The paper presents the results of two qualitative research studies, based on semi-structured interviews, carried out during the phase 1 of the Covid-19 pandemic, with the aim of analysing the effects of the reorganisation of the life trajectories, due to the confinement, on the mental health of working parents with preschool and school-age children. The lockdown is deemed as an extreme case of familialism, which exacerbates the lack of systemic parenting support, a characteristic of the Italian welfare state. While before the pandemic parents faced highperforming parenting and working models, homeworking and online teaching have made the management of their different roles even harder. This situation has negatively impacted on the mental health of the interviewees, while in parallel reducing parents’, particularly mothers’, sense of guilt related to the lack of time devoted to their children. Results suggest the need to consider parenting as a social issue, to be addressed with universalistic but also gender specific policies.
Keywords: lockdown; work-life balance; parenting; familialism; mental health; social issue.