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

Abstract

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.

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Correspondence to Lynet Uttal.

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Uttal, L. “Trust Your Instincts”: Racial Ethnic and Class-Based Preferences in Employed Mothers' Childcare Choices. Qualitative Sociology 20, 253–274 (1997). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1024765719203

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  • employed mothers
  • paid child care
  • race relations
  • culture