Sunday, October 15, 2017

Just Like Family by Tasha Blaine ~ Book Review

Just like family follows 3 very different nannies from 3 different areas in the U.S.A. The author got to know these nannies and wrote their stories over 5 years. First there was Claudia who was the inspiration for the book. She was a nanny who came from the Caribbean to New York City, leaving behind an infant son with family, so that she could make a better life for them by sending home money. Supporting herself and a daughter born in the States, she was a calm woman who handled things by not handling them, a nanny who didn't interfere with the decisions of the family she cared for, who knew how to disappear when there was tension or family fighting. Working long hours day after day, she had a secret dream of getting her GED and applying to nursing school.

 Then there was Vivian, a young, spirited nanny from Boston taking care of twin boys from birth, who was very driven, take charge and was not shy about telling her parents her opinion and what she felt was best for "her" boys. She was strict but also very loving. The boys were her world. Now they were growing up and she was struggling with her place within the family.

 Kim was a nanny from Texas who found her marriage on the rocks and was now finding work to survive. A live in nanny position was what she needed and being hired by a young couple about to expect seemed the perfect answer. But nothing was right about the job, nothing was turning out as expected or promised and Kim feels stuck having signed a year contract.

 I picked up this book because I was interested in the topic being a child care provider myself. While I am not a nanny looking after the children in just one family in their own home (I can have up to 6 different families at once and care is in my home) there are similarities and I could relate to lots of different parts and experiences of the nannies. I really liked how the author told the stories of 3 very different women in personality from 3 very different backgrounds working for 3 very different families. But the thing they had in common was their love for the children in their care. The book, though non-fiction, is written in a very easy storytelling style which made it so easy to read, not at all like slogging through a non-fiction book full of facts. It was real, relatable and had me tearing up in a few spots for the situations. Really enjoyed this read and would recommend it for anyone who is looking to understand the world of nannies, child care, and the hard to navigate relationships of nannies and the parents.

I gave this a 9.5/10

Quote that I totally connected with: 

"Like Claudia, Vivian, and Kim, this nanny in the park gave a part of herself that she would never get back.  For most nannies, the ability to love is part of the job.  And when her time is up with one family, a great nanny takes that love with her.  She keeps pictures of her old charges on her refrigerator or continues to tell stories about them to friends or just pauses once in a while and sighs, remembering a moment they shared or a funny thing a child might have said.  She puts her love in a box, shores it away, and labels it for that one specific child.  Then she opens herself up again for the next child, for the next family.  She starts the process of love and loss all over again."

Just Like Family
Inside the Lives of Nannies, the Parents they Work for,
and the Children They Love
by Tasha Blaine
pg. 19


Barbara H. said...

Sounds like a very interesting book! My d-i-l took care of a little girl for I don't know how long, and it was so hard on both of them when my son and d-i-l moved to a different state.

Faith said...

Oh this sounds interesting!! I read the one written by a NYC nanny back in the 1990s...I think they even made a movie of it although I can NOT remember the title of the book!

I was a nanny for about 18 months in a very well off home out in western NY when I first got out of college while living in the Rochester NY area. It was fun...just one baby boy...super easy!! i also worked as a waitress those months to supplement my income before getting teaching jobs. :)