For months all we’ve heard about is COVID-19 infection rates, regulations, lockdowns, quarantine, etc. But the dramatic stories about how all of this is truly affecting people are often ignored. Today I want to shine a spotlight on Israeli mothers.
But first, it’s important to point out that families in Israel typically have more (often many more) children than in other Western countries. Even secular Israelis have on average three children. And on top of this, nearly all mothers in Israel must work a full-time job, as opposed to in many Western countries where being a stay-at-home mom is far more common.
Given this background, you can imagine that daily life in Israel even before Corona was rather hectic. But since last March, schools have been closed numerous times for weeks or months at a time, meaning that our children have not only been at home most of that time, but in need of our help to keep up with a demanding curriculum.
Every morning the Zoom classes begin at 8:00 and don’t usually finish before 1:00 PM. And then there’s homework in each subject. And all of this done digitally, which means that our children are condemned to stare endlessly at screens, something that experts used to warn against. And what does this mean for us parents, and in particular mothers? It means that those of us who still have jobs have no choice but to work from home. It means that on top of being a breadwinner, we must also play the role of homeroom teacher.
Since we live in a small village, we are outside often and I meet many mothers at the playgrounds. No matter who I’m talking to, whether they have three children or more, they have all reached their limits and simply cannot handle the situation any longer.
- One mother said that for months on end her husband would find her crying.
- Another had to go to the emergency room a few days ago with a severe migraine attack due to too much stress.
- Another said that, thank God, we can still go to the playgrounds with the children, as this is the only place where they don’t cling to her and she can relax a bit. (We all know that under normal circumstances a playground is not a relaxing place).
- Another mother goes to sit in the car when things become too overwhelming so that she doesn’t let out her anger and frustration on the children.
- My neighbor has two young children and her husband has only been working night shifts for months so he can take care of the children when she goes to work in the morning.
It’s just a situation that can’t go on any longer. We are slowly being taken beyond our limits.
All the regulations, restrictions and lockdowns are causing so much more damage than the virus itself. So many families have been ruined by the situation. And the social and psychological impact on our children cannot be ignored. I know so many children who are sitting every waking hour in front of a screen, either for school or to play video games (since they can’t meet with friends in person). This is going to have very negative consequences.
There has to be a change, soon, because we mothers and fathers cannot go on like this much longer – we have reached our limits. And all of this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many more consequences, situations and examples that are beyond the scope of this article.
But at least the sun is out today, so we’ll take what blessings we can get.