Wanted: “Manny” Who is Great With Kids
He was available when she needed him. He was super friendly. He fit her budget. And he had a lot of energy.
Then someone asked if she felt comfortable with a male babysitter.
“I didn’t know there was a stigma against male babysitters. For me, the gender thing did not come into play,” she says. “He’s been great with my kids. He lives three blocks away. He’s studying to be a pediatric surgeon. He’s within my budget. There was no way I was not going to hire him.”
While some people wouldn’t even consider hiring a male babysitter or nanny, other families find it beneficial for their kids to have good male role models who enjoy watching children.
One of the biggest misconceptions people have is that men may not be good at things like cooking and cleaning, says Lynn Perkins, CEO of Urbansitter.com, a website used by many Bay Area families to find sitters.
Perkins says she has seen a rise in the number of dudes posting sitter profiles on Urbansitter.com in the last few years. It usually takes them longer to get jobs than the female sitters, she says, but that’s starting to change with a new feature offered on the site in which sitters can post a two-minute video about themselves.
With the cost of college going up every year, Perkins suspects more guys may be turning to babysitter jobs for extra income.
For Larson’s babysitter, Gunter Lugo, 20, babysitting is a fun way to bring in extra money as he studies biochemistry at San Francisco State University. He also thinks it will help in his chosen profession.
“Since I want to be a pediatric surgeon, this job has its benefits,” Lugo says. “It’s amazing to watch how every day is different for an infant.”
Benefits of a “Manny”
Some families actually seek out a male caregiver for their kids for a variety of reasons.
Lugo babysat for a lesbian couple that wanted a good male role model in their sons’ lives.
Perkins says she’s also known single moms who sought out “mannies” because they wanted their kids to have a male role model.
Kim Hoffman, 43, of Oakland wasn’t specifically looking for a male babysitter for her 8- and 5-year-old girls and 4-year-old boy. But when she found Justin Assioun, 22, of Berkeley, it was a perfect fit He was a soccer coach, had a lot of experience with kids and seemed like a really nice guy. An added bonus is that he’s a pre-medicine major at UC Berkeley, which made her feel even more comfortable because her husband is a doctor.
“I think it’s a positive thing for kids to have caretaking trust in both genders,” Hoffman says. “Kids shouldn’t have that planted seed of sexism that only a female should care for children.”
Click here to see a list of nanny and sitter services in the Bay Area.
Teresa Mills-Faraudo is an associate editor at Bay Area Parent and a mother of two.