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Mommies and Nannies Face Off in 'Perfect Stranger'

Lucy Kaylin is an editor, an author and a mother. She lives in New York City with her husband and their two children. When she is working, a woman named Hy looks after her kids.

In her new book, The Perfect Stranger, Kaylin explores her relationship with her Caribbean nanny — one that Kaylin says is both complex and wonderful. She also talks with other full-time caregivers to get their perspective on their work and their employers.

Kaylin tells Michele Norris that at the "tricky heart" of the whole issue of nannies is the level of intimacy between the employer and employee.

"What other jobs in America require you to see your boss in his or her PJs?" Kaylin says. "The nannies are elbow-deep in the dirty laundry, the literal and the figurative kind."

The nannies see all that goes on in households, and "know the compromises that are being made," Kaylin says.

Kaylin also discusses the widespread fear among working mothers that their children will be more attached to their nannies than they are to them — and her own experience on the unknown territory of the neighborhood playground one afternoon when Hy needed time off.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.


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