Early childcare has long been seen to be a female's domain. But if the opportunity comes up, would you allow a male to babysit your children? Two mums share their views.
Perth, Western Australia
My boys were five and seven when my husband and I decided to get a nanny. We were two professionals who worked long hours and we were finding it difficult to manage everything and stay sane for the boys, while still being able to allow the kids to engage with after-school sports, activities and play dates!
We put a call out in the search for a nanny and a family friend of ours told us about their son who not only wanted to travel to Australia (from Canada) but was great with kids and would be very willing to work as a nanny. We Skyped a few times and met in person over Christmas and come January, he was our new male nanny!
We didn’t purposely go out looking for a male nanny; it just happened that the suitable person we found was male. But now that we’ve had him, if we were ever to get another nanny again, I would highly consider another male.
Our experience was amazing; in fact it exceeded our expectations. He was a fit, intelligent and active young man who had recently graduated from university and was having a gap year before going on to graduate school. He played ice hockey back in Canada and my youngest son is a keen ice hockey player so they had that in common. He really enjoyed sports and the outdoors and so he seamlessly fit into our lives. We went on holidays and outings together.
He got on really well with my husband and enjoyed playing basketball with him. He would drop me off to work in the morning and have my car to drop off and pick up the kids, and then picked me up in the evenings once dinner was underway and the kids showered. It was a great set-up!
Sydney, New South Wales
Evidence has shown that males are more likely to be responsible for abusing children. That’s not to say that all males are predators or perpetrators, but I would not gamble my children, whether there is a 50 per cent chance, five per cent chance or a one per cent chance.
My strongest issue at the moment has to do with nappy changes. My oldest girl is almost eight now and doesn’t need help to go to the toilet, but my youngest is only two. She still needs to be nappy-changed and I would not allow a male, other than my husband, to do that. If my daughters were older, I would still be hesitant about allowing a male to care for them.
And I mean any male. It doesn’t matter if he’s someone I’ve known all my life or whether he’s someone with excellent credentials, I would not leave my girls, especially my youngest, alone with them. It would be OK if the male carer were part of a team, such as a male worker in a childcare centre, but I wouldn't leave my children alone with a male on his own.
In fact, for two years that we lived away from family, my husband and I did not even have a date night because neither my mum nor my sister were available to look after my children. That’s how far we went.