Shadow Mothers: Nannies, Au Pairs, and the Micropolitics of Mothering

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9780520266971: Shadow Mothers: Nannies, Au Pairs, and the Micropolitics of Mothering

Shadow Mothers shines new light on an aspect of contemporary motherhood often hidden from view: the need for paid childcare by women returning to the workforce, and the complex bonds mothers forge with the shadow mothers” they hire. Cameron Lynne Macdonald illuminates both sides of an unequal and complicated relationship. Based on in-depth interviews with professional women and childcare providers immigrant and American-born nannies as well as European au pairs Shadow Mothers locates the roots of individual skirmishes between mothers and their childcare providers in broader cultural and social tensions. Macdonald argues that these conflicts arise from unrealistic ideals about mothering and inflexible career paths and work schedules, as well as from the devaluation of paid care work.

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From the Inside Flap:

The working mom and her child-care worker are here to stay. So what’s gotten in the way of a respectful and happy partnership between the two? In this timely, important and beautifully written book, Cameron Macdonald uncovers a powerful contradiction between a mother’s high-demand job and her unrealistic ideal of mother-centered 'intensive mothering.' Studded with vivid accounts of what are often poignantly misaligned woman-to-woman encounters, Macdonald drills down to root causes and points us toward a much needed solution. This is must reading for mothers, care workers and all whose lives they touch.” Arlie Hochschild, author of The Second Shift, The Time Bind, and The Commercialization of Intimate Life

"Shadow Mothers makes a remarkably important contribution to the study of mothering and its commodification. It provides revealing insights into the challenges of childcare brought by maternalism's staunch ideological stronghold. Nannies don't just care for children but they must also manage the emotions of mothers." Rhacel Parrenas, University of Southern California

"Shadow Mothers is a path-breaking and extraordinarily sophisticated book. It will, no doubt, make a major splash. The book's allure comes from Macdonald's insightful juxtaposition of the childbearing ideologies of mothers and mother-workers and her sensitive treatment of the relationships among these women." Sharon Hays, author of Flat Broke with Children

"This is a book about mothers and what it means to mother, whether paid or unpaid, biological, adoptive, or hired. Shadow Mothers explores the underbelly of women's entry into the labor force their need for paid childcare providers with nuance and original insight. It triumphs in taking on a controversial and highly charged subject without polemic, allowing us to see both sides of a relationship that is asymmetric in complex ways." Pamela Stone, author of Opting Out?: Why Women Really Quit Careers and Head Home

About the Author:

Cameron Lynne Macdonald is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

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Book Description University of California Press, United States, 2011. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Shadow Mothers shines new light on an aspect of contemporary motherhood often hidden from view: the need for paid childcare by women returning to the workforce, and the complex bonds mothers forge with the shadow mothers they hire. Cameron Lynne Macdonald illuminates both sides of an unequal and complicated relationship. Based on in-depth interviews with professional women and childcare providers-- immigrant and American-born nannies as well as European au pairs--Shadow Mothers locates the roots of individual skirmishes between mothers and their childcare providers in broader cultural and social tensions. Macdonald argues that these conflicts arise from unrealistic ideals about mothering and inflexible career paths and work schedules, as well as from the devaluation of paid care work. Bookseller Inventory # AAH9780520266971

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