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He’s Not Babysitting, He’s Parenting.

dad

“Oh my gosh! You’re out! Who is with the baby?”

“That’s so great that your husband will babysit!”

“Oh goodness, what does he DO when he’s home with her?”

These are all phrases that I have heard countless times since becoming a parent.  They never cease to amaze or confuse me.  My husband doesn’t babysit his child, he is a father to her.  

Every marriage has it’s own structure. It’s own, “division of labor”, if you will. For us, since we both work, the child care duty is a fairly even split.  This has required me to sing “Let it Go” on more than one occasion, but ultimately my husband is a 100% capable father.

Well, maybe with the exception of baby fashion.

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Ashton Kutcher has grabbed headlines for his frustration of the lack of changing tables in men’s restrooms.  And recently, my husband had an instance where he was SO THANKFUL for a changing table in the men’s room.  He took our daughter to the doctor when she was sick, and when he arrived…well, I think we’ve all been there with one of THOSE diapers, so I’ll spare you the details.

When he called me at work to fill me in on the ordeal one of the first questions out of my mouth was, “Oh my gosh. Was there a changing table for you?”

And then it came: that gut check that said, “why did I even have to ask that?”  Because OF COURSE there should be a changing table in the men’s room.

I think most would agree that family structures are getting more and more diverse.  We have stay at home moms and dads, families where both parents work, families with two mommies or two daddies…shouldn’t we all have the opportunity to take care of our children?  Shouldn’t we have the expectation that a man is just as likely as a woman to be changing a baby in public?

Kutcher elaborated on his original post and said:

“The source of my ire is solely directed upon the businesses that consciously decide to install changing tables in women’s restrooms, but not in the men’s restrooms (and have no Family restrooms, either). They’re fine with young children visiting their establishments, but if they soil themselves, there better be a woman around to take care of it.”

Society is moving away from child care being solely “women’s work”. If we are going to raise our daughters with the (awesome) Like A Girl mentality, shouldn’t we also show our daughters and sons that dad is just as capable of taking care of them?  Having changing stations in women’s restrooms, but not in the men’s, essentially says, “Only a woman can do this.”

And if that’s not crazy, I don’t know what is.

As moms, I think it’s sometimes hard to let go of “our way” and just let dad be dad.  I don’t know that this specifically solves the changing table issue at hand, but it has to be a step in the right direction.

Does my husband handle bath time the exact way that I would?  Nope. But the important thing is that he does it nearly every night.  All by himself.  Even though this requires me to ignore exclamations like “WHOA! Why did you do that?”

Let’s give our husbands the opportunity to be caretakers. Let’s have high expectations for them as parents. Let’s usher in a mentality of equal opportunity parenting.

Take a deep breath, and let dad be dad.  He’s a father, not a babysitter, after all.

What do you have to “let go” and let your husband handle when it comes to caring for your kiddos? What can we as moms be doing to encourage public places to be more “dad friendly”?

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11 Responses to He’s Not Babysitting, He’s Parenting.

  1. Avatar
    Mina Morgan March 28, 2015 at 2:29 pm #

    So true!!! Thank you for sharing! My husband is an incredible parent even if he doesn’t always parent the way I would choose. He bathes our kids every evening and gets them ready to go out to dinner or for bed many times if I’m not home from work and not because he has to, because he wants to equally care for our children. He often laughs off or ignores my wishes to pull back my two year old’s hair out of her eyes or put lotion on them after bath. But I have learned that those are more my needs and that their basic needs are being met just fine so I just “Let it go”!

    • Kelly Guinn
      Kelly Guinn March 28, 2015 at 2:54 pm #

      Ha – we have the same lotion struggle in this house! It probably happens half the time – so I’ll count that as a win 🙂

  2. Avatar
    Patty Rankin March 30, 2015 at 1:56 pm #

    Kelly,
    OH MY WORD! BRAVO!!! This is one of my soap box issues and it irks me beyond belief when women don’t let their husband’s do it the way it works for them and keeping their child happy. His way isn’t the wrong way just b/c it’s not done our way. I love this statement that you made

    “Let’s give our husbands the opportunity to be caretakers. Let’s have high expectations for them as parents. Let’s usher in a mentality of equal opportunity parenting. Take a deep breath, and let dad be dad. He’s a father, not a babysitter, after all.”

    Thank you for writing this post, and keeping it real. If we are being honest, we as women create this scenario and tension and unmet expectations on our own simply b/c we don’t want to “let go!” I say, “Stop complaining about no help, or not being able to go out, etc. if you aren’t willing to let your husband be a dad.” The end.

    Great post.

    • Kelly Guinn
      Kelly Guinn April 7, 2015 at 8:10 am #

      Thanks, Patty!

  3. Avatar
    Ali A April 16, 2015 at 10:13 am #

    I’m not a parent, but it’s always been a pet peeve of mine to hear men say they’re “babysitting” their own kid. That…is not the correct term. Times are so different now than they were ‘back in the day,’ and fathers play such a huge role in their kids everyday lives. Not that they didn’t years ago, but it was just different. Now you have stay-at-home dads and men who are really hands-on and take care of it all. Great post!

  4. Avatar
    Michele April 16, 2015 at 11:25 am #

    Hopefully all the attention from Ashton Kutcher will make some businesses aware that they need to make changes. It is unfortunate that it takes a celebrity to get awareness. Kudos to you and your husband for sharing parenting duties!

  5. Avatar
    Mama Carmody April 18, 2015 at 2:22 pm #

    That is one phrase that really gets my goat too…when I hear a dad say that he has to babysit his kids. I want to yell at him, “You can’t babysit your own children! They are yours to raise.” Yes, dad’s might do it different but grandparents probably do it different too. All that matters is that the children are being loved and taken care of. Let dad be dad!

  6. Avatar
    Renee May 14, 2015 at 10:04 am #

    The whole babysitting thing is my husbands pet peeve. He will tell anyone that says it to him that he’s their father, not their babysitter.

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