Centre of Migration Research

Sara Bojarczuk. 2022.

Local migrant kin or floating grandmother? Reflections on mobility and informal childcare support strategies among Polish migrants in Ireland

 

Global Networks, 00 | pages: 1-15

https://doi.org/10.1111/glob.12406


Abstract

This study investigates mobilization of social support for informal childcare among working Polish mothers in Dublin. The research incorporates 61 semi-structured interviews and maps of ego-centric networks built around the support and childcare organization. Embedded in a support network and transnational family configuration perspective, this study assesses how migrant mothers use the local and transnational connections to mobilize informal child-minding strategies. The results show a great reliance on strong ties, especially partners whose support constitutes a backbone of the family being together. Beyond that, floating grandmothers have proven to be a significant provider of childcare from a transnational perspective. The heavy reliance on the local migrant kin and friends is crucial in providing ad hoc crisis support when transnational ties cannot be mobilized. This in turn demonstrates that distance matters, and while strong ties are not available, the local weak ties are more likely to be relied on.