A positive and engaged MALE role model:
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.
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, 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 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! 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.
Q&A with Daniel Butcher!
How did you get started in childcare, and what drew you to the field?
Being the eldest of four, I have always gravitated towards caring for younger children. This would then evolve into caring for the friends of my younger siblings back in the UK. After graduating University in England, I traveled to Los Angeles and worked at a summer camp as a Go-Kart specialist. I began accepting on-call care work from the families of the campers, which evolved into more hours, more demanding schedules and higher compensation. I continued to show my worth when I was recruited by an agent that placed me in a home in Bel Air. What drew me to the field is being able to use my experience and creativity to provide the best service to the parents, whilst enriching the lives of their children. That’s what keeps me in the field to this day.
There are so many gender stereotypes around childcare—what can be gained from overcoming them?
The truth of the matter is that in a female dominated industry, men in childcare are constantly defending themselves. The stereotypes I assume you refer to are drawn from, (but are not limited to): Men’s motives for working so closely with children, their sexual preferences and orientation, and their future intentions in this career field. Sometimes it’s a combination of all three, and seldom it’s none. I’ve been denied an opportunity after interviewing with mom’s after she discovered I was not gay.
I think if you let any stereotype or negative connotation stop you from doing what you’re meant to do, you automatically validate your criticizer. There is so much to gain in overcoming this negativity, in any industry. Working with children is what I love to do and despite some gender-rooted bias from a number of parents, I see the enormous benefits of male nannies, and I strive for others to see it too.
How should the gender mix of children you have (all boys, all girls, a mix) affect who you choose to care for them, if at all?
I feel the role in which it plays applies more to the parents than the manny. The general consensus is that if you have a bunch of rowdy boys then the obvious choice would be to bring in a manny to get said boys tired out. There are a vast number pf reasons to choose a manny over a nanny and vice versa, but what I feel it should always come down to is creating an energy balance within the house, and in this case a positive male role model if the household dynamic is heavily skewed towards female
What do you think mannies bring that’s different from female caregivers? Are you seeing more interest in male caregiving?
More and more men are working in childcare, with the intention of enriching the lives of children and to leave a positive impact on their lives. I’ve worked with countless families and caregivers, and have seen firsthand that men can provide the same nurturing qualities as their female counterparts, and then some. The concept of men in the childcare profession has become increasingly popular as we see more males within the industry, and adding a unique spin to the field. A role model is a powerful form of education – if you feel your children would benefit from an experienced, active, strong male role model, it would be my recommendation to find a manny.