Like a Second Mother by Barbara Blouin

Weekly Trip to the Library

This week Be the Best Nanny Newsletter recognized National Nanny Recognition Week by sharing short essays by great nannies that love working in their chosen profession.

The perfect ending to National Nanny Recognition Week is reviewing the inspirational book Like a Second Mother by Barbara Blouin.

The book is a collection of oral histories, memoirs, and photographs compiled to honor in-home caregivers of children. There is no other book of its kind.

Barbara Blouin interviewed over 40 adults who grew up in wealthy families and who feel immense gratitude to the nannies and housekeepers who gave them love and nurturing.

Many of these caregivers have passed on; however, the current generation of nannies also has plenty to say about the family contexts in which they are working. Eight previously unpublished short memoirs are included.

Some of the caregivers were nannies but others may have been employed as housekeepers who took on the role of care giving with the children of the home. Some of the adults who were former charges describe getting more “mothering” form their nanny or housekeeper, than from their own mother.

For example, one former charge fondly remembers helping the nanny slave over a hot stove cooking meals for the adults. Then, the parents and their guests dined fashionably in a formal dining area, while the children and nanny ate separately in the hot kitchen.

These stories describe domestic working conditions from decades ago. It is truly painful to read about the prejudice of racism and classism some of the nannies and housekeepers experienced.

But, the love and gratitude expressed by the former charges of their nannies and housekeepers who helped raise them is truly inspirational. We strongly encourage all in-home childcare providers read this book.

Like a Second Mother: Nannies and Housekeepers in the Lives of Wealthy Children


  1. This is an outstanding book all nannies should make the time to read. You will just cry tears of joy. You are right in your review that the racism and classism is painful to read about but the love the kids have even as they grow up is just heart warming. Read this book!! Read it over and over again!

  2. Each story in this book is worthy to be slowly absorbed on its own. Buy it now!

  3. In the book an employer said "A child's caregiver is part of your intimate life — like it or not. I think it calls for a lot of consciousness on both sides, and when you get a good fit, it can be so enriching. And when you don't get that fit, it can be so destructive."Great point. Great book!

  4. Beautiful book! The stories are so heart-felt. It was amazing to see how the nanny profession has progressed in some ways and in others not.The sad part was when a child felt like their nanny was more of a mother than their own mother.As a nanny, I only accept positions where the mother and father are very involved and realize putting their child first is best.Truely an amazing book! I only hope my charges feel the same way about me as the writer of the stories in the book will when they become adults and think back on their years with me as their nanny.~Andrea- Nanny in NJ

  5. Great book I highly recommend it. Thanks for another great idea to share with nannies. Love you guys!

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