My Husband Does Not “Babysit” Our Children

Lauren CasperLauren Casper
Blogger at LaurenCasper.com | Mom of Two
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The past six weeks have been busy and I’ve been away from home more than usual for Created for Care, three speaking engagements, and other random things sprinkled in. I don’t leave town without my family often (only a few times a year) and I try to be home with them as much as possible. I’ve noticed over the years that folks are curious about the kids when I’m not there. “Who has the kids?” is the most common question, and the answer is always the same, “they’re home with their Daddy.”

Sometimes people look surprised with that answer and mention how nice it is that my husband can “babysit” our children. Sometimes that term is used in the question, “Is John babysitting the kids while you’re away?”

It’s an odd use of the term. I’ve noticed no one praises me for “babysitting” while my husband works or asks him while he attends an evening meeting if his wife (me) is able to babysit for him. I’m not offended by the term, but I also don’t like using it when referring to my husband.

Why? Simple. He’s not a babysitter. My husband never has been and never will be a babysitter. My husband is a father. Father and babysitter are not the same thing.

The babysitter doesn’t know exactly how my daughter likes her food cut and why we only wash her hair once a week and what her “pee-pee” dance looks like. The babysitter doesn’t know the correct order and dosages of the medications my son take every day. The babysitter doesn’t know where Mareto left his scooby doo lego set the day before and what songs to sing to Arsema before she goes to bed.

Their father does.

The babysitter doesn’t know that it’s okay to cut the tags out of Mareto’s shirts if they’re itching him, and that it’s okay if he won’t eat dinner. The babysitter doesn’t know just what to do to help Mareto’s tummy feel better when it aches and the babysitter doesn’t know the exact way Arsema likes her back scratched when she lays in bed at night.

Their father does.

I am extremely grateful for the friends we have who watch our children on occasion. They are wonderful and fun and my children consider it a treat when the babysitter comes over. But our sitters know they aren’t an equal substitute to us, the parents. We are a team, a duo in this parenting deal. My husband is an equal part of that team. 

When I leave town and the kids spend a long weekend with their dad he is not stepping into the role of babysitter – he is continuing his role of father.

I think it’s time we start speaking better of our men. I think it’s time we stop making jokes about the state of the house and kids while they are with Dad. I think it’s time we stop making Dads feel incompetent and unable in comparison to Moms.

My husband does things differently than I do, and that isn’t wrong. The mom down the street has a different routine and style of housekeeping and parenting but I don’t make jokes or belittle her for it, because it’s what works for her. So why do we treat our men as less than simply for doing things differently?

When I came home last night most of the laundry had been washed and folded (differently than I do it, but still done and wonderful!) All but a few dishes were done and John had made a plan for dinner. Our bed was made with the top comforter pulled all the way up (I usually fold it at the foot of the bed) and the sheets were washed. It wasn’t the way I typically do it, but it was just as good. The kids were happy and playing in the living room and I could tell from their sweet/fruity smell they’d had a bath the night before.

Honestly? That’s a lot better than some of the scenes John walks into after he’s been at work all day. And other days it looks a lot like that. Parenting is a tough and wonderful and rewarding job and there are many different ways to do it right. Our husband’s are more than capable of doing just as good a job as us.

Let’s stop demeaning their role of father by referring to them as babysitters when we aren’t around. And instead of being surprised when everything is fine without us for a weekend or an evening, let’s start by assuming it will be.

I’ll close with just a few of the pictures John texted me over the weekend…

smoothie

pizzanight

tireswing

(I noticed that when John shared these on Facebook he used the hashtag #dadlife … because that’s what he was doing. Simply being a dad… no, a GREAT dad!)


This post was originally posted at LaurenCasper.com on 3/7/16.

Lauren CasperAbout Lauren Casper

Lauren is a mother of two. She blogs about adoption, special needs children and more at www.LaurenCasper.com. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

View all posts by Lauren Casper here.

13 Comments on “My Husband Does Not “Babysit” Our Children”

  1. When i heard my friends say i can go to lunch/shopping if i can get Dad to be“babysitting” the children it shocked me never did i ask my spouse to babysit our kids…..what’s up with that?

  2. I love this post. I have never liked hearing people say that the dad was “babysitting” the children. I always say the same thing, my husband isn’t “babysitting” our son, he is being a father to our son. I have actually heard women sit there and say that their significant other was babysitting the children, all I can say is they got a crazy look from me when they said it. No father should be categorized as a babysitter when they are just being a great dad.

  3. Great post. I always thought it was weird when people would say to me “is your husband babysitting” when they saw me out alone. I mean, he’s watching our kids so no he’s not technically babysitting. Weird.

    1. Right?!?! It’s such a weird thing to say. It’s called “parenting!”

  4. I’m going to show this to the father of my children as an example of how he should be.

    1. Hopefully it helps, Annaloa. Does he think taking care of the kids is not his responsibility? Of course it should be.

  5. Great post & I totally agree. Even before I had kids of my own if I heard people referring to it that way I didn’t like what it inferred.

    1. Exactly. You can’t “babysit” your own kids! There’s already a name for that–parenting.

  6. Ahhhh!! I like this post. at last someone is recognizing our work. We can be great dads too, you know? Although we may not know where certain things are kept like for instance the spatula is kept in the second drawer of the kitchen cabinet. But other than that, I think we can be super cool dad!! My son calls me his hero and I am very proud of that!

    1. Justin, that is so adorable and sweet that your son calls you his hero. Glad you like this post too. Taking care of your kids is just part of raising kids. It’s not called “babysitting” when the father does it.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Melissa! Glad you liked the post. Watching the kids is just part of being a parent!

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