Project

Mothers during the COVID-19 quarantine

Goal: The aim of this qualitative research is to provide an insight into the everyday life of a group of Hungarian mothers during the COVID-19-related quarantine.
Our main research questions are the following:

1) What strategies do mothers follow to reconcile the increased burden of care-taking, home-schooling, working from home and household tasks?

2) How does this new situation affect the distribution of unpaid work within the family?

3) How do mothers cope with work-family conflict now?

4) How does this situation affect mothers mental well-being?

Methods: Qualitative Interview

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Beata Nagy
added a research item
A koronavírus-járvány és a lezárások nők helyzetére gyakorolt hatását az elmúlt két évben egyre több kutatás vizsgálta világszerte, és mutatta ki mindazokat a költségeket – munkaerőpiaciakat és magánéletieket egyaránt –, amelyek nagyobb mértékben terhelték a nőket. A nők közül sokan dolgoztak a vírus által fenyegetettebb ágazatokban vagy veszítették el munkájukat, otthon pedig megsokszorozódtak gondoskodási feladataik. A gyermekeket ellátó intézmények bezárása különösen megnehezítette az anyák helyzetét, akik az évtizedek óta kibontakozó gondoskodási válságban szerzett tapasztalataik ellenére is nehezen tudták munka mellett a hiányzó intézményeket pótolni. Korábbi vizsgálatok szerint az anyáknak, különösen a középosztálybelieknek, elsősorban a gyermekeikkel kapcsolatos feladataik szaporodtak meg. Tanulmányunkban arra a kérdésre keressük a választ, hogy miként írható le az anyák munkája az első karantén idején, és hogyan értelmezik maguk az érintettek azokat a változásokat és felelősségeket, amelyekkel a járvány során meg kellett küzdeniük. Kvalitatív vizsgálatunk 2020. májusában zajlott, amikor 52 félig strukturált interjút készítettünk javarészt középosztálybeli, otthonról dolgozó és legalább egy, 2–14 éves gyermeket nevelő anyákkal Magyarországon és erdélyi magyarok körében. Kutatásunk egyik fő megállapítása, hogy bár mindnyájan megtartották munkájukat, az anyák jelentős része kiemelten fontosnak az anyaszerepét érezte, és annak szinte mindent alárendelve igyekezett támogatást nyújtani gyermekének. A korábbi munka-magánélet egyensúlyra törekvést tehát felváltotta az anyaság előnyben részesítése. Tanulmányunkban arra törekszünk, hogy erre magyarázattal szolgáljunk, és azt állítjuk: maga a társadalom négyféle ösztönzőt közvetített az anyák felé, hogy figyelmüket elsősorban gyermekeikre irányítsák. Ezzel párhuzamosan viszont a narratívákból jól körvonalazható egyfajta ellenállás is a korábbi munka-család egyensúly elvárásaival szemben.
Beata Nagy
added 2 research items
During the COVID-19 pandemic, due to the closure of educational institutions and the implementation of digital/online learning, some families were trapped within the walls of their home, doing either homeschooling or teleworking. For many parents, the place of work has changed, while the expectations have not. However, the conditions have become much less suitable for work than before. Worldwide, for women raising minors, this period was a great challenge. Thus, in the second half of May 2020, we conducted 52 interviews with women living in Transylvania and Hungary, in dual-earning families, where both members of the couple were working from home in a full-time job, having at least one child aged 2-14. In our paper, we show how these mothers coped with the quarantine peri- od, the kind of crisis this situation caused, and how these parents were affected.
Purpose: During the first COVID-19-related lockdown in the spring of 2020, working parents of young children were in difficult situation when having to manage the multiple burdens of home-schooling, childcare, housework while working from home. In Hungary and in Romania, unpaid household tasks are considered to be women’s responsibility, intensive mothering ideals are widespread, and there is marginal access to flexible-work arrangements. In present study, applying the role theory, we demonstrate how the above characteristics, during the first lockdown, created a context in which – despite the difficulties – participants could evaluate this period overall positively. Methods: 52 in-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with partnered Hungarian mothers living in Hungary and in Transylvania (Romania), in May-June 2020. Participants and their partners were full-time teleworking during the lockdown, and had at least one child under 14. Results: The results are presented in correspondence to the three main themes. Participants, despite of the unequal division of tasks with their partners and being primary responsible for home-schooling, reported on spending more quality time with their children. They could also take care of family members in ways that they had no time for in the pre-COVID times. Conclusions: Since the home-sphere became the main scene of life during the lockdown, women’s caregiving role increased in worth, therefore, performing it well provided them an increased well-being benefit. They appreciated having the longed-for opportunity to telework, which enabled enacting intensive mothering in a better accordance with social expectations than before the pandemic. Keywords: COVID-19, traditional gender role attitudes, intensive mothering, neoliberal mothering, home-based telework
Nikolett Somogyi
added a research item
Due to the social distancing measures ordered as protection against mass infection during the 2020 COVID-19 outbreak, most Hungarian families were confined to home quarantine. Schools, kindergartens, and nursery schools were closed between 16 March and early June. Because grandparents belonged to one of the most vulnerable groups, families were asked not to involve them in childcare until the end of the pandemic in order to avoid their infection by younger family members. Companies switched to using the home office when possible, and the government asked the population not to leave their homes except for essential reasons. As a result, many parents worked from home and provided care for their children at the same time.
Nikolett Somogyi
added a project goal
The aim of this qualitative research is to provide an insight into the everyday life of a group of Hungarian mothers during the COVID-19-related quarantine.
Our main research questions are the following:
1) What strategies do mothers follow to reconcile the increased burden of care-taking, home-schooling, working from home and household tasks?
2) How does this new situation affect the distribution of unpaid work within the family?
3) How do mothers cope with work-family conflict now?
4) How does this situation affect mothers mental well-being?