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About women and the pandemic

By: Melissa Dorame, Reporter

Among the pandemic and its consequences are those already recognized, ranging from the health sector to the economic sector, but there are others less visible, which apparently are not in the general interest, but are vital.

Home confinement has drastically changed our lives and has had social and psychological effects on all people, however, it is clear that women have been more affected and it is important to recognize it. Work for mothers at home and parenting has multiplied.

Working from home and the working hours

“Now that I’m here at home I procrastinate too much, I get distracted, (…) I feel that I don’t perform well, that I don’t do enough work, (…) it really has affected me in terms of job performance,” said Graciela Tapia, communication scientist, editor of content for a news portal in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, and mother of three children.

Working from home or doing home office became a reality for some, however, between nurseries and locked up schools, a more limited support network, all added to the uncertainty of the pandemic, and has had consequences in the professional and work areas.

Georgina Espinoza, a graduate in business administration and mother of two children, works from home as an administrative assistant for a transport software company in Mexicali. “For me the girl’s tasks have been very stressful, working and everything, the truth of the matter is it affected me, I feel now that we’re more relaxed,” she said.

At home

New rituals and health protocols have been implemented. As traditionally is, women are the main responsible for the care, organization, and household chores, they have felt a heavier burden on their backs.

“At first it was maddening, then I organized with my children, for example, to arrive home so that they could help me have a clean house and prepared food; that was a good method to avoid being all stressed out, or not as much,” said Karla Martinez, a psychologist, who is in charge of the human resources department in an automotive dealer in Mexicali, she is the mother of three children.

For Karla, confinement has been an opportunity to stay with her kids and adapt since, due to the pandemic, one of her children returned to live with her and her younger brother.

Graciela explained: “My children’s behavior has changed, (…) the confinement made them depressed, made them euphoric, made them hysterical, so I had to learn to detect what was causing that.” Georgina stated that confinement has been difficult for her children, especially for the youngest (2-year old), whom she notices sometimes being annoyed and angry.

Home tasks

Social mandates for women. The idealization of a perfect mother, caregiver, professional or domestic worker, coupled with guilt has been a mattress, where many women have fallen on when we think about what “we should be”, the cleanliness of the home, professional success and being enough “good mothers”, it’s complicated because we’re the result of different types of upbringing, with particular experiences and tools.

“Today I asked myself a question: why do I have to stress out? Why do I have to feel guilty? Why do I have to feel bad if I’m not doing household chores?”, shared Graciela.

Georgina expressed feeling guilty when she cannot attend her children during her working hours, however, it is something that has improved since she has built spaces to share with them. In this regard, the three women agree on the importance of their own space, moments of solitude for crying, distraction, or relaxation.

Change and reflections

Motherhood and the pandemic are alike in some things, they are constant change, ambivalence, transformation, the uncertainty of what will happen or if we do things correctly, a field full of questions, but also of answers, of learning and difficulties that reveal our fears, weaknesses, and strengths inherent in our human condition.

Confinement has emphasized the importance of rethinking our priorities, recognizing our emotions, limitations and the need to make them visible, and from there rebuilding what is necessary with our partners, parents of our children or out our support network, because the pandemic will end at some point, but working life, working from home, and parenting won’t stop.

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