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Shadow MothersNannies, Au Pairs, and the Micropolitics of Mothering$
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Cameron Lynne Macdonald

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780520222328

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520222328.001.0001

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Blanket Accountability at Home and at Work

(p.17) 2 Mother-Employers
Shadow Mothers

Cameron Lynne Macdonald

University of California Press

This chapter examines the contradictory forces shaping the lives of working mothers or employers of nannies. The findings suggest that working mothers experience what is called blanket accountability or the sense that they are responsible for everything that happens in their children's daily lives, regardless of who provides the actual care. The result also indicates that they are consequently torn between hiring an at-home mother to support them as they pursue their demanding careers and the desire to be at-home mother for their children, and this conflict feeds the mother-employers' deep ambivalence and guides their strategies for managing their child-care workers.

Keywords:   working mothers, nannies, blanket authority, children, at-home mother, child-care workers

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