As gender constructs, the roles of mothers are shaped by family dynamics, social relations and cultural codes that influence the spaces in which these roles are performed. The pandemic can be seen as an element that altered these constructs to varying degrees, providing an opportunity to revisit them, particularly in groups in which the patriarchy is dominant. Thus, this article focuses on rural mothers from central Chile with elementary school-age children. Specifically, we analyze how prolonged school closures have impacted household dynamics and how rural women became responsible for their children’s education. Using a qualitative approach, dyads that account of 24 testimonies of mothers and children from three different schools were interviewed after one year of school closure. Accounts of the children’s head teachers were also included. Their testimonies shed light on how school, experience and actions intertwine, contributing to our understanding of the dynamic construct of motherhood and how it is being deployed during the current public health crisis. The main results indicate that the pandemic has reinforced these mother’s role as the sole caretaker of her children. Despite their lack of education, knowledge and skills, female participants expressed that they have undertaken a new burden by adopting the role of vicarious teacher. Their children and their children’s head teachers share this view, confirming traditional and patriarchal expectations of rural women as caregivers.
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