Chapter

Creating Shadow Mothers

Cameron Lynne Macdonald

in Shadow Mothers

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780520222328
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520947818 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520222328.003.0006
Creating Shadow Mothers

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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

Chapter.  11775 words. 

Subjects: Gender and Sexuality

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