Fathers Don’t Babysit

babysitting

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You drop your wife to Church for a Relief Society meeting. Your youngest child is at the backseat of your car crying her eyes out because she is hungry. You reach Church, your wife’s meeting did not start yet so you take your baby out of the car and start feeding her. Suddenly, one of those inquisitive sisters from Relief Society comes around to say hi with a big smile on her face and asks you if you are “babysitting” for the day.

Sounds familiar? Did you notice that when a mother is holding her baby in arms nobody seems to comment about what she is doing? Or when she feeds or changes the baby? But when a father is doing exactly the same thing there is always someone around who asks or state: “Hey John, you are babysitting today huh?” “Hey John, it seems like you really know what you are doing!” “Hey, look at John babysitting!”.

You feel to slap them across the face at that very moment, but you suddenly remember your Christian background and Jesus’s words to his Apostles when he stated “for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword”… Wait a minute, you don’t have a sword! Well, ummm”¦you know it’s a metaphor.

Anyhow, the inevitable question is: Since when a father babysits?

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When I think about the world babysitting, I usually think of a part time job done by a teeny bopper who wishes to make a few bucks in the summer so she could buy the latest phone. It also comes to my mind perhaps a friend who you desperately call when there is an emergency or you need to run some errands. In other words, the latter is doing you a favor.

So why is it that sometimes men get undue adulation for spending time with their kids and taking care of them? I don’t know if people can see how condescending and narrow minded is to indirectly hint that a man, a father isn’t capable to do a good job at parenting just because he happens to be a man and because of that, he has the need of a “charitable cookie” thrown his way in the form of a praise.

Do fathers sometimes burn food when cooking? So do mothers.

Do fathers sometimes seem unable to calm down their crying infants? So do mothers.

Do fathers sometimes feel inadequate at parenting? So do mothers!

Folks, next time you see a brother in Church walking up and down with his toddler…When you see a father cleaning the mess of cheerios his baby left..When you see a brother taking his oldest child for a walk…

Remember, he is not babysitting, he is not being forced, he is just doing what he does best: He is being a father.

 

9 thoughts on “Fathers Don’t Babysit”

  1. Amen to that post sister! Most people have good intentions and they try to praise you. When it happens to me I am grateful but often times think about the points you brought up in your post.

  2. Yes yes a million times yes. It drives me nuts when I hear someone say to men in church, “Please make arrangements to babysit your children so your wives can go to Relief Society.”

    When it’s your own kids your watching, it’s called parenting.

  3. I used to get worked up, but in my old age I’ve become more understanding that even the most egalitarian of us can fall into preconceived gender roles pretty easily.

    For example, there may be an independent, perhaps even cheeky young woman, determined not to view the world through traditional gender roles, and even makes it a point to write about it.

    Yet when that same young woman thinks about a babysitter, she may instinctively describe the babysitter as a teeny bopper who wishes to make a few bucks in the summer so she could buy the latest phone?, automatically assuming it a she?, when quite a few teeny bopper boys also babysit.

    Its pretty easy to do, even when you don’t mean anything by it. 🙂

  4. I’m so happy you wrote about this! My husband gets this comment all the time from church members and co-workers, it drives him crazy!

    Oh and Teacher the comparison you made isn’t really relevant to the post ([In my humble opinion]). She wrote about parenting roles, not equality but I do get your point and agree although I cannot even remember the last time I saw a boy babysitting!

  5. Teacher, you mean like the assumption you make about Cheeky being a young woman? Now that’s an assumption Cheeky doesn’t mind at all. 😉

  6. I’m single (joined the church as an adult so no RM tag to get the girls interested). Anyhow I think society is very messed up, a lot of fathers are missing in action and that’s why when you see some fathers doing the right thing such as caring for their child, it seems like everyone is surprised.

  7. I support this post wholeheartedly! On multiple occasions I have told the guys in our quorum that fathers do not “Babysit” their kids, rather we are equal partners with our spouses and should be able to take care of our kids at the same level as them.

    I know I love spending time with my kids and looking after them.

    Too many wives feel they cannot leave their kids with their husbands because they won’t know what to do.

    Shame on those guys for not being more involved. Their wives need to step up to have their husbands step up!

  8. D’oh! I can’t believe I broke the first rule of guy survival: “Never try to outsmart a witty woman”!

    In my defense, you have, in several posts, given clues to your youthfulness (e.g. Not remembering the revelation about the priesthood or the time before the 3 hour block, and that you watched She Ra when you were little. So even though you’re not a college-age age kid, I still think you’re very much a young woman. And a witty one at that, so I’ll cry “Uncle” and stop mansplaining before the hole I’ve gotten into gets much deeper!

  9. This is a HUGE pet peeve of mine. My husband is a stay-at-home dad, and frankly, is a better parent that I am. I think a huge reason for this trend is that the church culture frequently downplays the role of men as day-to-day fathers. They are to preside, not nurture.

    Many LDS fathers DO consider it “Babysitting”- I’ve heard them say as much. Their job is to bring in money and make decisions, anything beyond that is them stepping out of their role and just “helping the mom” with her role, like she might help him with a work assignment. It’s awful, but that’s truly how some LDS families view it.

    It simply isn’t part of the “Presiders” role to wipe butts, band-aid owies, and play taxi. Until we break down the gender roles a tad, we’ll keep seeing the role of fathers as active “Daddies” further and further belittled.

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