Interview Between Angeles Mannies and Nanny Counsel
1. How long have you been a manny and what type of manny are you (part-time, full-time, live-in, etc.)?
I have been working with children for as long as I can remember, being the eldest of 4, but I never called myself a ‘manny’ until I came to America, so I would say, 5 years give or take. I have been mostly full-time but recently reduced down to part time to accommodate my new venture, Angeles Mannies.
2. Why did you choose to be a manny?
Becoming a manny was more or less the next logical step for me. I’m the eldest of four, so caring for children was commonplace for me in my family. I also cared for neighbors’ children back in England. Whenever I’m out and about I always seem to be the one making faces at the baby across the room or being bombarded by children at a friends or family gatherings. I found that I was really really good at interacting with children; they were very receptive to me and it’s a field of work that’s gets more unpredictable day by day, I love it!
3. What has been your favorite moment as a manny?
Of course there are so many but most recently my favorite moment as a manny was seeing one of the boys I cared for walk for the 1st time, that beat everything before and since!
4. What has been your worst experience as a manny?
Feeling bullied, stuck and alone by my employers with nowhere to turn. There are always people that will listen to you, let you complain for a little and tell you to quit; but that doesn’t really cut it. Until you’ve been in the situation of working for a family, being so ingrained in their life that the line constantly blurs between nanny/family member/slave and back to employee; it makes for a very difficult work environment sometimes.
5. What’s the best thing a parent has done to make you feel appreciated?
It’s a small gesture but I liked when my most recent mom boss made me breakfast and lunch. They did other things like new cell phones for birthdays and bonuses at Christmas but when it comes to me, food wins my heart every time!
6. What’s the worst thing a parent has done to take advantage of you?
One of my 1st families I worked with, I had an issue getting paid for when they were out of town. Despite it being written into the contract, they told me I’d have to ‘make-up’ the hours, therefore if they went away for 2 weeks, I would owe them 80 hours. It made the whole working environment extremely awkward. In the end we reached an agreement whereby neither of us were happy!
7. What do you find most rewarding about being a manny?
Being a teacher by essentially doing nothing different than I usually would in my day to day life. I pride myself most on my moral compass and genuine care for everyone and everything. I get to act exactly how I would in any other profession and still be a positive influence in their lives.
8. What do you find most difficult about being a manny?
The thing I find the most difficult is not being able to read minds. Most jobs I’ve had I feel like I missed the requirement of the parent to be a mind reader, as every parent feels that nanny has this ability. I learnt to overcome this by asking very specific questions when given a task and to read everything back to them. Now I’m not saying that when they asked me to pass them a pen I’d reply with ‘so, what you’re asking me to do is pass this black pen to you with my left hand within the next 3 seconds…?’ but you quickly develop a sense whereby you need to find a way to be very very clear.
9. Most embarrassing moment as a manny?
Child pulling swim shorts down in front of mom, I now wear underpants and swim shorts in pool, lesson learned for life.
10. The funniest thing your manny kid has said/done?
That’s such a hard question, I have countless videos and pictures that I can’t show anybody! But to go with my most recent, I would have to say that when my last 14 month old charge farted and then laughed, I knew that he was growing in to a very well developed young man, I was filed with such pride, he’ll go places.
11. Craziest thing a parent has ever done/asked of you?
As the years have gone on, I’ve realized that there is absolutely nothing that is deemed a ‘crazy’. However, the one that stands out most was 1 week into a position with a family, I was asked to collect a stool sample from their 11 year old son because the father was too squeamish to do it. It wasn’t a concern for me at all, it just meant that their son and I had a dramatically speed up our ‘getting to know each other process’!
12. Favorite activity/game/outing/etc with your manny kids?
Swimming, always swimming. I’ve started to learn that this MAY be more for me than it is for them. Coming from England, I can think of a handful of times I swam in a pool that was not either covered by a roof or dark clouds. Any opportunity to build up swimming skills, practice sharing, play games, teach safety, AND be active, happy and in the sun; swimming wins every time.
13. What do you wish parents and other people would understand about being a manny and the manny field in general?
This is a book title not a question! To keep it as brief as I can. Males work in childcare because they want to enrich the lives of children and leave a positive impact on a child’s life, the exact same reason a female choosing the same career path. The reason male nannies are heavily outnumbered to their female counterparts is because not only have we been conditioned to believe that females are better caregivers, but also, that it’s a female job to care for children and the men that have an affinity for childcare don’t want to be viewed as feminine, maternal people. The transition is happening, as it becomes more accepted by parents, more males are willing to work in childcare. If you feel your child needs a gender balance in their lives and it is heavily skewed towards females, it would be my recommendation to find a manny.
14. Best advice for new mannies?
Tick all the prerequisites, get your CPR certification, renew if need be. Get down in writing what is expected of both you AND the parents in a contract that is signed by both parties. Take plenty of photos, parents do not want to miss a moment of their child’s lives and if you can bridge the separation gap that’s great. Document everything when starting out, you can never have too much information to pass on to the parents, but you can DEFINITELY have not enough! Expect people to be surprised that you’re in childcare and a guy, this one never seems to get old.
15. How do you practice self care?
I’ve carefully learnt to maximize the time I have to do things. I always try to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night, this is so important for me. My alarm is set for 5:30 everyday, I get up and jog at least 5 miles, 6 days a week. I’ve also learnt that carving out time for other people is a great example of self-care. I’m working on leaving my cell phone at home whenever I go out to dinner with my girlfriend; I’m currently hitting a 50% success rate on this!
16. Extra hobbies/interests?
I enjoy running, camping, cycling, hiking, awful action movies, over-indulging in bad food and when I get time, rock climbing.