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September 15, 2008

Mannies: Would you hire a male nanny to watch your kids?

Manniesmalenanniesmanny T.H., a good friend of ours, just recently visited town. He helped us out a few years ago when he agreed to be our little guy's "manny" (male nanny).

I've heard that some parents struggle with the concept of hiring a guy to watch their kids.  The benefits for us were that our little guy loved talking about his video games and playing soldiers with T.H., and they always talked about football, especially about the New England Patriots (we're so sad about Tom Brady’s knee injury!) They certainly had a close bond, but it helped that we knew T.H. for years as a personal friend before asking him to help watch our son—and three years before launching Care.com.

Recently, there seem to be a growing number of mannies entering the workforce, or at least mentioned in the media, though they still tend to be a minority (about 1% to 10% of all caregivers).

Many parents, especially parents of boys, feel that hiring a manny is a great idea because it provides another positive, male influence for their boys—an additional male role model.

Holly Peterson, author of the new novel The Manny, said in an interview with ABC / Nightline News:

"I've always hired mannies. I love mannies. Mannies are really, really, fun child-care givers because they're messier, they're sillier, they play harder, they rough and tumble your kids all over the park. I think it's great for my kids to have a male role model in the house."

But some parents are wary because of the perception that men aren't as nurturing or compassionate as women, or that there's a bigger safety risk, in terms of background checking and reference checking, to ensure the caregiver isn't a sexual predator or pedophile when the caregiver is male (although according to a 2006 article by FOX News that risk is hotly disputed among researchers.)

The article also features a quote from New York Post sportswriter and longtime male nanny, Sam Blake, who said,

"[Parents] go to male nannies because they're at ease getting dirty, they'll go out and play with the kids a little more, they're more willing, as a generalization, to go out there and get dirty with the kids and do stuff, especially if the kids are boys."

Some additional parents (single moms, parents of children with special needs) have even been featured in the press saying that they prefer male caregivers (mannies or au pairs) because men are stronger and can lift and carry their children more easily than many women could, or in the case of the single moms, they enjoy having someone they can ask to perform handymen tasks from time to time.

One now-single mom who got plenty of press for hiring a manny was Britney Spears, who recruited Perry Taylor, a Naval Academy grad, to care for her two boys back in 2006, and many credit her with "spawning a craze" of hiring male nannies.

Shortly after that decision made headlines, male nannies seemed to pop up everywhere in entertainment, from Freddie Prinze Jr. playing a male nanny on an episode of Friends to the discovery that rock stars Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain hired a "manny" to care for their daughter, Frances Bean, back in the early 1990s.

This should have been no surprise to Generations X and Y, who grew up watching network sitcoms featuring male characters in prominent  caregiving roles like Mr. Belvedere and Charles in Charge, but instead it spurred a debate over whether or not being a full-time nanny was a legitimate profession for a man.

And why not? According to a nanny agency director featured in the ABC / Nightline News segment, mannies can make upwards of $100,000 a year. The problem is just that apparently there's a shortage of men interested in nannying as a profession and the supply of mannies is less than 1% of the total workforce.

Have you ever hired a manny to look after your kids? If not, why not? Does gender matter to you when hiring a caregiver?

Join the conversation by posting a comment!

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Comments

MIchelle Sorensen

Absolutely, I'd hire a manny! I'd love for my son to have another man other than daddy in his life. Right now, all the people we have working with him are women - it'd be so nice for him to have a guy to play with!

courtney

I think that a manny is a great idea, if the man is qualified and has a way with children. I certainly think that it is a viable option if you have boys because they can relate to their manny. I, however, have two princesses, and therefore think that perhaps a female would make them more comfortable. But if the person with the right credentials happens to be a male then I would give it great consideration... it might be nice for my girls to have a big brother influence.

Chris S. Sr.

As father of my children. I have problems excepting male person being a nanny or a manny. A male person have different role than a women. Usually a male person becomes a role model for young boys and they are the ones should be a head of the household working a blue collar or white collar jobs. A women who are nannies usually are helpers for the wife in the house hold help nurturing the children especially infants. It is sad to more men leaning toward what women are doing instead of of being the take charge person as male role model. I don't want to be blunt but as a parent, it is a red flag for pediphiles.

Tammy

Hi. I have had a mannie now for 2 and half years and I couldn't ask for a better person to watch my 3 boys. My oldest is 11 and they seem to have a very tight bond, my middle son, age 3, also seems to be enjoying him, and my youngest is almost 2. This mannie has been my only caregiver for my younger two and I wouldn't dream of taking them away to another daycare. My oldest tells me on a daily basis that he would "just not have it" if I were to change either.

I don't understand why some people are so critical about men watching kids for a living, as women we do many jobs that are usually for men, so why can't they do some jobs that are generally for women?

Lori G

I would hire a Manny for my young boy. As long as he was above reproach (how do you really know that or if a Nanny is above reproach for that matter?), had a respectable girlfriend and was totally open to family interaction with us before taking on the duties. I'd want a background check, of course, for either Manny or Nanny. My husband was great at babysitting kids in his neighborhood (when he was aged 12 to 26) and says he would hire a guy to watch our boy now.

summer o'dell

When looking for a child care provider for my daughter I was considering a manny, but my husband was completely against it. If we had a son I think that he would have thought differently, but was oppossed to a man watching after our daughter. I think that it is a cultural thing we are just not used to the idea that a nanny can be a man. I am a nurse and we still have a shortage of male nurses women will always be thought of as caretakers

Jenn

I would hire a Manny, I think there are men out there that can do just as good job as a Nanny. Some men even have more patience.

kira

I would NEVER hire a man to care for my children... I have to be honest with all these sick men out here its hard enough finding a safe female sitter.. I would never leave my children alone with a man unless it was someone I knew very well. I read somonewhere 1 out of 3 children have been sexually molested, look at the sex offender registry they are mostly men some women but most are men I could never hire a manny nor would I encourage others to do so

Nel

I am all for a Manny, men have every right to do this work if they so choose. The problem is I have girls and I would not feel comfortable with a man watching my girls all day.

Lizeth

I am a nanny and I think kids benefit from a careprovider who loves them and gives them the attention they deserve and need, I really don't think gender matters.

misty

i would hire a male to watch my children. women perform jobs everyday that are considered a mans job so why cant men cant do the same.

Michiel

No, I don't think I would hire a manny. I have a 10 month old daughter, and there are some sick individuals out there nowadays. I just do not feel comfortable having another man watch our daughter besides her dad. No offense but it is hard to trust people these days.

Kathleen

I've had my best luck with Mannies. I have two boys and James started helping right from the birth of the oldest. Men who want to take on this challenge do it with such care and thoughtfulness.

India

I'd hire a guy to watch my kids for a few reasons. Generally with guys you have less personal drama to deal with and they just come and do the job. Guys (at least the ones who would apply for this kind of work) are more apt to not have ego issues and just play with the kids. My biggest possible challenge with the guy who would apply for this job is that, while I think everyone has the freedom to make their own choices in their own lives, I don't want a non-hetero guy influencing my kids. There are women all over the place taking up "mens' " jobs (stupid stereotyping), there is nothing wrong with some men just doing what needs to be done to capitalize on their own strengths and opportunities to provide for themselves.

Dorie G

Well, personally as a mother of 6 children, I would not have a problem with hiring a manny if I did an extensive background check (I have 4 girls and 2 boys). I think the only problem I would have with it would be when the manny changed my 8-month-old's Pampers. Would he do as good of a job as a woman? I feel that it is more of a ladies' place. Men don't seem to take as much pride in that as us women do. That probably would be my only problem.

I would definitely hire a manny. Why not? We're in 2008 - things change all the time. If they're good for my children, I'm for it.

Tina

I would never hire a strange man to watch over my daughter. If you saw the episode of Oprah that I saw, you wouldn't either. You never know what a person is doing with your child when you're gone unless you set up some kind of surveillance. There are too many sickos out there. I wouldn't do it.

Tina

I think you would have to look at the reasons behind a man WANTING to be a manny, as a nanny it has been one of the toughest but most rewarding jobs in my eight years of childcare. But I'm wondering if the mannies would be as willing to take on other responsibilities such as picking up after the kids, doing their laundry and starting supper? Yeah they're willing to get down and dirty with the kids but are they willing to pick it up?

Lex

I agree with Kira. I would never, ever hire a man to watch after my daughter. I doubt I would consider it if I had a son. In today's world it's too much of a risk!

Kaitie

I think mannies are fine as long as you trust them and have done your research first. But I don't think its fair to say that they play more or harder because I love to get on the floor and play with kids. It's not just men!

brent maxwell stevens

I am PT manny for a family of 2 boys who are 2 and 3 yrs old and I have been with the family for 2 months, and I love my job. The mom who hired me was very open to a male nanny, considering that she was going through a divorce at the time and felt a male caregiver would be great for her boys. Since I have been a manny, I have noticed that Ive become more loving and caring and my days are more positive and joyful. I agree with the people who stated that male caregivers are important and can do as good of a job (if not better) as a nanny. But I also understand why so many parents are scared to hire a male sitter or nanny - simply it's the sickos out there ruin it for us who really love child care and makes it harder for us good men to get hired. So to all of the parents who are open to a male sitter or nanny, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Jess

I want to know where mannies are making upwards of 100,000 dollars a year. I know of no nanny who gets paid that much. Do men get paid more for nannying as well as other professions?

Rachel

Yep. I have a male babysitter for my 20 mo. daughter, and he does soooo well with her and she LOVES him. I think men have more patience and are less emotional than women, and this leads to being more even-keeled. Also, daddy's girls love men and seem to gravitate towards a male more than a female. Whereas, if the child is a boy, they identify with them as a positive male role model, like a Dad. So, I say Manny's are great!

candi

I'm a nanny right now, and there are times I get so fed up with other nannies and the silly drama (gossip) they get into. I've always been more of a tomboy, so I guess I think more like a guy in some ways. I wish there were more mannies, because I nanny for 2 boys and I'm always outside. But there are some things I think they would get from a manny that I just don't have an aptitude for, though I do try. (Sports, for instance - I'm horrible at it, but I do still give it a go.) I will rough the kids up and play outside, run through mud, etc - whatever it takes to make them happy. But still, there are certain things that male influence brings that women just don't have. So to all you mannies out there, thanks for bringing back more positive male influences in today's world. Mannies, do what you do. And when i do finally have children, I'm so hiring a manny!

Kristina

We've had great experiences hiring a male nanny to look after our three boys. Also, there's no reason to be more suspect when the caregiver is a male. Contemporary research just doesn't back up such a prejudicial statement.

Mz Stefani

If you look at your local Megan's Law sex registry there are WAY more males than females. The few females listed have usually been labeled sex offenders because they were barely legal age when their boyfriend wasn't legal like she'd turned 18 when her bf was still 17.

There are of course the Mary Kay Leturnos (sp?) but again those are teachers or counselors & TEEN boys. The Female sex offender w/the infant or toddler is next to non existent. But it'll shock you when you see how many male offenders live in your area & those are only the ones who have been caught & who actually do register.

I too saw the Child Molester episode of Oprah & after that, even though I am a Nanny, I recommend EVERY family have a Nanny cam. ATT offers a system called Remote Monitoring for $10 a month which you can view on your phone or your PC at work w/a constant live feed as well as a recording.

Unlike the person who said they'd only hire a straight male I'm the exact opposite. I'd want a female whether born in male body or a female one period. Because females have a natural nurturing component to their personalities; Especially ones who have already raised children of their own. I personally would not hire a female who hadn't gone through all the phases of child-rearing w/more than 1 child. Grandparents are the best. They've already made all the mistakes & learned, the hard way sometimes - but learned just the same, what works & what doesn't & they aren't nervous wrecks nor are they ever in a state of not knowing what to do if anything unexpected happens like youngsters are.

Rachael Nelson

Looking for a Manny around 40 years old to date.

TM

Being a male, I am offended by some of the comments on this story. Why do people think that just because a guy enjoys working with children, they are a child molester? That is absurd. I worked for the YMCA for 3 years. I also watched many children outside of that job and still do. I do it because I love working with children and because I am good at it. I do however think that men should watch only boys, and females should watch girls. I do not have this thought because I am afraid of watching a girl or because somebody may think I am a child molester. I have this thought because I am better with boys. I enjoy video games and sports and anything else they throw at me. So, with that being said, I highly recommend selecting a male nanny if you have boys or a female nanny if you have girls. You cannot judge a book by its cover. Just because a person is a guy does not mean he is a child molester or a pedophile.

MrGuy

I am distressed, but not surprised by the stereotyping I have read in many of these comments, both about mannies, and about gay men. A loving person is a loving person, period.

Do you honestly think that Mr. Belvedere, or. Mr French on Family Affair would be heterosexual in real life or their characters were developed without consideration of orientation or preference?

I know a manny who has been working for a very prominent family in Southern California for the past several years, caring for both boys and girls(3). They all love him, all their friends love him, and his cooking is unbelievable...Oh, and by the way, he is gay.

Zachary

I absolutely agree, Mannies can be amazing for kids. I have been involved in youth education for over 7 years. The kids love that I can get goofy and play hard with them.

I still have troubles getting hired because of the male factor. I would love to speak to anyone interested in hiring a Male Nanny.

Dale

I am so shocked at some of the comments I have read so far. I am a male and my major is education. If a man isn't good enough to watch your kids, what's next, he wont be good enough to teach them either? If people are good at what they do, whether it be childcare or not I say let them do it!

nanny the polymath

The misinformation found in these comments on a subject so important is disappointing.

Ladies and gentlemen, the most recent research shows that male and female caregivers are equally likely to commit acts of sexual or physical abuse. In fact, it is now believed that those acts occur at the same rate.

Don't get me wrong, as much as I wish to the contrary, the same research shows that those acts are more often more serious than they are when a male is committing them then when a female is.

Nevertheless, there is no additional protection from the act itself occurring through gender discrimination. Parents must be cognizant of the individual and not where their plumbing is.

Nanny cameras, constant communication with the child or children, maybe even have a friend spy on a nanny. Trust me, the good nannies, male and female alike don't mind these things.

We only want what is best for your children, just like you.

veronica

Yeah, especially if he is qualified and enjoys being with kids. I have no problem with it

Pat D Yeomans

I had a manny as a child, when my mother worked nights as a waitress. This man took care of us for five years. After the first year, he began molesting me. I could NEVER entrust the care of my children to the care of a male of any age or experience. In fact I've always gone to great lengths to ensure my young sons were never left alone with any men. It hapened to me undetected for so long. It could happen to your child too.

N Sheppard

My husband is a Nanny and has been since before I met and fell in love with him.
We don't have any children of our own (yet!) but can I just say that everything I am learning about children I am learning from my incredible husband.
He nanny's for two children, a 6 year old boy and a 2 year old girl. Obviously people may wonder how my husband could possibly entertain a 2 year old girl, but you would be surprised! He takes her to the park to have picnics with other nannys, to art class, music, etc. none of these activities are gender specific so what does it matter? And I think you would have to be rather narrow minded to think that men are not as sensitive or nuturing. It all comes down to the person!! My husband is gentle and loving towards those children, he makes them supper and can change a pampers in a second! (Something I can only admire!) and in return they absolutely love him, as do their parents - who appreciate coming home late to a tidy house and dinner in the oven,
My husband does this because he is naturally a giving person. His father died when he was young and had to become the head of the household, as well as be the sensitive young man his family needed.
If you screen your nanny throughly, getting CRB checks and Ofsted reports, the gender should be of no importance. There will always be statistics and horror stories, but so there is with everything regarding our children. My husband has a waiting list for his services for the next two years! This can only prove that gender is of little importance these days, if you are careful and create a loving environment, everyone can prosper from the arrangement,

S. Carpenter

No way would I hire a man to care for my children. There are risks with hiring ANYONE, male or female; but there's one HUGE risk you can eliminate right away if you choose a female nanny. She is less likely to be a sexual predator by far. Let's face it, men spend a LOT of time thinking about sex. MOST of the women I know have been sexually molested in their life-times, as was I.

There's a reason more men than women in this forum are uncomfortable with the thought of men watching their children - their little girls, in particular. Men understand other men and they know just how easy it is to be tempted into inappropriate sexual behavior.

Tom P.

I am male and have worked as a preschool teachers at a few schools.
I am also a medic in the Army National Guard. At first some of the parents were like cool male teacher. The other half was like why a guy. After a while most parents got over it.(there is always one that never will) I have the same State qualifications(sometimes more) then my female coworkers. I notice men don't last very long in the field(unless they are family related). Any way lately I been baby sitting my nephew who is currently nine months. I am thinking of trying to become a nanny/manny. Any ideas, comets, or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. My email is [email protected]

Tom P.

Bob

The double standards and ridiculous stories put on here by women do not surprise me.

Men are not as likely to be molesters simply because of their gender nor are they the main offenders.

Look at the statistics.

If men could not make good mannies or babysitters how do you explain the millions of good fathers, uncles, grandfathers, teachers, mentors, tutors that exist?

Degrassifan

I am not surprised at the sexist comments women have made on here about hiring mannies. Being a molester has nothing to do with gender. Some men spend time thinking alot about sex, and some don't. Same thing with women. There are women nannies who molest kids, as there are mannies. It just depends on whom you choose, as well as the results of background checks done. As for the sexist comments men have made, your daughters may be at risk from a female nanny as well, and you shouldn't just be concerned for your daughters, but your sons as well.

Cindy Gatlin

I think hiring a manny will do for my boys but he must be very patient since kids are very active and sometimes a bit hard to control.

David

I am a live-in manny for two boys 9 and 2, and I love my job! Their parents are divorced, they don't see their dad often, nor their mother because her job is very consuming. I think that a male role model is very important for the boys, especially the 9 year old; We have such a great bond and relate on a level that he can't with his mom.
I am a college student studying become a teacher. I take classes while the oldest is at school, and his brother is at Playgroup or with his grandmother for a couple hours while I go to a lecture. Living with, and working with the boys gives me the opportunity to implement things I learn in my Child Development and Psychology classes right at home.
Mannies should be taken seriously. Chances are your child has a male teacher in their school.

dom

I am a Head Manny for a ski company. i help run a team of 30 chilcarers. 8 of these are male and amazing at their job. Gender should not matter when it comes to childcare your CV should, referances, and CRB checks these are the things that matter.

People Healer

I really love the way you discuss this kind of topic.

Really i appreciate the effort you made to share the knowledge.The topic here i found was really effective to the topic which i was researching for a long time.

skbn113

I want to....but I would not.

I think the world has it's skin burnt raw from
experiencing our hearts and trust broken by the
male priest scandals.

Again....THAT was the higher form of trust. So how on earth would we or could we entrust our children to any male?

Some might be the absolute best in the world but we
must adopt a "Better safe than sorry" policy.

So, very sadly, no.

Although my own son takes care of my grand daughter while the wife works (tough economic times call for whatever it takes.) And I am not happy about him taking care of her either. He simply doesn't have the patience the mother does. I should know!

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