‘I’m a male nanny – single mums like Kim Kardashian are my main clients’

During a recent episode of The Kardashians, Kim Kardashian revealed that she’d hired a ‘manny’, that’s a male nanny, to provide some balance to her “female-dominated” household.

“I do think that my household — and even in our family — it’s, like, very female-dominated,” she said. “I really wanted a male around that was going to be picking him up and taking them to sports.”

Having split up back in 2021 with Kanye West, with whom she shares North West, 10, Saint, seven, Chicago, five, and Psalm, four, the TV personality also added that she had been “scared out of my mind” to tell the musician about the nanny.

For James McCrossen, who is the founder of male nanny agencyManny & Me, being a manny is nothing out of the ordinary. After setting up the agency in 2016 after eight years of mannying and even more working in childcare, he’s seen an increase in both the number of male nannies and families looking for them.

“At the start, it was one of those things where a lot of people didn’t consider it to be a job for men. When people think of nannies, they think of Mary Poppins,” he says. “I didn’t know any male nannies when I first started. I remember the first time I met another manny on the school run and I couldn’t believe it. At first I thought he was just a young dad.”

Since then, James says that he receives calls each week from people who want to become mannies, with many enquiries coming from teachers and sports coaches wanting to make the transition. As for clients, around half are single mums like Kim.

“Our main clients are single mums who are looking for a male role model in the same way that Kim is. We also have a high percentage of families who mainly have male children, so they naturally go for a male nanny,” he explains.

“However, we do sometimes have it when we’re contacted by a single mother who will turn to us and say ‘I just need to run it by the child’s father’ and then once they’ve spoken they decide against using us.”

For James, he believes that some people may want a manny because of the alternatives it offers compared to a more ‘traditional’ nanny. “I think the reason why the first family I worked with liked me was because I was a jack-of-all-trades. I’d worked in a school and went on to become a teacher, so I had that background but I was also a football and tennis coach,” he explains.

“I did an array of things with the kids. I’d coach them, play computer games, do sports with them and teach them. I was adding extra elements they didn't realise that they could have with a traditional nanny.”

But for all those accepting of the mannying trend, the Manny & Me founder admits that there is still a stereotype that surrounds nannying, with many families specifically requesting the help of a female child carer.

“I know that from dealing with parents on the phone and discussing options with them, that they do have doubts,” he says.

On the whole though, many families simply don’t care about gender and, at the end of the day, just want whoever can do the best job.

“We're an agency that deals with female nannies and male nannies. People will come to us and say ‘look, we've always had a female nanny. We know that you specialise in male nannies and we're open to see if there's some good options out there. We want to still consider female nannies. But if you've got some male ones, send them our way as well,’” he says. “It’s about finding whoever’s best for each job.”

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