by Lynet Uttal
Rutgers University Press, 2002
Paper: 978-0-8135-3111-3 | eISBN: 978-0-8135-6705-1 | Cloth: 978-0-8135-3110-6
Library of Congress Classification HQ778.63.U77 2002
Dewey Decimal Classification 362.7120973


As ever more women work outside the home, ever more families employ childcare workers. In the absence of government regulations or social models that clearly define the childcare provider’s role, mothers worry about the quality of care their children are getting. By connecting the personal level of mothers’ daily experiences to the larger political, economic, and ideological context of childcare, Lynet Uttal describes and explains how mothers rely on their relationship with the providers to monitor and influence the quality of care their children receive. Whereas other studies have emphasized how mothers undervalue and exploit providers, this book paints a more nuanced picture, arguing that the ties between adults who share in the care of children creates neither heroes nor victims. This ethnography reveals that mothers are often reluctant to discuss their concerns with their childcare providers. Uttal shows how mothers walk a fine line between wanting to believe in the quality of care they have chosen, and the fact that they might have made a mistake. Catalyzed by their worries about the quality of care, mothers develop complex relationships with the women—and most are women—who look after their children.

See other books on: Child care | Child care services | Decision making | Interviews | Working mothers
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