Why I Wrote "The Nanny Manual"

This is part 1 of an 8-part blog from the perspective of TIFFAN's Founder and "The Nanny Manual" author, Alyce Desrosiers.

There are 3 main reasons why I felt the need to write this book:

  1. I wanted to ensure that kids get the best care possible.  
  2. I wanted parents to get the information and resources they need to make the important decision about who to hire to care for their child.  
  3. I wanted parents and nannies to know that good care happens when their relationship, the parent and nanny relationship, is a healthy one.

In 1994 after completing graduate school, doing clinical work with families and children , helping setup a childcare center and assisting in a Federally funded research project with Professor-Emeritus Art Emlen on how parents managed worked and family a friend asked me to help her find a nanny.  I entered the grey market of nannies, childcare providers that, to this day, receive little recognition or support for the valuable work they do.  Whether at the Federal level responsible to license and regulate childcare, at the professional level of childcare organizations responsible to educate, train and support childcare providers or at a societal level responsible to define and acknowledge the role of childcare providers and parents, nannies are left out of the discourse – or allocated to the stigma and myths that define them.  Nannies are the invisible members of the childcare workforce.  The parents who hire them are left to define standards of care and best practices on their own.  Ultimately, it’s the children receiving care that pay the price for keeping nannies invisible and in a grey market.

The book is a result of my over-20 years working with parents and nannies to find each other and make decisions to work together.  In this process I’ve come to know what the steps are to find good care, to make decisions about what constitutes good care for a family and to know how to work together to ensure the kids get the best care possible.  I wanted to impart this knowledge in the book.

I also wanted parents to take pause before starting a search to recognize what the emotional and pragmatic landscape is when they make this most important hiring decision.  Since the 1980’s when feminists marched and won rights to work while raising children, no one thought to ask, “What are the results of doing this to myself as a parent and to my child?”  I wanted parents to address the realities of paying someone to love their child and provide safe care for them.  I wanted parents to acknowledge that while they are the parent, when they hire a nanny, they hand over some of their parental responsibility to another, often a stranger.  This realization, along with the uncertainties about outcome can raise often conflicting and strong feelings of guilt, jealousy, envy and inadequacy.  I wanted parents to know that if left unacknowledged, these realities and feelings can interfere with the hiring process and the development of a healthy working relationship with a nanny.  

I wrote the book to give parents an appreciation of what hiring a nanny involves, how to go about the hiring process and working with their nanny to give the child the best care possible.  

Ultimately, and most importantly, the book was written to ensure that kids get the best care possible.  Buy your copy of The Nanny Manual today!

-Alyce Desrosiers