After recently advertising for a nanny for the kids a couple of afternoons a week I’ve had a shortage of viable responses. Many want more hours, more money, less responsibility but one applicant ticked all of the boxes…. Experienced, available for the hours I wanted but flexible if I needed more. Happy to clean and cook. Happy to do homework and bedtime if required. This applicant sounded like a dream…
Except he was a man.
A 65-year-old grandfather of six to be precise. His wife was a nanny and he often helped her out and sometimes they even took their charges on outings for the weekend for fun -no charge- because they just loved kids.
Their own grandchildren were in another state and they missed the young people.
He has worked with St John’s ambulance and his interests were somewhat those of a 65-year-old man and I thought he just sounded lovely.
But there was no way I would call him for an interview.
I wouldn’t call any guy who was unknown to me, in fact.
I put it out to my Facebook community to a mixed response. Some people suggested I meet with him and see how I feel.
Trust my gut instinct, they said, but I know my gut instinct is not always right. My gut instinct has led me to make some atrocious decisions in the past and I had to deal with those consequences?
If my gut instinct was wrong in this case who would deal with the consequences.
Me, yes, of course, but my children mostly.
The question of equality has been raised. How can I ask for equality as a woman in a world swayed towards the hairier sex if I’m unwilling to unequivocally give equality back, but I’m all for equality in schools and even day cares. I had some very influential male teachers in my life.
However, when it comes to hiring a man to care for my children at home while I’m not there I’m really quite unwavering in my decision.
I love men, let’s get that straight. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that strong male influences are essential to children’s development into well-balanced adults and I’m not a man-wary, man- hater who thinks guys all are predators of some description or another…far from it.
I see many men who are more doting and gentle as fathers and carers than their female partners. Men are absolutely more than capable of being the primary carer and handling the emotional and physical needs of children and raising beautiful balanced, safe, humans.
Sometimes when I see my daughter sitting on the couch with a man, be it my boyfriend, or our old nanny’s husband, or Uncle Rodney, I know that she’s snuggling right in for some man pheromones because she doesn’t get enough of it in her daily life. I encourage these relationships. They are important, and they are lovely.
She trusts these guys with that simple unquestioning trust of a child, but when I ask these doting men in her life if I should interview this seemingly perfect male candidate to become my ‘manny’ their answer is a resounding “No way.”
Men telling me not to give a man a try.
The simple fact is statistically speaking it is more likely to be a man that I need to be cautious of around my children so why not eradicate that from the equation when looking for a nanny to enter my home and care for my children when I am not there?
It is a terribly sad thing that I feel this way about male childminders and I wish it was different, but sadly the actions of the few have tainted it for the many.
I know it sounds like a sexist stance, but if 97% of bears were cuddly and only 3% would rip your face off and eat it, would you still go into an enclosure of bears? I wouldn’t, and I also wouldn’t send my kids into one without me there to protect them.