Monday, February 14, 2011

They Aren't Babysitters, They're Parents

More than a few times I have seen moms, new and old, commenting that they need to see if their husband's can "babysit" the children. Babysit? No, it is called parenting. It just annoys me to no end. Don't get me wrong, I do ask, out of consideration for my husband, if he has things planned before I make plans, but I don't ask him to babysit. It is a given if I am going out with my friends or doing things where kids would be a nuisance that he is going to be the parent in charge. In fact, he loves having alone time with our kids. They do fun things like go to the cinema, watch Spongebob marathons, or go rollerskating.

When I was a new mom I did have a hard time letting go though. What if he does it wrong? Well, guess what? He might not do things exactly like I would, but the kids are well cared for and he hasn't broken one yet. In fact, I have more problems with the way that he folds t-shirts than the way he takes care of the kids. I might come home to the girls dressed in VERY mismatched outfits, countless cereal bowls in the sink, and kids so sugar high that they are pinging off the walls, but it is completely worth it. I get my time. MY time.

I have heard some Stay at Home Moms comment that they are hesitant to leave their children with their partners because they feel like the children are their "job" and that their partners have a "real job". Guess what? Having small children at home is a real job. Nobody stays at their "real job" 24/7 except for stay at home parents (and yes, working mom's are also on call 24/7. Those telephone calls from school when a child is sick makes that abundantly clear). Sometimes, for a Mum's sanity they need to call in their relief pitcher. It isn't a sign of bad parenting, it is a sign of being human and needing a bit of time to yourself. Why would you ever feel guilty about that?

If your husband isn't comfortable with you leaving the children with him, maybe it is a good opportunity to find out why. Are they afraid they are going to do something wrong? Do they feel like it isn't their "job"? Do they think the child is gonna freak out the moment you leave the house? Do they feel like they don't get enough "me" time? Asking these questions and keeping the lines of communication open while parenting is so crucial. Letting your emotions bubble an fester, just accepting that they don't want to "babysit", feeling like you never get to do what you would like to do, can't be good for a relationship.

Do you call it babysitting? Does your husband/partner do their fair share? Do you feel comfortable leaving your kids for long stretches (even overnight)? I want to see what other mom's think. Am I being unreasonable thinking that calling the male parent a babysitter is a little wrong? Thoughts?

23 comments:

Mom in High Heels said...

I think you are spot on. It drives me insane when women ask their husbands to "babysit." James Bond is just as responsible for Indy as I am. I am a stay at home (and homeschooling) mom, but that doesn't mean I'm the only one who has to do anything. Yes, it makes me crazy to come home and find them eating junk food and watching horrible Kung-Fu movies (like I did last night), but Indy still had all his limbs and appendages, was clean, fed and happy and they were having a good time. And I got 3 hours to myself. Okay, part of that time I spent at the commissary, but still, I was alone.

sarah - dodeline design said...

I don't have kids yet, but this is a huge pet peeve of mind too. I know it's silly but even watching that show Teen Mom it burns me up when the mother will say, "I have to go home and babysit my kid." No, when I was a camp counselor I BABYSAT, you gave birth to a child, you are not a babysitter. My boyfriend and I are in agreement on that now, but who knows what will happen when there's actual kiddies around? :-)

mummy limited said...

This is one of my pet hates. Drives me mad. A friend once suggested we have a girls night when an England match was on TV as the dads would be more inclined to babysit. I had to bite my Tongue.
As a SAHM I feel MM is my 'job' during the week, in the day but after that it is shared.
I know mums who won't let their husbands get the kids dressed because they won't choose the right clothes.
If you want a life you have to learn to let these things go.

Foodie Mummy said...

So agree with you! A father is a parent. I enjoy going out for a few hours when Mr F. watches the girls, he has not broken them either and yes, he might not do things the same way I do but it's OK. I wrote a similar post but regarding grandparents and it could have been called, they're grandparents, not parents...

unmitigated me said...

My husband used to assume that I would be willing to be at home evenings if he had plans, without ever inquiring, It made me nuts. I did break him of that eventually. Now the kids are grown.

Isla said...

I think you are right. I think my hubbie would be... well hurt and a bit pissed off if i relagated him to the role of baby sitter not daddy...
She will happily spend the day with her dad and wave me off no issues..
Long stretches with daddy no problem i spent a long weekend in Istanbul in Nov to help my sis out with work and they had a ball actually i think it was really good for "us"...

Ms Brightside said...

One of the most infuriating and disappointing things I've discovered since becoming a parent is the number of other parents to shirk their responsibilites and their partners who allow them to. Man up, Dad is just as important as Mum.

The Broad said...

You are absolutely right!It's also worth remembering that as much as you need to get away from them -- just maybe they need to get away from you, too!

Vodka Logic said...

Word for word I could have written that post. As others have said, I think my husband would be insulted if I thought of him as a babysitter.

I have worked second or third shift our entire marriage and he has always had the bedtime chore. Had his own ritual and as you said didn't break either yet.

A must read post

kendrasue said...

I completely agree. I hate when I hear parents talk about babysitting their own kids. Drives me insane!

The wife of bold said...

I totally agree! My friends without kids can't comprehend the fact i leave all four of my kids alone with their daddy and he's willing to "let me out" WTF? We are both parents, i may well do the lions share due to him earning the pennies at the moment but he more than pulls his weight, we are a partnership and thats what parenting is all about - teamwork!

Amanda Lynn said...

My mother in law called in baysitting once when I was going to the gym and my husband had to be the parent in charge. I thought I was going to lose it.

Now, I don't like leaving my kids with my parents or my in laws for an overnight stay or anything like that but I think it is because our son has some medical issues and I feel until he gets older I want to be with him.

My husband is getting better about being alone with the kids so I can have some "me time" but he was just terrified of babies. Now that our youngest is almost a year he has a blast with them.

Granny said...

Aren't I lucky to have such a wise grandchild. Your grandfather has done his share of parenting when your mom and aunt A was growing up.
The only thing they hated was that he could only cook hot dogs for them. They survived.

Way to go.

Hugs and kisses to all

Granny

Mummy@Bod for tea said...

Having read through the other comments so far I nearly didn't post this. But I'm that Mum. The one that doesn't feel all that comfortable leaving the little one with Daddy. I'm getting better at it, I think, but I'm a control freak. I kick myself every day for it.

Kerry said...

I totally agree with you and I would say that Mr L would as well. He loves having time with Baba and they too do things that I would never allow unless poorly like today. But they will have marathon film days or play with trains for hours on end. Nothing else will be done in the house and a bomb will have gone off in it. But Baba will be fed watered and given a lot of love and attention so there is nothing wrong with it.
I have a friend who wont come out in the evening anymore as he baby is a couple of months old and she has to feed her in the evening. As her dad doesn't know what to do. It makes me want to scream at her. Go out and then he will have to do it. I think it is the best thing for dads. They can put a nappy on backwards and not get screamed at etc xx

Expat mum said...

My husband used to do things (like take them to downtown Chicago to shop for my Xmas presents) that I would never dream of doing. He was perfectly laid back about it, they loved it and never came to any harm. I have never worried about leaving them with him even tho' the first time I ventured out of the house after the oldest was born, she shat all over the place twice, he had to bath her and tells me he nearly dropped her. La la la, fingers in ears.
BTW - does that guy think he's impressing non-American women with that attitude? Sheesh.

BeautifulWreck said...

OMG! Love this post. I get sick and tired of hearing that fathers "babysit" their kids. My husband doesn't babysit - he takes care of his children, just like I do.

Emma @ Mummy Musings said...

I absolutely completely agree with you.

Dad's aren't babysitters, they're parents!

My husband is brilliant with our daughter and I don't have any problems leaving them together.

I'm going to Cybermummy in June so will be leaving them for 2 nights for the first time ever. I'm not worried at all, I'm sure they'll have a great time (I may have to sort her outfits out before I leave though!)

vegemitevix said...

Oh it drives me nuts! My ex used to baulk at having the kids when we first separated as he saw it as 'babysitting' whilst I did a variety of unmentionable things! Sigh. I always thought it was parenting not child care.

ritz said...

Absolutely agree with all these comments. I guess we're always going to naturally feel like this. We can secretly resent it and in the end speak up about it, but will we feel any different?....It's a mums life!

Muddling Along said...

This really bugs me that there is an assumption that I will pick up the childcare and can therefore be there every night whereas Mr has the freedom to come and go as he pleases

Its our equal responsibility and I'm not sure how I got stuck with being where the buck stops

Mammy Dolittle said...

I have to say my hubby is great. I don't go out that much but when I do I can totally relay on him to mind the kids. He doesn't do things exactly as I do but they are safe,fed and watered!

whiskeyforaftershave.com said...

Speaking as a Dad: very well said!