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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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“They’re Too Poor and They All Smoke”

“They’re Too Poor and They All Smoke”

Ethnic Logics and Childcare Hiring Decisions

(p.66) 4 “They’re Too Poor and They All Smoke”
Shadow Mothers

Cameron Lynne Macdonald

University of California Press

This chapter outlines the logics working mothers use to find and hire the employee who will provide the right care for their child and for their child's developmental stage. It suggests that the use of ethnic logics leads mothers to reduce nannies to a few essentialized characteristics rooted in ethnicity, age, or national origin, rather than regarding these caregivers as complex or evolving individuals. It explains that objectifying their nannies allows mothers to retain control and that in tailoring their nannies' traits to their children's developmental stages the mothers are also able to fulfil the responsibilities assigned to them by the ideology of intensive mothering.

Keywords:   working mothers, ethnic logics, children, developmental stage, caregivers, nannies, intensive mothering

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