This paper draws on larger ethnographic research on an experience of Slovak 'au pairs' living in London. After examining reasons why British families employ 'au pairs' the authoress introduces the ways how the Slovak 'au pairs' interpret this kind of childcare. She argues that the families' decisions for an 'au pair' scheme were based on an uneasy compromise, trying to combine their economic conditions, ideas on motherhood, childcare and female identities with the available alternative forms of childcare and the state's political and economical conditions. On their part the Slovak 'au pairs' viewed both the families' choice of an individual paid childcare and the concept of quality-time as the lack of parental love and care. This analysis enables to show that criticising British families the Slovak 'au pairs' condemn the concept of childcare they find unusual. This data reveal the clash between two different concepts of childcare as well as the ways how these concepts can be changed within the life of an individual.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
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