My husband is NOT the babysitter.

Warning :: Rant ahead. I’ll try to keep it under control, but there are no promises.

Let’s get something straight that has been on my mind since our twins burst onto the scene 5 years ago. My husband is NOT the babysitter. He is a PARENT. Big difference. Huge.

He’s not just watching the kids; he’s interacting with them.

He’s not taking care of them; he’s parenting them.

Dad is NOT the Babysitter | Houston Moms Blog

I find it so hard to believe that in 2016, we still have such old-fashioned notions of who does the heavy lifting. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been out running errands or getting my hair done, and I’ll bump into a well-meaning friend who inevitably asks where the kids are. When I say, “At home with Daddy,” it’s almost immediately followed by, “Oh, what a SUPER dad he is to babysit for you.” Like he should get a gold medal on some freaking parenting pedestal because he stayed home with the kids for two hours.

No. Just no.

I mean, he is a great dad. Totally give him all that credit in the world and more. But to imply that he is watching his very own children as a favor to me or as some form of repayment is an absolute insult to him. And me. See, when we got into this parenting thing, we BOTH wanted to, you know, parent. Now clearly, there are some things he hasn’t been able to do, like carry 9 lbs of babies or lay on a freezing cold operating table to bring them into this world. But you know who changed all their first diapers full of that sticky tar crap? He did. And because I had a milk production issue, he also gave almost half of their bottles. Gasp. I know.

Now that they are older, we have fallen into a comfortable routine of who does what around here. While I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily 50/50 because of his work outside the home and me being a stay-at-home mom, it’s pretty darned close. See, as soon as his feet hit the ground in the morning, he’s doing everything a parent should — providing for them, thinking about them, sending out emails for arrangements on flag football games, and checking in with me daily to see what he can do. Then, every evening when he walks in the door, he’s right back on parent duty. He breaks up fights, gives hugs, plays video games, reads books, encourages them to clean up, and, my personal favorite, gives baths and showers. Praise! We aren’t living back in the 50s and 60s where “Dad” goes into the library to relax with his scotch and cigar while the little wife with perfectly coiffed hair and an apron manages to get a four-course meal on the table all while wrangling her little darlings in the tub.

The dads I see these days {and I’m sure there are exceptions, but as a general rule} are fully engaged in this parenting thing. They are serving as role models, coaches, disciplinarians, and so much more. They attend {and participate} at open houses, teacher/parent conferences, birthday parties, and coach’s meetings. They are actively involved as a dad, as a parent. Why are we surprised that they embrace these roles?

Dad is NOT the Babysitter | Houston Moms Blog

And honestly, it’s demeaning to them. Like if I go out of town, I often hear…

“Wow, so nice of him to watch the kids for you!”

“Bet your house will be a total disaster when you get back!”

Or my personal favorite, “Aren’t you worried that he can’t handle x, y, and z?”

No. No, I’m not. In many ways, Matt is an even better parent than I am. I had to make a trip to Dallas a few years back, and I came home to two kiddos who made the leap from cribs to their big girl/boy beds. With pull-ups on. And it was a seamless transition. I often notice in media today that we treat our dads as these big buffoons who can’t possibly manage raising their children. They are shown giving their kids cake for breakfast, awkwardly stumbling through the dressing and girl hair routine, and throwing pizza on the table for dinner. Now, maybe Matt does give the occasional pizza, but darn it, he’s perfectly capable of giving them wholesome meals, packing lunches, putting on clothes and diapers correctly, and so much more. In fact, one of my friend’s husband is actually on hair duty most morning with impeccable skills. Better than me that’s for sure.

Let’s give our dads the respect they deserve. They are parenting their butts off. As they should be. They are half of this parenting team – let’s act like it. And for heaven’s sake, don’t call them a babysitter. I already have a few of those, thank God.

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9 Responses to My husband is NOT the babysitter.

  1. Erica Ladwig March 15, 2016 at 6:52 am #

    Such a great piece! I completely agree with you that Dads are not “babysitters”. I always say, “I didn’t get myself pregnant.” so someone else has responsibility for these two also! And yes, Dads are very much capable of all that Moms are, and are sometimes better at certain things.

  2. Mary March 15, 2016 at 7:07 pm #

    I definitely see your point and agree with quite a bit of it. But to be fair, it doesn’t have to be offensive or demeaning for people to say, “wow, so nice of him to watch the kids for you!” Because I think it goes both ways. If dads go out on errands or to meet friends, I think it’s equally as nice of the moms to watch the kids and allow the men the time alone. I guess your point is that you won’t hear as often to a dad, “wow, so nice of her to watch the kids for you!” 🙂 haha, but I certainly see them as both equally as nice.

  3. Julie Hood March 20, 2016 at 7:43 am #

    YES GIRL. I totally agree! The Berenstein Bears, Everybody Loves Raymond…it all makes dad look like lazy-behind strugglers. My husband is so hardworking and is already an amazing dad to our one-month-old, so that crap gets me fired up, too! So glad you wrote this 🙂

  4. OutdoorParent March 22, 2016 at 9:15 am #

    YES! This is an issue I try to fight whenever I can. It breaks my heart to see so many women on mommy blogs and facebook groups bashing their husband for getting everything “wrong” when they “Babysit” Of course they do, not only do you have ridiculously high standards, recently one called her husband clueless because he put his daughter in “ugly” clothes because he thought it was cute, but you’re setting him up for failure if all you do is put him down. Of course it will be a huge feat that he’s babysitting his kids when you treat him poorly every time he offers help. I wouldn’t watch the kids either if my spouse made cute passive aggressive jokes about my inferiority every time I did. It’s emotional abuse, plain and simple.

  5. Jeff March 23, 2016 at 5:15 pm #

    Great blog. I’m a dad and I agree. I never “baby sat” my children, and I don’t babysit my granddaughters. And for the record, no one has ever done a cloth diaper as good as me. But I was and still am a father and, and now a grandfather 24/7. And I have always loved every minute of it. It is an insult to both of you. The only question I have is pizza isn’t a wholesome meal? Uh oh.

  6. Mrs.Shaw March 25, 2016 at 11:34 pm #

    Thank you!!! I also would like to add to your rant… I am a working mother of 2 (3&1) and wife to a stay at home dad… we are always bashes All the time… that he should be working and I stay home… are you kidding? When we got pregnant with our first we were both working all the way up until having him.. then my husband quite his job because we desperately wanted one of us home at all times.. I stayed working because I not only made enough to support us all I also had GREAT benefits… We now have 2 childeren and he has been potty training our extremely stubborn 3yr old and he’s done 90% of the training laundry ect. he not only teaches them manners,reads to them everyday,he plays cleans does homework dishes laundry and All the cooking (except for sundays I do all the cooking cleaning ect ) I work 6 days a week 2nd shift my my mornings are dedicated to our childeren. we do what works for us and our family.. wish people weren’t so judgmental jeeesh

  7. Diane b March 27, 2016 at 11:12 am #

    It is insulting to dads when people call it babysitting. My husband is a full on partner in this family. He is on board with all of it, and the kids are Bette for it. They know that dad can make dinner, fold laundry, give baths, and anything else that is needed without my constant prodding. If I run out to do something, whether it’s a glass of wine with a friend, the gym, or groceries, it’s not a favor to me. It’s out team dynamic.

  8. Katie April 13, 2016 at 12:12 pm #

    Even the best dads have their kryptonite, and girls’ hair might be one! I recall my dad not knowing what to do besides brushing for mine…that and the difficulty of tiny button’s and large hands.

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