Nanny to the rescue: Waltham's top nanny to help out 'Nanny 911' producers
By Christopher Moore / Tribune Staff Writer
WALTHAM -- For once, reality television may have gotten it right.
Fox Network's "Nanny 911," a show that pairs undisciplined families with strict British nannies, has received high praise from Waltham's own expert on the subject: Michelle LaRowe, the International Nanny Association 2004 Nanny of the Year.
"We all get together and watch it," said LaRowe, referring to her circle of nanny friends. "It's the most accurate perception that the public has seen of a nanny in a long time."
Though LaRowe is not involved in the show, she is scheduled to attend a casting call for its second season at the Cambridgeside Galleria Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. She won't be picking out families who need the most help; she'll be there to give pointers to parents interested in improving the care of their children.
LaRowe praises "Nanny 911" for portraying nannies as intelligent, capable professionals -- not as glorified baby sitters, an assumption she said she often faces.
"Today's professional nanny is an educated woman, sometimes a man, that has chosen to work with children because they love it," said LaRowe. "We're child care professionals. Some have a master's in education."
A nanny to a Newton family, LaRowe works under a 50-hour-per-week contract, even working overtime occasionally. She is intimately involved in the emotional and cognitive development of the two boys for whom she cares.
"You're there to be a team player in raising the children," she said. "Some parents view it as having a co-parent."
LaRowe will be addressing the benefits and misconceptions of nannies to parents at Saturday's casting call. All families are welcome, whether or not they are trying out for the show.
Despite the realism of "Nanny 911," LaRowe cautioned parents not to expect life to imitate art when it comes to hiring a nanny. There is one crucial difference between television nannies and real nannies: "They go in for a week and do what we do over a period of years," said LaRowe.