by Daniel Butcher
a male nanny. E.g., “my husband and I are thinking to hire a manny for our two boys”
Now that we’re clear on the definition, here we will focus on the person behind the Manny: who they are, where they come from, what they should do and should NOT do, and where they’re going.
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 the person who looks after children in the absence of their parents. 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”. I tend to strongly disagree. In actuality, male nannies that are good at what they do are held in high regard, and often employed in more affluent communities that are rich in education, where parents 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. On the flip side, 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, let’s skip the basics and get down to what a manny provides a household that a female may not. Below you’ll find some bullet points outlining the benefits of a Manny:
*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!
A positive and engaged male role model:
Sounds obvious, right? The child has a father that likely ticks this box, correct? This may be true, 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 never ending list of to-do’s when said job is finished! The point is, that during the other 1,430 minutes of the day, the majority of children spend most of their time in school and at home being watched over, educated, and influenced by women (shout out to the stay at home dads combating the majority!). Incorporating more time with male figures will provide a more balanced and diverse development stage in a child’s life.
Two Words: Rough House.
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, to toss children *safely* across the pool, or to incite a game of impromptu freeze tag. This kind of activity is essential for kids – boys & girls! And even better when we can teach children how they can have fun, be their rambunctious selves even with adults, in a safe and respectful 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 Have Something To Prove
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! Lucky for me, all of the (many) mannies I have had the pleasure of meeting appear to fully understand the importance of a manny. Many have come from a tutoring background or spent 4 years at a college attaining a professional qualification; they know how to have fun, and how to discipline when needed.
This is merely a brief snapshot of what came to mind on the topic and I fully intend to keep the list growing over time.
Danny ‘The Manny’ Butcher is a career manny living in Los Angeles, CA. He recently formed Angeles Mannies, a childcare staffing service placing highly qualified individuals, with an emphasis on the male influence.