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Joss Simmons, nanny
Photograph: Andy Parsons

Things you only know if you’re a nanny in London

James FitzGerald

…according to Joss Cambridge-Simmons, 30.

Nannies get an insight into how both halves live

‘I’ve had jobs on Park Lane and in Knightsbridge where there’s a butler in the household. I once had to go to Ibiza to babysit for a day and a half. That’s definitely a perk. But there are also families on lower incomes who have to find a way to pay for childcare because they want to give their children everything they can.’

Childcare pros offer something that parents can’t

‘Parents are their child’s best teachers to an extent, but after that, kids benefit from having someone else around, giving guidance and passing on life skills. A nanny can teach them a lot about different cultures. Some children don’t have someone who looks like me coming round to their house often. But with me there, cooking Jamaican food, they’ll grow up without making as many judgements.’

Nannies have to adapt to survive

‘London living costs are continuing to rocket, and in times of economic uncertainty, people want to save money. Recently I’ve been seeing more adverts for au pairs, who are viewed as cheaper alternatives. The challenge is always finding more business. I’ve broadened out into public speaking, workshops – even blogging.’

Blokes have a caring side too

‘Some think only women can wholeheartedly look after children. So as a male nanny, or “manny”, I have to fight stereotypes. Children benefit from the idea that men aren’t all brawn and no brains. They should be able to see a man cry or feed a baby. The more kids see men working in care roles as well as women, the more things will change.’

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