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“Hi Hun, come over for coffee. Let the Dad babysit the kids today”
A perfect sentence, right? But does it convey the right thing? What are we implying? I tell you what’s wrong with this sentence,
No, don’t shoot me yet. It’s not because I am hinting that a man should not take care of his baby, so you can have some down time or “me time”. I am saying, dad is not filling up for you when the child is under his care, he is not helping, he is parenting, that’s all.
I am a stay at home mother and there is a lot of time that I get to spend with my little one. Obviously, I am in sync with all her needs, wants and dreams. I have personally witnessed all her milestones and I have washed her bum more times than anyone else in the family. But no one will call me a babysitter. It is assumed that I am a natural, hands-on mother. I am a parent to my child. But so is my husband. He is the FATHER of my child, a hands-on dad, a parent and not a babysitter. And no, I have not made him a great father by giving him the opportunity to look after our child, it’s him. It’s his choice. It’s his instinct too to parent.
To prove my point, let me define babysitter for you.
verb (used without object), baby-sat, baby-sitting.
1.to take charge of a child while the parents are temporarily away.
Now you know what I am trying to convey?
The moment you ask your partner to babysit your child, you are projecting that you don’t believe he is a parent. He is a mere helper who helps with the child, while you are away, and to any parent, that’s demeaning.
Yes, I am aware that there are many dads who are not connected with their child. They do not spend enough time with their children and they are terribly preoccupied. But, I am also aware that there are some Moms like that too. As a thumb rule, we cannot make a statement that reflects that dads are any less of a parent let alone, a babysitter.
Fatherhood is different from motherhood. It’s more free-spirited, beyond our rule book of broccoli for lunch, beyond our sense of timing and hygiene, I give you that, but it’s this difference in the way they act and play with their children that bring up a unique perspective, fun, and joy in the life of your child. Isn’t it?
“Wow! Your husband is feeding the baby tonight? Lucky girl!”
Heard that one? That’s wrong too. If a Dad does what a parent is supposed to do, it is also not a reason either to put them on pedestal. For example, for the first 2 months of my child’s arrival in our life, my husband cleaned the baby, changed diapers and I breastfed. We took turns sleeping and were both equally exhausted too. My friends would tell me, “What, your husband changes the diaper at night? Poor thing, but he goes to work the next day, right? And I would grin and be grateful but also think, that yes, he goes to work the next day, but I work too- to keep the baby alive. Which means, I need to be physicaly, mentally and emotionally at work too, at home, raising our baby. So, I think, he is a great father to realize his duties and multitask but that’s what is expected from a partner, isn’t it? It would be nice to live in a world where men didn’t get put up on a pedestal for “helping” take care of their children. It would be nice to live in a world where men took care of their children and it wasn’t considered exceptionally exceptional.