There is someone I work with who sometimes leaves work early to ‘babysit’ his children. I get upset at him every time and remind him that you can’t babysit your own children!!! He jokes about it….we joke about it. But I do truly believe that he isn’t merely ‘babysitting’. He is parenting!!! I believe that he is living up to the stereotype that Dads are often portrayed as. I don’t really know why particularly it frustrates me every time he says it…it just does. It could be that there is something about the fact that babysitting doesn’t sound very permanent, and I feel like your children should be pretty damn permanent in your life. I am also pretty sure that his working wife doesn’t “babysit” whilst he is late home from work. Which also leads me to believe, it is incredibly sexist!
The other day, I discovered that there is actually a kind of ‘movement’ called “Dad’s don’t babysit”, I read about it on the BBC here. Many fathers (particularly ‘stay-at-home’ dads) are upset at what people (both men and women) say to Dads…such as:
“Aww, it’s so nice of you to babysit and give mom a break.”
“I guess you got stuck with the kids today.”
“You’ve got a good helper here!”
I would be frustrated and upset if anyone said these kinds of things to Chris (or to me). I truly believe that Chris will be an equal part to this parenting business. I am sure there will be days that it won’t be equal…I am also sure there will be some things he will be good at, and others I will be good at, but in balance it will be equal overall.
I know many of my male friends and family who parent and don’t just “babysit”….so how have we ended up like this in society? Why can’t we shake it off? It just makes me a bit sad.
BTW – I discovered that there is a T-shirt you can buy that has the slogan “Dads don’t babysit, they parent” – now available in both gender cuts!