Not just daycare: nordic mothers in research, development and innovation navigating work and childcare

October 2022

Nordic welfare policies mitigate work–childcare reconciliation; however, they are not enough for mothers working in intensive work cultures. In addition, there are differences among the three Nordic states in both work–family policies and cultural norms as to how they should be used. In this article, we study the resources mothers who work in research, development and innovation (R&D&I) in Finland, Norway and Sweden rely on in their work–childcare reconciliation. Thematic analysis of interviews with 74 professionals resulted in identifying four main resources: father involvement, parental leave system and daycare, flexible working, and grandparent help and networks. Our analysis brings to view the blind spots in work and childcare reconciliation that Nordic care policies and flexible work schemes do not cover in the case of professional R&D&I mothers. We find that the role of fathers is overarching, as it regulates which of the other resources are used and how. We also argue that the role grandparents play as a resource is understudied.