser shared her story on Twitter with a tweet "what parents do when they are out of their minds." Under the hashtag #Coronaeltern (Corona parents), parents across Germany share stories of working from home and taking care of their children at the same time.

In the spring of 2020, Germany imposed a lockdown for several weeks. The government is closing child care centers, schools, playgrounds and sports fields. While there are several options for entertaining themselves such as YouTube and Netflix, many parents still feel "stuck" about dividing their time between work and household.

Some company owners hope that the daily workload can be fulfilled as usual, but now teachers are also demanding that children collect their assignments at night. Under the hashtag #coronaparents, parents in other countries also share their frustrations with home schooling solutions, a variety of breakfast for children, to difficulty sleeping at night.

Anxiety and fatigue faced by parents

According to the Robert Koch Institute, Germany is in the midst of the third wave of the spread of the coronavirus. Although a number of schools and child care centers have reopened, the living conditions for the community are still not that different from a year ago.

Child care centers are only allowed to operate a few hours per day. The school has also greatly reduced the number of classes, some of which even hold teaching and learning activities in classrooms only once every two days.

Even though the lockdown was not enforced, parents felt too much pressure when they had to take care of their children at home every day.

"I feel tired and I would not be surprised to see parents 'tumbling' one by one," said one Twitter user. Meanwhile, there was also a story about a mother who cried on the phone because she did not know how to care for her child when the childcare center closed again.

Mother burden more

It's no coincidence that the majority of complaints on social media are voiced by women. Numerous studies have shown that women, on average, are significantly more burdened by coronavirus restrictions than men.

German sociologist Jutta Allmendinger refers to the term "retraditionalization", which means that gender roles can slow down women's emancipation for decades.

In a study released in June 2020 by the German Federal Institute for Population Research, women reported high levels of frustration more often than men. About one in four mothers of children under the age of 6 feel sad at least once a week.

A survey conducted at the end of 2020, health insurance company Techniker Krankenkasse found that more than half of the mothers interviewed were experiencing excessive stress during the coronavirus pandemic.

Anne Schilling, Managing Director of Müttergenesungswerk (Maternal Health Care Foundation) Germany told Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland in February 2021: "The woman who turned to us is now out of her mind."

"These women are exhausted and overwhelmed," says Schilling. "There is a lot at stake here, their jobs, the education of their children and the interests of the whole family."