The Hand That Rocks The Cradle

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Lucy Kaylin, executive editor of Marie Claire, and the author of The Perfect Stranger: The Truth About Mothers and Nannies (Bloomsbury 2007), talks about the relationship mothers have with the women who look after their children.

The Perfect Stranger is available for purchase at Amazon.com


Lucy Kaylin

Comments [7]

Rebecca from Long Island

There are definite race and class issues with nannies. For 5 years we employed a U.S. born, white nanny. She was treated with much more respect by the mothers in my neighborhood than the black and Latina nannies. Also, my daughter's friends didn't think this young woman was a nanny because in their experience nannies could not drive and our nanny did. FYI, we payed a living wage (we hope) as well as Social Security, health insurance and paid vacation. We also helped her to complete her college degree.

Jun. 20 2007 02:46 PM
j from brooklyn

This segment on your show was interesting to listen to. I have
worked in as a Nanny for the last five years, both as live-in and
live-out. And, one thing that your show did not touch on is the
disparity between pay rate of American citizens and immigrants.
When I first moved to NYC, it was difficult for me to find Nanny
employment with a decent wage, as many parents wanted/were looking
for non-citizens on the account that they would pay them less.
Also, it is always a struggle explaining to parents that Nanny does
not mean Housekeeper. Many parents in NYC are looking to combine
these two different roles. I am an excellent at interacting with
children, however not so good at ironing.

Another note, I would be interesting to see how many working Nannies
actually receive health insurance, paid time off, and other "normal"
working benefits. I have been successful with working with families
who pay good wages, yet health insurance is one thing that I have
never been offered. Also, most families, from my experience, only
offer paid time off if my vacation correlates with when the family
decides go on vacation. I know this has become a normal function
for someone working as a Nanny, but do the parents, or other
non-nanny employees, have to take their vacation at the same time
as their boss?

Also, and maybe your guest's books covers this topic, what happens
when a Nanny's view on childcare clashes with the parents? Or the
parents ask the Nanny to enforce certain rules/discipline, yet the
parents do not enforce the same when they are home? From my
experience, this causes lots of confusion for the children, and
allows children to think what the Nanny says does not matter.

It would be interesting to have more Nannies comment on their

Jun. 15 2007 10:03 AM
Denise from New York City

I was so shocked and disappointed at one of Ms. Kaylin's comments that it took me a day to digest it and finally decide to comment. BUT!-- to suggest that some kids may be better off with a nanny because they get a "little relief" from their overbearing parents (if you call 50-plus hours a week a "little" relief) seems like a pathetic attempt to relieve parents who work too many hours from the guilt of leaving their kids in the care of outsiders. "Lighted-hearted" kids with nannies versus "sulking" kids with their mothers! Ugh! I live in the City too and have never seen this. All young kids want more time with their parents. If a parent is overbearing or neurotic the solution is to get over that, not a 50-hour per week separation. Don't assume that I am ragging on full-time moms. I would be one too if I did not have the ideal part-time job that I am fortunate enough to have. Among my relatives and friends, most of the moms work full-time, but none are selfish or silly enough to think that their kids "benefit" from having a nanny. They are simply doing the best they can for their families.

Jun. 14 2007 08:26 AM
Dick Baehr from Locust Valley NY

Good interview, except for Ms Kaylin's YOU KNOWS. I counted 117 of them. She's articulate enough without them.
I have enjoyed your show from the begining many years ago.I'm an architural renderer which is non verbal, so good talk is essential.

Jun. 13 2007 12:55 PM
judith wides from NJ

Brian, I really enjoyed the show today. I think a great topic for a related show would be the somewhat underground phenomena of the resurgence of the wet nursing profession. As well as the practice of co-nursing that people are finally coming 'out' about.

Thank you

Jun. 13 2007 12:09 PM
Christopher F from Brooklyn

I have no kids and thus no nanny, but my sister in Manhattan has a couple under 4-year olds and a wonderful nanny but I can tell you this: If her nanny was a Uruguayan Heavy Metal musician I'd be spending a lot more time at her apartment.

Jun. 13 2007 11:26 AM
Sydney from manhattan

Dear Brian,

I am a stay at home mother of three who has had a male nanny for the past 7 years. He just left to pursue an acting career. When he left is was just as much like a break-up with a boyfriend (my manny is gay) as it was an employer/employee. I spent more time with him than my own husband. He was the best wife I'll ever have!


Jun. 13 2007 11:22 AM

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