It Ain’t Babysitting

kandlWarning: I got a bone to pick so bear with me. I may ramble but I have limited blogging time, so word vomit you get. I haven’t had a good rant in awhile. ::cracks knuckles::

There are a few phrases that piss me off when it comes to parenting.

Sleep when the baby sleeps

Cherish every moment

But one that gets me defensive of the male folk is when dads “babysit” their kids. 

This phrase comes from both sides. I get equally irked when a dad says it about his own kids and then when other people  say it to them like “Ah man wish you could come out with us instead of babysitting.”

Fuck.That.Shit.

They are your kids and it ain’t babysitting. It took 2 parties to make that baby and it is now your shared duty. It isn’t always 50/50…that is just naive. The best quote I have heard about this is “A good marriage is having a partner who’s willing to show up with 80% when you only have 20% and who can count on you to do the same.” Parenting is hard ass work and if two parties are present, they sure as shit better be carrying part of the load.

I think we can all say gender roles are so blurred at this point, we might as well all just get on the same damn page. If you see a dad out with his kids, let’s stop assuming he is “doing mom a favor” and getting them out of the house. He might be but he may want to take his kids out because he, I dunno, loves them? Did you and your spouse discuss having the kid for mutual reasons AT ANY POINT? yeah…this should have been on the list of assumed responsibilities…..being responsible that is. Thinking of having kids? SORT THAT SHIT OUT BEFORE. Trust.

Or better yet, maybe he is a SAHD. I thought that article was pretty great to see the side of the dad. And I have talked with some of you reading this right now {I see you}. While I am sure it is an ego rub sometimes to get the comments about your awesome dadding skills, I am sure it would get to a point you just want to scream “I AM THEIR DAD. NOT A SUPER HERO.” Dads worry about the same shit as moms do. Let’s stop playing dumb.

Now for the dads who refer to yourself as “babysitting” your own kids, I assume you aren’t really reading mommy blogs so Imma just let Chris Rock handle this one…

“‘I take care of my kids.’ You’re supposed to, you dumb motherfucker! What kind of ignorant shit is that? ‘I ain’t never been to jail!’ What do you want, a cookie?! You’re not supposed to go to jail, you low-expectation-having motherfucker!”

No cookies here.

And lastly I flip it back to the working mom perspective. Maybe I get a little more feisty because when you both work, the gender roles don’t work anyway. Back to 50/50 thing, in our household we have to juggle it all together. The usual morning in the Mann house should be filmed for the definition of teamwork. K makes coffee while I hold a baby on the hip and pour milks and cut bananas. While the waffle is toasting, I get the dog in from the yard and K is loading laptops in the car. So why would it be so strange for him to take the kids to daycare over me? I think Katherine said it nicely here when she talked about Andy taking care of the girls when she travels. Telling people the father is taking care of them ALONE is like saying you walk on your hands or some shit sometimes. We all talked about this when we left our babies at home with their dads ALONE to go to Arizona. We all had a case of someone going “wow, really?” O_O. Maybe I am a little defensive here because if saying a dad is a “hero” for holding down the fort for a weekend, what does that mean for moms when they do it?  No one tells us we are heroes. I wouldn’t mind a fistbump when I am running through Food Lion with a baby on the hip and a 4 yr old holding himself looking for a bathroom. That shit sucks.

So wanna share in my bitchfest? Are you a mom tired of hearing how your husband is a hero for taking the kids for the afternoon? Are you a dad tired of people telling you you’re babysitting? Let’s flip some damn tables, shall we? 

 

 

23 Comments

  1. Oh, nothing drives me crazier than when someone says “oh, are you babysitting tonight?” when I have the kids. No, am not fucking babysitting, I am parenting. It’s what I signed up for when I decided to have kids.

    Nothing drives me battier.

    Though “you must have your hands full” when I, literally, have my hands full, with a child in each arm, going to a doctor’s appointment — that makes me a little bit crazy, too.

    Sleep when the baby sleeps & cherish every moment are cliche – but they just bounce off of me. Heck, my kids are at the age where they’re starting to eschew naps — if I sleep when they sleep, if the sun is out, that would mean careening off the side of the road, because they only ever fall asleep in a moving car. Most nights, I fall asleep while CJ is still pretending that he’s not tired.

  2. This shit is awesome. I totally agree with every bit of this. We’ve recently entered a new season of life with little dude and school, it’s full blown big boy school even for pre-K. He goes from 8 to 2:30 and while we have the option of afterschool care – dad is on pick up duty (one, we’re cheap asses and two, daddy time!!!). For us it looks a little different than it would for most people because my husband works for himself and he can pick dude up and they can go back to him working on a boat or he can do swim lessons or they can do dad/boy stuff – and how awesome is that for my kid and my husband. So as long as my husband can pick him up he does, and oh the comments we’ve gotten! “I could never trust my husband to be on time, much less handle our kid(s) for a few hours every day” Really, WTF not? This is a hot button topic for my husband too, it totally pisses him off that people think he shouldn’t be bothered with his own kid for a few hours everyday. But really, WTF not it is HIS kid too? I don’t hero him up enough because of all the shit he takes from other people, including (sometimes especially) his friends. He’s a great dad and you right the loads are not always equal, he’s traveling two or three days a week for work this entire month. But he’s not traveling today, he’s picking up our kid and still making bank and I’m totally thankful to be married to someone who’s willing to do all that and more for our family. And when I travel for work, he’s got it covered – maybe not the same way I would, but that is totally fine too. I feel very fortunate that our little guy gets the time he gets with his dad.

  3. UGH! Preach, sister!

    First, it drives me NUTS when I see commercials with “clueless dads”. “Honey, I don’t know how to use the washing machine ha ha ha”. No. My husband does laundry, cooks meals, plants flowers, grocery shops, takes the boys out just because he wants to, changes diapers, makes baby food…man, I could go on for hours. He is not more clueless than I. In fact, I think I’m more clueless than he is!

    Second, as for parenting advice, you’re right. Cherish every moment? I’m wiping shit off the back of my child’s neck HIS NECK, I’m pretty sure I’m allowed to not cherish that moment. And sleep when they sleep? First, I don’t nap well so I’m not taking a nap. And second, they go to bed at 7:30pm. It’s a tiny bit early for me to go to sleep. Mmmkay?

    And last, you’re awesome!

  4. Agree with EVERY SINGLE BIT.

    If Doug goes to the grocery store with Harry alone, the cashiers swoon over him. Other women tell him that they hope I’m thankful for him, that I realize how lucky I am to have him. If Harrison screams or throws a tantrum while the two of them are out together, he gets sympathetic looks & “gosh, poor guy!” If Harry rips the universe wide open while I’m alone with him, I get judgmental get-your-kid-under-control looks.

    The double standard makes me stabby.

  5. The use of the word babysitting is maddening. None of us are babysitting our kids. I love the Chris Rock quote- so true.

    My husband is a stay at home dad and nothing bothers me more than when we tell people (mostly women) that and they look at me with sympathy like he is pathetic and I should feel sad because I am not at home with my son. What’s even more weird is the gasp like “Wow, you let your husband stay home with your son and he likes it?” Yes, I love going to work every day and my husband loves being a stay at home dad. He’s not babysitting, he is parenting and might I add… pretty damn good at it. I don’t want your sympathy and he doesn’t want your praise. We are simply doing what works best for our family. You know why? Because we talked about it and made the decision before we had kids that it would be best if he stayed home.

    My son is completely well adjusted and by no means feels slighted to be home with dad nor does he feel like daddy is babysitting. They have an amazing relationship so much so that sometimes I am jealous but not so much so that I want to switch places and stay home. We love our family dynamic and everyone else can bite it if they disagree. By the way, most men that we tell think that it’s awesome that he stays home and wish that they could do that.

  6. Well shit this and fuck that and shit and fuck and shit. I hope you don’t fucking talk this shit in front of your kids. Must every second word be shit or fuck? Is this the only way to make your point. Fuck.

  7. Greg, are you gonna start going off on her now cause she drinks wine and moonshine? So when you become a parent you can’t swear or drink? For someone that is adopting and not yet a parent, that is good to know. I should probably call my agency and take myself and my wife off the wait list since we drop a few fucks here and there. Also, I drink Coors Light, HOW DARE I?!

  8. Love it. My sometimes-doesn’t-always-think husband tried using that phrase ONCE in the early days. He knows better now.

    I’m totally with you on the blurring of gender roles and we’re team etc etc etc. I’m an empowered woman who likes to mow the lawn and my husband cooks dinner 95% of the time. I get it. But I still reserve the right to scream for help with spiders.

  9. Oh my gosh, VIRTUAL FIST BUMPS.

    I hate that phrase so much. Clint and I are the definition of partnership. When I travel for work, he handles everything like a pro, from cooking dinner to ponytails and playing princesses. When he goes to class two times per week, the girls and I have our evening routine.

    Now do I ask my parents or his parents to invite him over for dinner or stop by when I’m travelling? Absolutely, not because he can’t do it or not because he doesn’t know how.. it’s because two kids can be exhausting, add in working full time and well… everyone deserves some help.

    And on nights he has school, I try to plan something to do so I can have some adult interaction.

    We take and pick the kids up from daycare based on what is going on that individual day. It varies all the time, sometimes I take and pick up several days in a row. Sometimes it’s an even 50/50 split.

    Oh and when I’m out at that happy hour, he doesn’t tell his buddies he’s stuck babysitting. In fact, more often than not he probably ENCOURAGED me to go out and get a break and he’s taking the kids out to the park or swimming in the blow up pool with him because he’s their dad. He actually gives me far more breaks than he takes himself.

    I didn’t mean for this to be a brag session on Clint (although he totally deserves it) I just meant to say that we have learned to make it work we pick up the slack.

  10. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I hate the babysitting line. Or when I’m out with the boys and someone says “Oh, you have the kids today?” Sometimes I have to hold myself back from saying something along this line:

    “No, I stay at home with them every day. And I will bet you money that I can go from being asleep to being awake, ready to go with 2 kids fed, changed and having peed or a diaper change before you even realize it. I bet you that I will forget fewer things in my domination of you in this event and I bet you dollars to donuts that I will not lose my cool doing it.”

    Shoot, I get out the door faster when I DON’T have my wife with me. My proudest record is when I overslept one day when Isaac was little (and still in diapers) and I woke up, got changed, brushed my teeth, woke him up, changed his clothes and diaper, grabbed a bottle and was out the door in 7 minutes. SEVEN MINUTES! Let’s see a babysitter beat that!

  11. Last week both my husband and I took time off from work to take our daughter to the doctor’s office and all the nurse kept saying was how nice it was my husband came along to help me. I don’t know why it wasn’t nice that I was along as well.

    It also always annoyed me that no one once asked my husband if he was going back to work after the birth of our children but everyone asked me.

  12. AMEN, sister!
    I work full time, my husband, A, works part time. Our kids, 3G and 5G go to daycare 3/4 days a week. We we first had kids, I was a stay-at-home-mum for about 3yrs (I lactate, A doesn’t. So it made sense), working as a casual teacher here and there when we needed extra money. When 3G weaned, I went back to work full time and A was a stay-at-home-dad for about 12months (I had higher earning power than him). So we’ve both experienced both sides of the parenting/working fence. Every now and then, when I was SAHM, A would go out and stay out for the weekend, drinking/gaming/bloke-y stuff and I’d stay home with the kids. No big deal, noone made a fuss. With my new job, I work away a few nights a month, one or 2 nights at a time. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE are throwing themselves at A, offering to help, make dinners, do the laundry, watch the kids etc. It makes me sick! He is a more than capable father, and refuses almost all help (I make extra meals to put in the freezer, just in case, as he’s a little big to liberal with the “McDinners”). He goes out for a BENDER while I parent 2 kids, and noone says a word. I go out, earning money (extra allowance for working away) and while he stays home and he’s a saint?! WTF?

    • YES the throwing out all the help for them. I mean my inlaws constantly offer help with both of us but I could see how if they only did it when I was gone? ALL THE STABS.

  13. I completely agree. If a dad won’t change diapers because “he doesn’t know how,” just learn to change a diaper. It’s not that hard. It’s gross, but not hard. I actually feel that way about all female-stereotyped jobs. You may not be an expert chef, but you can put something together for dinner.

    I find this all very frustrating as well because even though I think all of this, my emotions are jerks sometimes and tell me I’m failing as a mom when my husband is doing childcare while I do something fun.

  14. Have we (women) not ALL been in this position…what, at least once a day?! lol! Good for you for ranting about it openly…many women DON’T (and then lose their mind!). A good friend of mine once said; “Don’t ‘ask’ your husband to ‘watch’ the kids, ask him to ‘parent’ them!” SOOOO true!

  15. My husband has always referred himself as a babysitter and it has always irritated me. Irritates me even more now that we are separated and he refuses to have his own children just so I will have to pay a babysitter. Said he’s done babysitting and absolutely refuses to see that he should be very grateful that I am not one of those women who try and keep his children from him but expect him to live up to his parental obligation. Not asking him for any money at this point but if he is not going to spend time with his children I’m going to need his money to pay a real babysitter in the process they will not get to be around father. Sickens me.

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