Journal article

"We Ask for More Than We Give Back": Negotiating the Boundaries of Informal Childcare Arrangements

Barbara Cosson, Kay Cook, Michelle Brady



There is an assumption that childcare services and workplace flexibility policies enable a seamless shift between childcare and work. Similarly, there is an assumption that informal care arrangements will be relatively seamless as the norm of reciprocity is assumed to bind families together through the bonds of love and affection. Monetary exchange for this work is seen to demean the caring relationship, but this does not mean “costs” are absent. Drawing on the work of Viviana Zelizer, this article examines how parents negotiate informal care arrangements, identifying the “payments” that differentiate family from friend care. The analysis focuses on parents working nonstandard and variable h..

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Awarded by Australia Research Council Discovery Project

Awarded by University of Queensland Senior Research Fellowship

Awarded by Australian Research Council

Funding Acknowledgements

The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This research was funded via an Australia Research Council Discovery Project (DP160101816 Addressing Childcare Flexibility); University of Queensland Senior Research Fellowship to Michelle Brady (No. 2016000064: Addressing childcare inflexibility in a 24/7 economy) and an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship to Kay Cook (FT160100115: Women's Access to Child Support).