Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Babysitting vs. Parenting

Last week in my bookclub, we started talking about husbands and parenting.  A couple of us admitted we were really put off when someone said "My husband is babysitting our kids tonight."  In my opinion, husbands don't babysit their own children.  It's called being a parent; taking care of your own kids, with your spouse or in his/her absence.  When did it happen that dads got out of "parenting" and got the job of "babysitting"?  And when did moms and wives start accepting this as ok?

I talked before about how many people asked me "Who is going to take care of your kids?" when they found out I was going on an 11 day vacation to Hawaii with my BFF.  My typical answer was, "I have a husband who happens to be the parent of our three boys.  Who do you think is going to take care of our kids?"  My husband found himself being a little offended by this question, too.  He took it as an implied message that he was unwilling and incapable of being the primary caretaker in my absence.  He's a parent.  Not a babysitter.

I wonder, in those families where dad (or mom, in the case of a "role reversal") has no solo parenting experience, what would happen in an emergency where mom is no longer in the picture, either temporarily or permanently?  How difficult it would be for the dad and kids when dad has no experience doing the solo parenting thing and is now being forced into it under a stressful situation.  While nothing can prepare a parent for the unexpected and it would be difficult no matter what, I do take comfort in knowing my husband has some good solid experience over the years of being the primary caretaker for extended periods of time without me as backup.  He's a parent.  Not a babysitter.

22 comments:

  1. BRAVO on this post!
    I do not even consider myself a babysitter...we are the parents...I am still envious of your 11 day hawaiian vacation!

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  2. Hear hear.

    I'm going away this weekend and a friend asked me who was looking after the kids. I just laughed and said "Who do you think?"

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  3. what a great post! last time i thought about it i remember it took 2 to create a child it takes 2 main parents to raise it and that includes being with the kids when when is not there.. thanks for stopping by and my blog... it's no wonder cyberbulling is getting so out of hand look at what you've written about "who is watching?" come on parents need to just step up to the plate, i mean if you want to have children, take the full responsibility! they are not dolls they have human with flesh, blood, and hearts! hope you have a wonderful trip! i'm a little jealous! enjoy the sun!
    shelley :)
    http://iamstillstandingafterallthistime.blogspot.com
    http://theplaygroundprincess.blogspot.com

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  4. With Youngest's diet issues, I'm afraid I have fallen into the "it's just easier" if I handle it - shame, shame, I know. But now that he's on the verge of 4, things are getting a whole lot better.

    However, if I got hit by a bus today, I'm pretty sure Hubs would be calling our dietitian to find out how to feed PKU kiddo.

    I'll be better, I promise!!

    And no, the term babysitting is never used in conjunction with Hubs parenting the boys. I imagine he would find it pretty belittling.

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  5. thank goodness my hubs is smarter, a better cook, and spends as much time with the kids as he can. it definitely takes both of us, hands on, full time.

    when i am out of town, life, surprisingly, goes on.

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  6. Absolutely, 100% agree. I hate when people say that. It offends my husband too.

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  7. My husband is a wonderful parent too. It is great to be able to really share in the parenting duties. He also hates the term babysitting for dads. I really think that this generation of dads is the best yet. There are more stay at home dads, attentive dads, and nurturing dads than ever before. :)

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  8. Amen! Seriously. So often during a given week, my husband and I have to split our parenting because he's out of town, or I have other commitments outside the house. Never have we checked with the other to see if we were free to babysit our children. We parent them, and last I checked, we didn't make $10 an hour for doing so!

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  9. I have a few things for you on my blog :o)

    http://theredheadriter.blogspot.com

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  10. I have a few things for you on my blog :o)

    http://theredheadriter.blogspot.com

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  11. GREAT POST! LOVE IT!
    Congrats on your recent blog awards.

    Tonya
    www.tuesdaysattonyas.blogspot.com

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  12. Great post! The first time I went away for a weekend someone asked me, "who's watching the baby" I said her father, who else. It amazes me that people do not give dads enough credit!

    Love your blog:)

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  13. I love this post! Great read!

    http://harlemshaterade.blogspot.com

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  14. (just had to shake my head after 10 minutes to let go of the image of me on a beach in Hawaii so that I could move on and type this....)
    Great post! I could have written the same thing. The boys may prefer it if I was not gone on an occasional overnight for work or family obligations but they do get fed, get their clothes washed, homework checked and driven to their ball games if I'm not there.

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  15. stopping by visiting all the SSS participants hope your having a wonderful day!

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  16. That has always been a huge pet peeve of mine as well. Goodness. I thought we had achieved more equality.

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  17. Here from BPOTW! :)

    Great post. My father took care of us a lot growing up because my mother was working in the evenings or taking classes. We didn't see him as a babysiter - he was dad. I'm not sure when that dynamic changed in society.

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  18. I am TOTALLY with you on this one.

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  19. You have hit on one of my biggest petpeeves....Dad is babysitting. No, he's parenting! Sheesh, how stupid.

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  20. It's a shame so many moms don't give the dads the credit they deserve. They are parent, too, after all.

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