Monday

My Career as a Manny

Received Monday, April 13, 2009 - Guest Column by Joshua Lapin-Bertone
My name is Joshua and I’m a male working in childcare. Some people prefer to call me a “Manny”, but that sometimes confuses things more for people who don’t know what I’m talking about. Even though we live in a world where things are changing and gender roles are constantly being questioned, I still have many odd looks when I tell people of my career. Just recently, I was having a fun day at a theme park with some people my own age (something which is rare when you work in childcare). I was talking to one of the girls, and she asked me what I did for a career. When I told her, she had the most confused look on her face. “Why do you do that?” “Why would parents want some man to watch their children”. I gave her the same answers that I’ve given a million times. The thought does occur to me sometimes, why should I have to defend what I do? I do my job well and I am proud of it.

One of the first things I constantly have to do is show people that I am not just some guy who decided to watch kids. I tell perspective employers of my CPR certifications, Red Cross training, and my official required state licensing. I couple these with my big resume and excellent references, but still find myself turned down from jobs in favor of people with a third of my experience. Some employers are polite and others are more honest saying “It just doesn’t feel right with a male”. I don’t want to make it sound like my experiences have mostly been negative. Male nannies do have our hardships, but I’ve also had experiences I wouldn’t trade for the world. I’ve worked with people who I’ve become close enough with to consider family. I’ve formed relationships that I’ll never forget. While my friends have been flipping burgers, bagging groceries and sitting at desks as jobs, I’ve been going swimming, playing laser tag and being “a big brother”. I try to be a good role model and a “big brother” figure to the children who I watch. As long as I stick by that mission statement, I haven’t failed yet. Will I do this work forever? I’m not sure, but I am enjoying it now, having the time of my life and will never forget my days as a “manny”.
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Thank you for your Essay Joshua. Have something on your mind? Let it out. Send submissions to isawyournanny@aol.com. We're always looking for Guest Columns!

26 comments:

Village said...

I don't want to sound sexist, but I would think boys would have a great time with a manny. Roughhousing, and sports, and just having a big brother. I think it sounds great. But not so much for a girl. I would think a woman would be more appropriate. Does this make me sexist?

Right On said...

i think boys really need people like this in their lives.

midwestmanny said...

I'm a manny of four girls and one boy. My girls cling to me just as much; if not more than my little guy. If the world paid less attention to gender, a lot more kids would have the chance to experience a great nanny devoted to them and not appearances.

that's hot said...

Will you marry me?

Blythe said...

Haha I'm with "that's hot"-- I'll fight you for him!
:)

chgonanny said...

Last summer, there was a manny in our regular park. Sadly, I never got to talk to him, since we only saw him sporadically. He had two girls, I think, and was GREAT with them.

I know they're an extreme minority, but has anyone noticed that all the negative posts are always about females? Maybe it's because any man who chooses this profession must truly love what he does, to deal with all the rejection, where some women get hired regardless of having good references.

OP, I commend you for doing what you love. It's just sad to see that sexism is still alive and well.

nc said...

OP,

Good job doing what you love, even when others don't get it. Having males in the child care indusrty is important.

nc said...

I'm curious to know how many males are one here. I count three so far, myself, OP, and midwestmanny. Any more males?

Chelleeigh said...

I think it's awesome, and you shouldn't have to defend what you're doing..if anything you should be praised for doing what you truly want to do even though people may look down on you. Children love men just as much as women (my charge loves my fiance and tells me bye when he comes over). Kids love their Dads just as much as their Moms so who's to say a child (girl or boy) wouldn't enjoy having a manny. To a child, gender really doesn't matter..it's the experiences you provide them with and the love, which sounds like you do an amazing job at both.

Phoenix said...

I would rather have a man watch my children, they don't really go through all the emotional bull that females do... like most of the people that post here are females and they whine that their boss looked at them funny... I don't know any man that does that.

Melissa said...

Well, "that's hot" beat me to it. I was coming to propose marriage.

Oh wait... I'm already married. Oh well. :)

Marypoppin'pills said...

nc
You propose a good question. As I was Posting Joshua's Essay, the same thought went through my mind, how many Readers on ISYN are male nannies...

lola said...

good for you! many people still think that a man who wants to watch kids is a perv :-( there are plenty of women who are bad nannies. i would have no problem hiring a manny. its a persons attitude, experience, and character that counts.

nc said...

mpp,

Have you and Jane ever thought about doing an informal poll? I would be curious to see the breakdown of men/women, age ranges, main job (parent, child care worker, etc), and region from.

Just a thought.

Keep up the good work OP!!

Kim said...

That's great. I think there need to be more men in the childcare field. Kids need male role models. I know whenever I've worked with men who work with kids (camp counselor, teacher, etc.) The kids always like the men more. Maybe it's the novelty or the energy they bring, but there can never be too many positive male role models in a kids life.

Adria said...

* Applauds*
I think it's very important as a society to strive towards eliminating so many... intense gender roles.

I've been known to be a bit of a spitfire when it comes to my male friends that are "mannies". The minute someone directs any doubt or unfair judgment about them.... watch out, haha. I will debate it to the stereotyping til the end.

Anonymous said...
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cali mom said...

Anonymous, I'll repost this for you because I'm about to reply, but pick a moniker-your anon posts will get deleted!

" Its a little bizarre when people object to having a male babysitter. When my brother and i were younger we had a guy babysitter (this must have been the early nineties, so if Mannies are controversial now then i guess they were really controversial then) when my parents wanted to go out in the evenings and we LOVED him. We thought he was so much fun.
I have been babysitting a little girl for the past three years though, and one time when her mom asked me to sit for her, i had a prior engagement. I felt bad, and suggested that perhaps my younger brother (We were about 19 and 17 at the time) could sit for her, because he is great with kids and i knew he wanted a little extra cash. My charge's mom said that while she was sure my brother was a great kid, she was uncomfortable leaving her daughter (about 6 at the time) with a male babysitter because of bathtime. Understandable, but a bit bizarre when you think of all the female nannies who are trusted to bathe male charges. just some food for thought!"

Now, I was about to reply that I find it sad and mildly surprising that such sexist prejudices about male nannies still exist. And to agree with Anonymous's post about female nannies bathing little boys, especially in light of the horrifying and completely astounding information coming out of the poor Sandra Cantu case.

We had a male nanny for our little guy when he was very young, and the the shit hit the fan at my job so I ended up staying home with him very shortly after hiring the nanny, and felt very bad about it. We felt that he was very good, and he had ALOT of experience with tiny infants, in multiples (twins, nanny shares, etc.)

Jacqui said...

Females are more "trusted" with bathtime because female sexual predators are very uncommon.In fact, because of the Sandra Cantu case that has been brought up repeatedly.

I don't even think the trust is a conscious thing. It's a gut reaction. It's sad too. I'm sure there are amazing male nannies, but as OP mentioned, there are such prejudices...and those prejudices are based on real statistics. Of course you never want an entire group to be penalized because of a few bad apples, but that is the reality of ANY situation.

I commend you OP. You sound great. It must be hard to automatically be typecast as a pervert because of your profession. That's tough do deal with and I DO admire your strength.

Michelle said...

As a young woman who was molested at the age of 4 by her male babysitter who also was her next door neighbor, I can see where many of you are coming from but I've also learned from my own growth that you can't sit around and judge every man that wants to make childcare his career.
As a teenager, I swore that I'd never allow a man to watch my children (when I would eventually have my own), I also had doubts about letting my own brothers care for my future children. I built this hatred for men and it was completely wrong.
Yes, what happened was a tramatic event in my life and I still deal with it today..everyday..but I can't allow myself to judge someone else because of what another man did to me.
So I commened OP for proving to the world that not every man out there is bad. For loving his job day in and day out even though many disapprove. (=
Thank you.

EdgyFem said...

I wish all caregivers had you goals and attitude. Keep up the good work!

J'sCoughingNannyMissDee said...

You sound fabulous! I had a teacher at my preschool who was male and worked in our school age room, taught gym class and even worked in other classrooms as well. He left to take care of family issues and gym class isn't the same without him. Men, like women can be good nannies and teachers too, the problem is they have the spotlight on them because of child molestation. Not having male teachers and nannies teaches children that only women can do this kind of work, and it turns into a sexist attitude.

lala said...
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Steve-O said...
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Anonymous said...

NC i am one and also a friend of Josh's although i myself loathe the word manny cause its too cutsy.

j is a great guy !

i get the odd thing though cause i perfer to work with the younger crowd ages 18months-age 4 because its more chalenging and its at that age where they still look at you as a hero and listen and its way more fun, so people assum im a pedophile cause of that i know im not but hey let em !

Anonymous said...
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