Should You Hire a Male Nanny?

If you are on the fence about bringing a male caregiver into your family, you are not alone. Male nannies, often known as “mannies,” are just as caring and nurturing as any other caregiver, and writing them off outright is doing your family a disservice.

The Stereotype of Male Nannies

For a long time, the work of caring for children has fallen to women in society, with men taking more of a backseat in the child-rearing tasks. But thankfully, this is beginning to shift. As more couples work towards an equal share of childcare duties, we have come to understand the importance of having caregivers of all genders taking part in their child’s upbringing.

In the childcare industry, we see a similar shift, though it is perhaps moving a bit more slowly. The industry is still predominantly made up of female caregivers, which is due largely to the lingering stigma of men in this industry. There are still a lot of misconceptions about male nannies that often hinder their advancement in the field, such as that men are better at athletic activities and discipline, but not as strong in terms of cooking, cleaning, and other more domestic tasks. But the fact is that these are unhelpful stereotypes and largely untrue. Every caregiver brings their unique style, regardless of their sex or gender, and it is important to consider all of your options when choosing what’s best for your family.

Some families even remark at how healthy and healing having a male nanny has been. “I think it is fantastic for my son and daughters to see a man cooking, cleaning, and supporting their emotional needs,” says a Chicago mother of three. When men exhibit behaviors that we generally associate with women, such as emotional support and domestic tasks, they become diverse role models and help children to challenge these gendered stereotypes as they grow. 

The Science and Research

Science supports the positive experiences of these families. A recent study reveals boys absolutely benefit from a positive male influence, “Boys, especially, are drawn significantly more frequently to a man in the ECEC [early childhood education and care] team.”

Research also shows that gender roles impact our ideas about male teachers and nannies. Another study points out that children’s sense of what a man is or can be is easily skewed from TV, movies, video games, books, magazines, and the media at large when they lack in-person male role models.

Overcoming Male Nanny Apprehension 

But something that still holds many people back is the question, “are men suitable caregivers?”

One male caregiver, Russ Hemphill, shares his experience of trying to get work, “It is a challenge to build the initial trust needed to gain interviews and trial periods,” he shares, “but most families enjoy my working style.”

Another nanny, Kyle Kelly, explains that he has been told outright by a few families that they were unsure about hiring a male nanny. “I think you’re eliminated from certain jobs immediately just on the basis of sex. I don’t really like talking about myself, but I know how qualified I am and sometimes I won’t even get an interview, which is tough,” says Kelly.

The truth is, it can be hard for families who have a particular image in their head of what a nanny is, to accept that a male caregiver might be right for them. Even very qualified candidates can be eliminated simply because of these preconceived notions.

But at the end of the day, it’s all about the bonds that form. As professional manny John Inrugu puts it, “The best part is teaching those beautiful minds skills that will last their entire life…The best caregivers do more than provide care. They offer companionship and compassion.”

Is a Male Nanny Right for You?

So, should you hire a male caregiver? The truth is, that answer will entirely depend on you and your child’s needs. But the fact is that male nannies can be just as qualified and beneficial as female nannies. All families’ needs are different, and it is possible that a male caregiver might be the perfect fit.

At some point, every family must figure out childcare. Personalized in-home childcare is worth looking into–and often much more affordable than movies would lead people to believe. In truth, there are tons of excellent, qualified nannies in the world, of all genders, and what is right for each family depends on many factors. The important thing is what will be best for your child, and sometimes thinking outside of the box can produce better results than we can ever imagine.

About the Author:

Danny J Rosenthal created www.NannyABCs.com and the Nanny Next Step System to provide caregivers, families, and agencies the only personalized A-Z caregiver and domestic staff professional training. Rosenthal is the author behind Nanny ABCs: The Sitter’s Handbook: A complete alphabet how-to guide for every child caregiver and is the host of the Nanny ABCs: Next Step podcast.

Rosenthal has worked with children and families for over 15 years, been recognized for his outstanding performance by Chicago Collegiate Nannies, and his expertise has been featured by US Nanny Association, Care.com, Care Nectar, and the Association of Premier Nanny Agencies.

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