People often ask Katrina Liu, a busy mom with two young children, a full-time job, and a side hustle as a children’s book publisher, “How do you do it all?”
She answers, “I absolutely do not do it all.”
Her trusted ally? Her wonderful nanny, who helps keep her family running smoothly, and has become a part of who she is today.
Nannies and domestic caregivers are often the unsung heroes who work behind the scenes, ensuring that families run like clockwork. Without them, many working parents would struggle to balance their jobs and family obligations. Yet, their contributions often go unnoticed or unappreciated.
This is why Katrina, as tribute to her nanny and all wonderful helpers in the world, created a book called “Dear Nanny: My Special Caregiver and Me,” celebrating the vital role that nannies and caregivers play in our lives.
KATRINA’S MISSION AND LEGACY
I’m a Chinese/Taiwanese-American mom of 2 living in San Francisco. Growing up, I pushed away everything about my culture because of how badly I wanted to fit in with the other kids. I never truly appreciated my heritage until I became an adult.
As a child, you’d find me doing creative things, whether creating friendship bracelets, making short films, writing poems, or drawing storybooks. As I got older, I began teaching myself graphic and website design. My first job out of college was with a small publishing company as a print and web designer. I eventually moved away from the print industry and into tech. Went on to get my MBA and ended up in Silicon Valley working in product management.
After a decade in my professional career, I became a mom. As I watched my first daughter, Mina, grow, I witnessed the pure joy she has when drawing with a crayon or creating her world with Play-Doh. It made me realize how much I missed the arts. After late hours in the office, I’d rush home with excitement to read bedtime stories to her.
When she was about to start school, l hoped and wished that she would have a better experience than I did. That she could feel confident in herself and proud of her culture and heritage. I also wanted her to have the opportunity to be bilingual —something that I always regretted pushing away during my childhood. I knew it would be a challenge living in the US in a prominently English-speaking environment.
That’s how I started with the idea to write bilingual children’s books in Chinese and English for non-native-speaking families like ours. Then I started to branch into mainstream books that featured Asians as main characters. Nothing was more fulfilling than creating something meaningful for my children and me. My daughters are my inspiration and what keeps me going.
My mission is to add more Asian faces into the world of children’s books and normalize Asians in everyday stories. I hope to leave a legacy for my daughters by creating books where they can see themselves reflected in them.
HER SUPPORT SYSTEM
I have an incredible support system, which makes it easier for me to balance my responsibilities as a mom, full-time worker, an author and a book publisher. I have a wonderful nanny, a supportive husband, and my parents, my in-laws, and my siblings that live locally. There’s no way I could be as productive as I am without their help.
Our nanny has been with us for almost 7 years since the day my first daughter was born. We are so lucky to have found someone so hardworking, honest, loyal, and big-hearted. But most of all, she genuinely loves my children, and that is priceless. She is older, so she is retiring this year and we honestly don’t know what we would do without her.
CELEBRATING THE NANNIES AND HELPERS BEHIND THE SCENES
I think it’s pretty rare that people talk about their nannies. Oftentimes it’s due to fear of judgment, so they are tucked away in the shadows. Being a working parent is really hard, and many families do not have help, so I also think that sharing that information could be perceived as insensitive, privileged, or tone-deaf. I can understand why it’s not often shared.
But when people ask me, I want to be transparent. Because letting people assume that “I do it all” paints an unfair picture of the struggles of parenthood and daily life.
This book is special to me because it’s dedicated to our nanny, but also to all the domestic caregivers and nannies behind the scenes supporting so many working families. These amazing individuals have so much heart to care for other people’s children. They deserve to be celebrated.
KATRINA’S ADVICE TO OTHER HUSTLERS STRUGGLING TO BALANCE THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES
First of all, give yourself grace. You are doing great!
What you see on social media, the success stories, etc… is not a true picture of reality. People don’t often share their struggles publicly and they also don’t share some of the privileges they have behind the scenes. Some days you’ll do a lot, some days you’ll do very little, but very step you take is a step forward no matter how small.
The second would be to not be afraid to ask for help and to let go of what you think perfection is.
OTHER BOOKS BY KATRINA LIU
Aside from “Dear Nanny: My Special Caregiver and Me,” I also write picture books that feature Asian Americans in everyday stories.
I also specialize in bilingual books for non-native speakers. I have books translated into Mandarin, and Cantonese and I’m also working on Tagalog ones. I’m always working on new books and they are usually inspired by my daughters and everyday life events and experiences.
CONNECT WITH KATRINA
Instagram: @minalearnschinese @lychee.press
Preorder here: Dear Nanny – My Special Caregiver and Me
*Preorders will be shipped out on September 2023. Use the code FIRSTTIME on your first purchase for 10% discount.