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Shadow Mothers: Nannies, Au Pairs, and the Micropolitics of Mothering Paperback

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Shadow Mothers: Nannies, Au Pairs, and the Micropolitics of Mothering + Just One of the Guys?: Transgender Men and the Persistence of Gender Inequality
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Editorial Reviews


“Offers surprising and layered insights into the . . . modern mommy phenomenon played out every day from coast to coast.”
(Boston Globe 2011-11-15)

“Sparks important insights for mother-employers and their employees. . . . And along the way, it offers society and individuals a way to create positive mother-childcare worker relationships.”
(Foreword 2011-01-01)

“An interesting read. . . . [Macdonald’s] findings are thought-provoking”
(Kate Burns Law Society Journal 2011-08-01)

From the Inside Flap

“The working mom and her child-care worker are here to stay. So what’s gotten in the way of a respectful and happy partnership between the two? In this timely, important and beautifully written book, Cameron Macdonald uncovers a powerful contradiction between a mother’s high-demand job and her unrealistic ideal of mother-centered 'intensive mothering.' Studded with vivid accounts of what are often poignantly misaligned woman-to-woman encounters, Macdonald drills down to root causes and points us toward a much needed solution. This is must reading for mothers, care workers and all whose lives they touch.” —Arlie Hochschild, author of The Second Shift, The Time Bind, and The Commercialization of Intimate Life

"Shadow Mothers makes a remarkably important contribution to the study of mothering and its commodification. It provides revealing insights into the challenges of childcare brought by maternalism's staunch ideological stronghold. Nannies don't just care for children but they must also manage the emotions of mothers."—Rhacel Parrenas, University of Southern California

"Shadow Mothers is a path-breaking and extraordinarily sophisticated book. It will, no doubt, make a major splash. The book's allure comes from Macdonald's insightful juxtaposition of the childbearing ideologies of mothers and mother-workers and her sensitive treatment of the relationships among these women."—Sharon Hays, author of Flat Broke with Children

"This is a book about mothers and what it means to mother, whether paid or unpaid, biological, adoptive, or hired. Shadow Mothers explores the underbelly of women's entry into the labor force—their need for paid childcare providers—with nuance and original insight. It triumphs in taking on a controversial and highly charged subject without polemic, allowing us to see both sides of a relationship that is asymmetric in complex ways."—Pamela Stone, author of Opting Out?: Why Women Really Quit Careers and Head Home

More About the Author

Cameron Macdonald writes about caregiving - in all of its forms. Her interest in the mother-nanny bond stems from both her own experience as a nanny and her concern for the overwhelming pressure on mothers and childcare workers created by our contemporary culture of competitive mothering. She teaches family sociology, qualitative methods and medical sociology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

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