Auerbach, Jessika (Jessika Hegewich-Auerbach)
Auerbach, Jessika (Jessika Hegewich-Auerbach)
Born in Germany; married; children: four daughters. Education: Attended Institut des Sciences Politiques, the Sorbonne, and Oxford University.
Writer and editor. Former corporate communications director; former editorial director of Overlook Press.
And Nanny Makes Three: Mothers and Nannies Tell the Truth about Work, Love, Money, and Each Other, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2007.
Contributor to periodicals, including USA Today.
A writer and editor who once worked for Overlook Press, Jessika Auerbach is the author of a book that explores the world of nannies and the families who hire them. The author's expertise in this area partly comes from her own time dealing with nannies as she has hired approximately sixteen nannies to help care for her four children while living in various places around the world, including Hong Kong, Singapore, New York, and the Netherlands. In addition, to prepare to write her book, titled And Nanny Makes Three: Mothers and Nannies Tell the Truth about Work, Love, Money, and Each Other, the author interviewed numerous nannies, or caregivers, and the people who hire them. Mary Frances Wilkens, writing in Booklist, called the book an "indispensable look at the hurdles of managing life with a caregiver."
Commenting on why she wrote And Nanny Makes Three, in an interview with Lauren Young on the Working Parents—Business Week Web site, the author told Young that, as a young girl, her family always had help working in their house. As a result, the author commented that she thought she knew all about hiring in-home help. "Then I had my first child, and I realized there was no relationship that could compare with whoever it was at the time that was helping me with the childcare," Auerbach told Young. "It's a one-on-one relationship with another woman, which is intense, complex and difficult. And it takes place in the most intimate place in your life: in your home with your children. It's about love, care, and your children being safe, but for your childcare provider, it's also her job. If you are lucky, she'll end up doing her job, but the money is incredibly important."
In her book, the author explores the complex relationship that nannies have with the families that they work for, from issues such as love and trust to how much money a nanny should be paid. She explores the relationship from both the viewpoints of the nannies and the families to reveal what moms and nannies really think about each other, the kids, their respective jobs, and even their own identities. While many nannies are employed by wealthy parents, the author also discusses situations in which some parents or mothers are not wealthy and can barely afford to pay for help in caring for their children. She also explores the difference between generous and non-so-generous employers. The nannies she profiles come from a wide variety of backgrounds, from high-priced nannies trained for their careers to illegal aliens who have few resources or legal protections against potential abuse. Specific chapters focus on various issues such as love, need, money, values, and power. The author even devotes a chapter to how fathers perceive nannies and their relationship to the family. The book covers the entire spectrum of relationships between nannies and the families they care for, including the extremes of a wonderful relationship typified by respect and good pay to horrible experiences that include potential abuse.
New York Times contributor Liesl Schillinger noted that the author "provides a useful breakdown of the differences in care, cost and kind among baby sitters, au pairs and nannies who are off the books or on the books." Schillinger further stated, "More illuminating still is the hard truth that emerges from its pages, which is that there are bad parents and good nannies, good parents and bad nannies, and lots of people who fall in between. Writing in USA Today, Michelle Archer commented: "Auerbach's readers, be they mothers or nannies, will likely find comfort and solidarity in her stories."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, April 15, 2007, Mary Frances Wilkens, review of And Nanny Makes Three: Mothers and Nannies Tell the Truth about Work, Love, Money, and Each Other, p. 13.
New York Times, May 27, 2007, Liesl Schillinger, "A Nanny Nightmare? Living without One," p. 9.
Reference & Research Book News, August, 2007, review of And Nanny Makes Three.
USA Today, May 9, 2007, Jessika Auerbach, "Nannies, the ‘Other Mothers,’ Overlooked and Undervalued," p. 11; May 14, 2007, Michelle Archer, "‘Nanny Makes Three’ Brings Mary Poppins Myth down to Earth with a Thump," p. 7.
Working Parents—Business Week,http://www.businessweek.com/careers/workingparents/blog/ (April 6, 2007), Lauren Young, review of And Nanny Makes Three.