Class, culture, migration and mothering
1 INTRODUCTION - 15
15 1 Introduction In 1998, Alison2 emigrated from mainland China to New Zealand with her husband and their five-year-old son. After arriving in Auckland, the couple had their second child, a daughter. In China, Alison had a Masters of Sci- ence in chemistry and worked as a senior engineer. Although coming to New Zealand as a skilled migrant, she could not find a job that matched her pre-migration status. Her husband, who had a degree in physics from a prestigious Chinese university, took up IT training in New Zealand and finally landed a full-time job with his New Zealand qualification. The job meant Alison’s husband left early in the morning and returned late in the evening because of long hours of working and commuting. In China, Alison and her husband were upper-middle-class profes- sionals. With the help of her mother and maids/nannies, Alison was able to continue with her fully-fledged career after the birth of her son. How- ever, after coming to New Zealand, without the support of extended fam- ily and affordable domestic help, Alison had to shoulder a heavier do- mestic workload while her husband became the sole breadwinner of the family. She had taken on low-level office work but found it difficult to balance paid work and childcare. Finally, Alison decided to become a full-time mother. The current study is concerned with women like Alison, Chinese skilled migrant mothers, and their experiences with their young children in New Zealand. This research project depicts a complicated and am-...
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