This paper reports on the interim findings from a two year ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) -funded project exploring parental choice of child care for pre school children. The fieldwork is based in two predominantly middle class areas in London. The vast majority of the respondents to date are women, many of whom are in paid employment. This paper draws on the literature about mothering, motherhood and identity to explore how these professional middle class women experience shifts in their self-identity. It considers how the women respond to the emotional and physical labour required of them by their roles as both worker and mothers, how they negotiate the tensions between the two, and how couples adapt to managing employment, childcare and a household. It also briefly considers the childcare roles and practices of the fathers. It concludes that despite the social and economic advantages of these middle class families, the adults are not presenting a serious challenge to a traditional understanding of family relationships
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