A year ago I moved from Amsterdam, the Netherlands, to New York with my husband and my son. The first two months I spent most of the time with my son in the playgrounds of the Upper West Side, the area where I live. I was surprised that there were so many playgrounds in New York. Also, I was surprised to see so many nannies, Latina's, Phillipina's, women from Caribbean descent, with so many white children. Sometimes I was the only mom in the playground. A friend told me that the daughter of a friend of hers from the Netherlands had asked her how it was possible that all white children had black mommies in New York. That is when I decided that I wanted to do more research on the nanny culture in New York and write a book about it.
How does it feel for the nannies to raise someone else's children in a culture that is totally different from their own? And how does it feel for the employers to leave their children with somebody with whom they do not share the same cultural background and with whom they may sometimes not even be able to communicate? Are these nannies well paid middle class employees or are they illegal immigrants who are exploited by their employers? How is the relationship between the nannies and their employers? Are there a lot of conflicts? And what about the children? Is the nanny culture in New York healthy for them? What does it teach them about issues of race, class, gender and culture?
I will put posts on this blog to keep you updated on my research. I invite nannies, parents and anyone else who is interested in this subject to share your story's, ideas and opinions on this subject on this blog, so it can be used for my book.