Photo Credit: Sally Anscombe/Flickr/Getty Images
Looking for your very own Charles in Charge? The demand for male nannies -- known as mannies -- is increasing so much (in New York City, at least) that now there’s a babysitting agency devoted exclusively to them, according to Business Insider. NYC Mannies was founded by John Brandon, a manny to an unnamed “high-profile family” in Manhattan, who fell into the profession while in college, found he loved hanging out with kids, and now wants to help every family have a “friend, mentor, caregiver, coach, tutor and cool big brother” wrapped into one, according to the web site.
For single moms, a Gary Poppins might provide something Mary can’t: a positive male role model. A high-energy manny might also be just the thing for sporty, super-active kids. Also, according to Slate, recent research suggests that the male parenting style tends to more hands-off, encouraging kids to be more independent and learn through getting a few bumps and bruises. In other words, a manny is a free-range parent’s dream.
But old stereotypes die hard, and many still associate men who hang out with children as creepy potential abusers -- or just wonder why a grown man wouldn’t choose to do something else. Brandon told Business Insider that many are pursuing artistic endeavors, and childcare work allows them the flexibility to do so.
If we want men to share more of the load as parents, isn’t it time to let go of the idea that women make the most appropriate caregivers and show our kids that guys can nourish and nurture too? A child taken care of by a male will be less likely to absorb gender messages -- and might even end up in a more egalitarian relationship themselves later.
Would you be open to hiring a manny?