Here we are again. Male nannies are back in the news and the debate rages on. It’s been ongoing ever since Britney Spears hired a “manny” back in 2006 when it became (and continues to be) a trend amongst celebrities. Every few years a manny article will create a short-lived media buzz that eventually dies down. But this year seems to be different. Mannies have been all over the news, and major networks are introducing them as characters on hit TV shows, such as Modern Family. Mannies are no longer a novel accessory used only by a few daring and progressive families. They are a legitimate childcare option and are being taken much more seriously.
Old stereotypes are dying. New York families no longer think it’s creepy for a grown man to hang out with their kids. People who continue to express concerns have never actually met a male nanny or understand what they bring to the table. Mannies are young, athletic, outgoing, well educated, and great with kids. They want to be caregivers because they enjoy the task of being role models. Mannies are not the type to sit on a bench reading a magazine while the kids play in the park. Many of them are former camp counselors or coaches and enjoy breaking kids out of their shells and encouraging them to try new things. They are particularly great for active, adventurous kids who need physical outlets and structure.
But why do these men choose to be caregivers when there are so many other career options? Some have just finished college and simply need more time to figure out what they really want to do with their lives. Others are pursuing artistic endeavors and caregiving gives them the flexibility to do so. Would you allow your kids to have a male teacher, a male coach, or a male camp counselor? A male nanny is all of those things put into one person. As the fear and uncertainty subsides, moms are beginning to realize the true value of male nannies.
For single moms, hiring a male nanny makes sense. Children of single moms need a positive, male influence around the house. My father died when I was a kid. My mother was left to raise three kids on her own while working two jobs. She couldn’t afford to hire a male nanny. So she insisted upon my receiving help and guidance from older guys who were friends of our family. They weren’t professional caregivers, but they were mannies in their own respect without even knowing it. They restored my confidence at a time when I really needed it. They taught me how to swing a hammer, hit a baseball, and get up whenever I fall down. Mannies are much more than male caregivers. They are big brothers, mentors, coaches, tutors, and friends.
I always make it clear to people that I am not advocating male nannies over female nannies by saying that one is better than the other. The power is always in the hands of the parents. They know what is best for their kids. But it looks as though the male nanny trend is no longer a trend. “Gary Poppins” is here to stay.
John Brandon is the creator, owner and co-founder of New York’s only male nanny agency, NYC Mannies, which was featured on Good Morning America. John’s goal is to give families more options for childcare. He is also a singer, actor and entrepreneur living in New York City. As an active professional singer, John performs in opera houses and theaters across the United States. He became interested in the care giving industry while studying music at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey. While building his opera career, he was a manny for three families in the U.S. and Germany. His passion for mentorship led him to start his own manny agency in New York called NYC Mannies. He also enjoys traveling abroad to orphanages to provide encouragement and assistance to children in need. John is a native of Tennessee and a graduate of the McCallie School in Chattanooga.
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