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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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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 26 June 2022

Creating Shadow Mothers

Creating Shadow Mothers

(p.105) 6 Creating Shadow Mothers
Shadow Mothers

Cameron Lynne Macdonald

University of California Press

This chapter discusses the creation of the so-called shadow mothers and describes a different kind of management strategy for nannies that involves managing both the image of the mother-nanny division of labor and what that division of labor means. Most of the mothers interviewed strongly believed in the ideal of being in mother-appropriate places at mother-appropriate times and this leads them to devise a complex supervisory subtext that delineates what aspects of childcare the nanny is to engage in and what aspects are for the mother only. This chapter describes a particular portrayal of shared mothering that mother-employers and caregivers collaborate to establish and sustain and suggests that this co-care is created within the context of a dominant cultural ideology that values only intensive mothering performed by the biological or adoptive mother, not by a hired provider.

Keywords:   shadow mothers, nannies, management strategy, division of labor, childcare, shared mothering, cultural ideology

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