We are always on a mission to find the most passionate, dedicated and enthusiastic male nannies to join us at Manny Poppins. We would like to give those of you who are interested in this career path a brief insight into the daily life of a typical male nanny. Jamie found his dream job with us last year and has kindly taken the time to answer a few questions that we have thrown at him. Each role is different, however Jamie's expertise lie with infants and so his answers will reflect this age range.
Read on to see what it's really like to be a male nanny...
Why did you want to take a career in male nannying and what lead you to this decision?
I decided to take a career in childcare first after sitting in front of a computer in a call centre for 5 years and becoming fed up. I looked back over my experiences to pick out what I was good at landed upon childcare. I always took it for granted that everyone loved kids and had the patience for them but I then realised this was not the case and I could turn this into a career. I started out in a daycare centre in Australia and had the opportunity to then move to London after working there for a year. I noticed that within the centre there was a lot of behind the scenes politics and talking about people behind backs, so that's when I decided I'd like to try going solo and become a nanny.
Can you give the routine of your typical day?
Typical day starts at 8am where I turn up at the house and get welcomed with open arms by Imogen who is currently 14 months old. She is the only child I look after at the moment but there is another on the cards somewhere in the future as her Mum's are keen on having another. We have breakfast first and then get dressed, brush teeth; all the things required to look nice before leaving the house.
Usually around 9am we will head out into Victoria Park and have a walk around with Immy in the buggy. During this time she will generally have a power nap and then be ready to go for a drop-in session at her local daycare by 10am. We spend an hour to an hour and a half normally at the drop-in session depending on how much energy she has that day before heading home for a bottle and a sleep. Whilst she's asleep I'll take a break and then tidy up/prepare meals/wash her clothes until she is awake again about 2 hours or so later.
Imogen then has lunch and after that I normally have some sort of activity planned. These range from all sorts like working on her crawling technique to playing with slime I made to painting with her hands and feet. They vary a lot as I like to build upon things she's either done in the morning at the drop-in or reflect on actions I've noticed her doing during our time together.
After this I'll let her free play in her bedroom or the kitchen (another play area) and watch how she's interacting with different toys/books/random objects to build upon later. Dinner (or 'Kudla' as we say in her house because one of her mothers is from South Africa and there's a lot of Zulu words in her vocabulary) is sometime close to 5pm, before we then have bathtime and another bottle before bed. The day then ends for me at 6pm normally.
Why do you feel that your particular employers or any family can benefit from having a male nanny?
Male role models are important in any child's life whether they are male or female. If perhaps that particular dynamic is missing then a male nanny can absolutely fulfill that requirement. In my case with Imogen having two Mum's, she had pretty much the first 10 months of her life completely in the company of women and although she has warmed to me now, she is still very wary of any other men and will become distressed if another male tries to talk or interact with her.
This has shown me the importance of a child having contact with both sexes equally in their life from the beginning and if the family dynamic does not meet the balance for some reason, a male nanny can work wonders.
What key attributes and traits do you feel a successful male nanny needs to have?
To put it simply you need patience beyond measure and the ability to derive enjoyment from spending time with children, even if it involves singing a nursery rhyme 36 times in a row.
Are there any extra qualifications or courses you feel that would increase other mannies chances of finding manny work?
I studied prior to starting work because I felt it lent me credibility when seeking work and that is going to be true of any career you're pursuing. There isn't necessarily a course that is going to make you a better nanny, but employers definitely will have their eyes open for anything else you can bring to the table. Whether it be the ability to tutor their child in certain subjects, or perhaps tennis coaching that you could help with. The more extra curricular activities you can offer the child, the more interested the parents are going to be.
Have you had to overcome any difficult situations whilst working as a manny or other childcare related roles and What sort of reaction do you get when you tell people you are a male nanny?
These two sort of go hand-in-hand, the biggest difficulty is getting past the stigma of being a male in a stereotypical female position. You absolutely get surprised reactions from the majority, it almost puts them on the back foot when they hear you're answer and they don't know how to respond. I've had multiple people say that it's nice, but you can understand why there isn't a lot of men who do it because of all the paedophilia around. To which I disagree with and then make a point of avoiding talking to them again. Another one is Mum's talking to you about their children and saying whilst they can see the benefit, they would only have females look after their children. I take it in my stride though and enjoy challenging these types of stereotypes wherever I can find them.
What advise would you give to other men wishing to pursue a career as a male nanny?
Don't do it for the money, do it for the pure enjoyment of having a fun job that is different everyday. Also make sure the family are the right fit, you don't necessarily need to jump at the first family that offer you a position.
What do you really love about your job?
I love that I look forward to going to work on a Monday morning because I know I'm going to be playing and having fun all day. I also love that it is a job where I don't have to look at a clock every 5 minutes to see that it's only moved 1 minute, the day goes so fast it's a blur.
If you could give any advice to future manny employers/families what would it be? (Eg. anything that you feel parents should do differently, or explain, do's or don'ts from your experience)
You should have several trials before you commit and bring up little niggles as soon as you notice them. That applies to both sides, there should be open communication flowing both ways to allow both parties to address any issues they might have without feeling stressed about it.