Or the sitcom where the mom goes out for a night and finds out the dad was so incompetent he let the kids stay up way too late and eat nothing but junk food cause hey, he’s not a mom, he’s a dad. It promotes the idea that dads (AND moms) have to fit into these certain roles, each giving a certain brand of parenting (or in this case, babysitting) and that those roles can’t be interchangeable as parents or that one is inherently more important than the other.
To realize how ridiculous it sounds, turn the phrase around a couple of ways. If you happened to bump into a mom at the grocery store with her kids, would you say “Oh looks like you’re babysitting today, huh?”. No, of course you wouldn’t. If I’m at an event with my kids and not my husband, no one would say I’m “babysitting” my own children. If we are at an event together with our kids, we are “there as a family.” But if my husband is there and I’m not there, he’s “babysitting”. Sounds pretty silly, right?
I say let’s abandon that notion that dads are these bumbling buffoons when it comes to parenting and give them the credit they deserve, as parents.
So no, my husband is not “babysitting”, he is spending time with his kids, which he enjoys. While he is doing it he is probably making them a better meal than I would (he’s a far better cook than me), changing a bunch of diapers, drawing with our daughter, finding a movie to watch with our son, helping with homework and doing laundry. He is not “babysitting,” he is parenting, and he’s pretty darn good at it.
Although barred from the obvious parenting jobs like actually giving birth and breastfeeding, dads can kiss owies, have tea parties, remember school snack, wipe butts and noses, soothe little ones to sleep, and parent with the best of them. This Father’s Day let’s all give credit to the dads that are there doing an awesome job.
This post originally appeared at the author’s blog, Mamatoga, published with permission.