The browser you are using is not supported by this website. All versions of Internet Explorer are no longer supported, either by us or Microsoft (read more here:

Please use a modern browser to fully experience our website, such as the newest versions of Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari etc.

Portrait Sara Eldén. Photo: Emma Lord.

Sara Eldén

Associate Professor | Director of Research Studies | Senior Lecturer

Portrait Sara Eldén. Photo: Emma Lord.

‘Quality Time’ in Nanny Families : Local Care Loops and New Inequalities in Sweden


  • Sara Eldén
  • Terese Anving


  • Lena Näre
  • Lise Widding Isaksen

Summary, in English

Political initiatives such as tax deductions for domestic services including nannies have, together with a growing au pair market, paved the way for new possibilities of organizing child care and parenting in Sweden. This affects everyday ‘local care loops’ for the upper-middle-class families purchasing the services, as the logistics of solving the work-family dilemma change with the possibility of hiring cheap female—and often migrant—care workers (Näre & Isaksen 2019). In this chapter, we analyse how this affects the doing of family in ‘nanny families’. Taking our point of departure in a qualitative study with nannies and au pairs (n = 26), parents (n = 29), and children receiving care (n = 19) (Eldén and Anving 2019), we show how everyday care is experienced and understood from the perspective of different actors involved in the practice, with a special focus on ideas of ‘quality time’. We argue that the new possibilities of organizing care and time in families reproduce inequalities: the new local care loops enable the possibility for some—well-off—parents to realize ideals of ‘good and stress-free parenting’, with quality time with their children, while at the same time not giving up on the idea of gender equality.


  • Sociology
  • Department of Sociology
  • Department of Gender Studies

Publishing year







Palgrave Macmillan Studies in Family and Intimate Life

Document type

Book chapter


Palgrave Macmillan


  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
  • Gender Studies


  • domestic work
  • Child Care
  • Domestic workers
  • Parenting
  • children
  • quality time
  • au pairer
  • nannies/au pairs
  • Inequalities
  • family
  • Sweden




  • Care for children in an era of private market services: A study of nannies, children and parents
  • Family, Migration and Welfare


  • ISSN: 2731-6440
  • ISSN: 2731-6459
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-92888-9
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-92889-6