Do mothers want professional carers to love their babies?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article reports an aspect of a life historical study which investigated the part that ‘love’ played in mothers’ decision-making about returning to work and placing their babies in day care. The article begins with a brief discussion of the context, including 21st-century policies in England to encourage mothers to return to the workforce (DfES, 2004; HMT, 2009). This is followed by a critical overview of relevant literature exploring three key themes: an historical view of women in the workforce, Attachment Theory, and theorizing ‘love’ and ‘care’. The life-historical methodology is discussed and justified and seven key themes are briefly identified and explained. The article then focuses specifically on the theme of ‘love’ using life-history interview data and key literature to discuss mothers’ views on the importance of ‘love’, the saliency of ‘love’ in choosing childcare, and the notion of ‘professional love’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-323
JournalJournal of Early Childhood Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 30 Aug 2011

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