Tasha Blaine completed her MFA at New York University. After working briefly as a nanny herself, she spent more than five years researching and interviewing nannies at their workplaces and in their homes. Blaine was born and raised in New York City and now lives in California with her husband and two children.
JUST LIKE FAMILY: Inside the Lives of Nannies, the Parents They Work For, and the Children They Love (2009)
When she was in her early thirties, Tasha Blaine briefly worked as a nanny. She expected an easy, nine-to-five stint, but instead she discovered the vast, varied, and largely unknown world of nannies. Often overlooked and invisible, these women also hold great power in the families who hire and fire them. Blaine learned what so many parents want and need to know: What does our nanny think of us? And what happens all day behind our front door?
"Just Like Family" tells the nanny story from the nanny's point of view, revealing both the joys and heartbreaks of caring for a child not your own. Blaine immersed herself in the lives of three nannies in three cities and three very different situations. We meet Claudia, who left the Caribbean to become a nanny in New York and is struggling to support the son she left behind. We get to know Vivian, a young, white, college-educated woman from Boston, who wins a Nanny of the Year award even as she absorbs the painful truth that her role in the family is shrinking as her charges grow up. And we witness the struggles of Kim, a top Texas nanny who dreams of having her own family, as she moves in with a couple expecting their first baby.
With grace and power, "Just Like Family" opens a window into this very complex and intimate relationship, taking us deep inside the lives of women whose job it is to love.
"I experienced the widest array of emotions while reading Just Like Family by Tasha Blaine. I felt alternately outraged, ashamed, and, oddly, relieved. What comes through most of all is the love these nannies have for their charges and the seriousness with which they approach their jobs. This book is a must read for anyone who ever was a nanny, and for anyone who ever employed one."—Ayelet Waldman, author of Bad Mother
"A thought-provoking, intimate, and well-reported series of character portraits far deeper than many books about the childcare relationship."—Emily Nussbaum New York Magazine
"Six months as a nanny left then-MFA student Blaine with a newfound respect for the in-home childcare worker and a book idea; after five years of research, she's produced a fascinating, intimate portrait of three nannies selflessly devoted to raising (and loving) other people's children. In a single, confident narrative, Blaine introduces Claire, worried that she'll soon be out of a job, and considering the first real steps toward her dream of becoming a nurse; Vivian, a former Nanny of the Year Award winner, who transforms chaos into "a methodical process in which every problem is anticipated, dealt with, and consistently managed"; and divorcee Kim, who finds the career helps fulfill her lifelong aspiration to be a mother. Like parenthood, nannyhood is not for the faint of heart or those without hefty reserves of self-esteem: besides comments like "nobody smart wants to be a nanny," the narrative includes plenty of situations in which nannies attempt to help in family decisions, only to be rebuffed. Blaine doesn't draw any conclusions or force any confrontations, a la Barbara Ehrenreich, focusing on the emotional weight of her subjects' work. This gentler tone allows for a subtle, complex portrait of the nanny-family relationship, but those with a strong justice reflex may feel frustrated."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
Rights: Harcourt, North America