Now that we’re clear on the definition, here we will focus on person behind the name: who they are, where they come from, what they should do and should NOT do, and where they’re going. I already feel like this may be a ‘2-parter’ so we’ll see what happens.
It is my intention that before the end of my lifetime, much like the word nurse, we can drop associating gender when we think of a nanny. Remember when the word “nurse” triggered immediate assumptions of a female caring for patients? I’d bet that these days people are not as quick to assume. Flight attendants, receptionists & assistants, teachers, housekeepers – it’s almost endless and it goes both ways. I believe that it would better all of these industries to balance out the ratio of men and women employed – we’re all equal, right?
The manny is a rare breed, with men accounting for a minuscule 5-10% of all nannies in America. The knee jerk reaction to understanding this imbalance may be that, “a female is better suited to caring for your children”. Wrong – sexist and wrong. In actuality, male nannies that are good at what they do are held in high regard, often employed in more affluent communities that are rich in education, where parent’s have the resources and confidence to go against the cultural grain.
As a manny of many years, I am constantly questioned about my career choice – I have several female colleagues in my line of work and I can almost certainly say that they aren’t questioned nearly as much, if at all. In any case, lets skip the basics and get down to what a manny provides a household that a female may not:
*DISCLAIMER – I am aware females are in no way inferior to males, but all aboard the stereotype
express- if you disagree with any of my general assumptions please comment so we can discuss, I’d love to hear them!
Sounds obvious, right? The child has a father that likely ticks this box, correct? Maybe, but perhaps not. Even in homes where the father is present, research shows that the average father spends less than 10 minutes a day one-on-one with his child. Certainly not placing any blame here since this is likely on account of the fact that he works a full time job and has a laundry list of to-do items when said job is finished! The point is, that during the other 1,430 minutes of the day, children spend most of their time in school and at home being watched over, educated, and influenced by women (remember, this is on average, not factual!). Incorporating more balanced time with female & male figures will provide a more balanced and diverse development stage in a child’s life.
Is that one word or two? In any case, there’s no doubt that men encourage more physicality when around a group of kids. As a male nanny, showing up to an 8 year old’s birthday party is a sure fire invitation for me to either be tackled, throwing children *safely* across the pool, or inciting a game of impromptu freeze tag. This kind of play is essential for kids – boys & girls! And even better when we can teach children how they can have fun, be their rambunctious selves event with adults, in a safe environment. Now I certainly know some nannies who know their way around a flag football field, but more often than not, the children equate mannies with that physical, athletic activity.
We are the minority and well aware! Do you think it’s easy to compete with Mary Poppins? Frauline Maria? Or Julie Andrews herself while I’m at it?!
We exist in this middle ground role that’s not widely recognized yet, the work we do is paramount, high risk, and enormously important! Luck for me and my business, all of the (many) mannies I have had the pleasure of meeting since starting Angeles Mannies appear to fully understand the importance of a manny. Many have come from a tutoring background or spent 4 years in a college attaining a professional qualification; they know how to have fun, and how to discipline when needed.
That’s a brief snapshot of what came to mind on the topic and I hope to keep the list growing with the blog…..It feels strange writing the ways in which a male nanny can help a household, I didn’t even bother to add that a male can clean or that they know their way around a kitchen because it just seems insulting to everyone involved and should be a given, this is 2015 people.
I ask that you comment explaining your pros and cons of a manny, next time I will continue to talk about the manny, some of my experiences and why I was turned down a manny position (spoiler alert, it was because I was not gay.)