It seems that whenever I manage to sneak away, sans children, my grandma randomly calls looking for me. After Husband fills her in on my whereabouts, without fail she paraphrases back, “Oh, so you’re babysitting.”
Bless her heart, she doesn’t know what she doesn’t know. Husband’s feelings aren’t exactly hurt, but the comment always garners an eye roll and a sigh as it rolls off his back.
Friends, Daddies don’t babysit.
Gone are the days of Mad-Men Fathers who await news of the birth of their offspring from the office, the easy chair, or the tavern. There’s a new generation of fathers co-raising kids these days…
Ours are the daddies who grip laboring hands, catch newborns, and cut cords; then retire not to their warm beds at home, but sterile, too-short pull-out benches for the duration of the postpartum hospital stay.
They do not warm the bench during the child-rearing season, but change diapers, wake at midnight, clean up vomit, and fix bottles. They are tummy-on-the-floor assembling Legos, playing dollies, singing songs, and kissing boo-boos.
cheerfully willingly forfeit their 50% 30% of the mattress for the sake of co-sleeping, and often wake with a foot in the face or groin as thanks.
I’m not trying to pick on my grandmother’s generation, but this attitude remains pervasive in the media today, and I’ll not stand idly by while good dads are stereotyped to the likes of Al Bundy or Homer Simpson. Let’s give this generation of upstanding equal partners the thanks they deserve for pouring their lives out– both on the home-front AND in the workforce– working in tandem with their spouses to rock this parenting gig.
As for our home, it’s true that Mom is home with the kidets the bulk of the time: Husband spends much of each day away in order to provide for us– but that CERTAINLY does not make him absentee in any sense of the word. He encourages me to sleep in until the very last second every single morning, shushing our boisterous brood away from the master bedroom and fixing them a hot breakfast before departing to work, so this weary homeschoolin’ mama can claim a few more minutes of blessed shut eye.
On the rare occasion that I do slip away for respite, sans critters; he mans the helm solo with skill and finesse. And why not? They are, afterall, his kids, too. To dismiss his active parental role to that of a temporary stand-in, hired help as it were, is unwarranted and offensive. He’s a daddy, not a baby-sitter.
*** disclaimer: some modern men are jerks, and some mid-century dads rocked… this is merely a cultural observation of the positive shift I’ve noted in recent years; a generality.