I'm A Dad, Not A Babysitter

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Being a dad is a completely different beast than being a mom. If someone sees a mom with her kids at a grocery store, nobody bats an eyelid.

I cannot even tell you how many times I have been asked if I was babysitting with my own kids. The first time, I was taken aback, got defensive and told them it was called fathering. I have since tried to come up with more clever responses and see what kind of reaction I can get. One of my favorites is telling them that my mommy tells me I’m not allowed to babysit.

Why is there such a double standard when it comes to dads being alone with their kids doing normal, everyday actions? In 2016, it shouldn’t be OK for these women to subject dads to this demeaning type of behavior.

I was on the Metro coming home from work yesterday, and there was a young dad with his son that was about 1.5 years old. Like many toddlers he tried to throw his bottle, and it kind of fell straight down and landed right way up, almost perfectly. The dad picked it up and gave it back to his son. An older woman walked up to him and told him that there are so many germs on the floor, and he shouldn’t have given the bottle back without sanitizing it, and that his mom wouldn’t have allowed it.

The young dad looked almost defeated as he took the bottle away, looking for something to clean it with, and I just couldn’t sit back and watch. I said to him loud enough for the woman to hear that the nipple was nowhere near the ground, and that he looks like a caring dad, and to enjoy those moments alone with his son because they don’t come nearly often enough. I got the dirtiest of looks from that lady, and I loved every second of it. Once she left, I told him that there isn’t anything a mom can do that a dad can’t and to keep up the good work.

Dads are so often known as the mean and tough guy who is clueless around the kids and is constantly telling them to go as their mother, but this isn’t the ‘50s anymore. Stay-at-home dads are becoming a lot more prevalent, with moms being the breadwinner or just to avoid the ridiculous cost of daycare. I look forward to my alone time with the kids and taking at least one of them with me while running errands on the weekend. It is our own special time together, and they know it is usually capped off with a treat that we keep a secret from Mom and their sibling. My wife has gone away for weekends before, and believe it or not, she came home to a clean house and the kids still in one piece!

We may be the goofy parent, the stricter parent or the fun parent depending on the time, but there is no reason that both parents can’t fill each of those roles at different times. My wife and I try our best to co-parent to take the stress off of each other and get some well-deserved alone time every so often and not have to worry about the kids or how long the kids have been alone with the other parent. My wife knows that if I’m getting my daughter up and dressed that she may not have on a cute outfit, and her hair will be brushed but not in braids or anything like that, and we are completely OK with that. I cook nearly every night, used to do all of the grocery shopping, finish and fold laundry, iron and have even made the bed a few times without being asked.