Qualitative Sociology

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 253–274

“Trust Your Instincts”: Racial Ethnic and Class-Based Preferences in Employed Mothers' Childcare Choices

  • Lynet Uttal

DOI: 10.1023/A:1024765719203

Cite this article as:
Uttal, L. Qualitative Sociology (1997) 20: 253. doi:10.1023/A:1024765719203


Increasingly, employed mothers are locating childcare arrangements with initially unfamiliar others, rather than with friends and family. In this indepth interview-based study of 32 employed mothers, the significance of shared values in childcare arrangements is examined. Employed mothers expressed the centrality of class-based and ethnic-based cultural practices and beliefs, as well as the importance of racial ethnic group membership, in their evaluation of childcare arrangements. They also discussed the difficulties of locating care when different preferences could not be located in the same childcare arrangement or their access to certain kinds of childcare was blocked. These findings suggest that race, ethnic-based, and class-based concerns will become increasingly important considerations as child care arrangements are more commonly made using commercial forms of care.

employed mothers paid child care race relations culture 

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lynet Uttal
    • 1
  1. 1.Child and Family StudiesUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadison

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