Do not call it babysitting! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 24 Old 03-18-2002, 07:50 PM
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My dh has repeatedly had to remind the women in his life (mil, mom, me,etc.) Not to call his time with his dds as BABYSITTING.

Now - I know this really bugs him - and I have stopped referring it as that - but I was wondering if any other dads have this problem?

Do you care what it is called? Does it bug you that you are seen to the world as the "other" parent instead of one of THE main care providers?

What are your thoughts?
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#2 of 24 Old 03-18-2002, 08:32 PM
 
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Speaking for my dh, who doesn't come here, he gets really mad if anyone refers to his parenting as babysitting. He vents to me though, he's too polite to say much to anyone else - but I do! I've gone out a couple of evenings recently alone and dd has asked me who would be babysitting. I say no-one. I'm just waiting for her to tell someone that mommy goes out and she doesn't have a sitter (she's 7)!!

Edited to add: I do know some fathers who do babysit, they are that uninvolved with their kids!
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#3 of 24 Old 03-18-2002, 08:37 PM
 
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This drives my Michael nuts. He also hates when people assume he cannot comfort Eli [you know, baby cries, family member says, "oh, he wants mommy"].

We do our best to parent equally, and he works hard at it although he works full-time away and I work part-time from
home. I have mounds and mounds of respect for him!!!!

Over time people have stopped making these comments as they have noticed how great a relationship Mike and Eli have. Now, instead, they tell me- you are so lucky- Mike is such a great dad. And I get bothered cause I think, yes, but Mike and Eli are lucky too!
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#4 of 24 Old 03-18-2002, 09:16 PM
 
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Actually this drives me nuts!!! My husbamd calls it "babysitting" As in "Why don't you take some time for yourself and I'll babysit."
He really is an awesome Dad but it really "frosts my fanny" when he refers to his time with the kiddos as babysitting!!!
Ok rant over...back to your regularly scheduled thread..

peggy
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#5 of 24 Old 03-19-2002, 12:05 AM
 
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Oh it really pisses me off when people say men babysit their kids. : :mad: Luckily people know me enough to never say this to me. George (DH) wouldn't dream of saying this. I'd have to kick his butt.
I can't stand those Sears commercials when the Mom goes to the big sale and the Dad is home with the kid in the highchair basically ignoring the kid while the kid beams him off the head with utensils. Which oddly enough is exactly what I want to do to the Tv when I see that stupid commercial.
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#6 of 24 Old 03-19-2002, 12:36 PM
 
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The Hub rants everytime he sees that one, too! Did you know that all men are congenitally incapable in the area of childcare? Who knew! Apparently, if you have a penis, you cannot apply a diaper to a baby's ass, cannot soothe a grumpy child, are utterly incompetant to feed/clothe/bathe/play with a toddler. Oh, this makes me insane. And our great wealth of childcare knowledge comes NOT from the immense amount of research that we've done, but simply from the ownership of a uterus.

I see this in a thousand commercials, on every sitcom/movie that involves a man and a kid, and Hub and I rant at each other every time.

Of course fathers abdicate their rights and responsibilities so easily -- they're told constantly how irrelevant they are, how bumbling and foolish, how easily replacable.

We talk a lot about how Cosmo and Barbie and their ilk undermine women's self-esteem and body image. I think men are also under a constant barrage of media telling them that they can't be as effective a parent as a woman, and it's got to feel just as horrible to them as it does to us.

I'd love to see a new men's movement (or possibly one of the existing ones) take a stand about how fathers are portrayed. We'd never stand for AA's being shown as shuffling, lazy, and stupid as they once routinely were. Never put up with images of cheap, stingy Jews or drunken NA's. Why do we put up with this?

oops. didn't mean to go off like this. that's what happens when Cub's asleep, there's no one to force me into succinct-ness!

Mamaste,
(and Papaste!)

Pallas
the mama in me honors the papa in you!
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#7 of 24 Old 03-24-2002, 06:02 AM
 
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Ohhh, yes, I HATE it when people assume like that! And since dh & I work seperate shifts to avoid day care we get it alot.
Dh hates the term even when it's not applied to him~ if my mom or dd's godfather 'has' her, it's not babysitting! He says it makes it sound like the baby is parked somewhere! God I love that man!
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#8 of 24 Old 04-08-2002, 03:52 PM
 
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My midwives were the first to point out to DH that fathers DO NOT babysit their own children! We are preparing to exchange roles, with DH staying at home for the most part (working PT for benefits) and me running my own business to support us, for all practical purposes. I'm anxious to see how he handles the transition ~ he seems to think I have it so easy! Anyway, I had to drum it into him that he's not babysitting - he's being a Daddy!
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#9 of 24 Old 04-09-2002, 12:00 AM
 
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Your dh is not alone! My dh gets really aggravated people refer to him babysitting his children.
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#10 of 24 Old 04-09-2002, 01:37 PM
 
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babysitter
  1. A person engaged to care for one or more children in the temporary absence of parents or guardians.
  2. A person who cares for or watches over someone or something that needs attention or guidance.
According to definition 1 fathers are not babysitters. According to definition 2 all parents are babysitters. And to make things more confusing let's look at the term parent.

parent
  1. One who begets, gives birth to, or nurtures and raises a child; a father or mother.
  2. An ancestor; a progenitor.
  3. An organism that produces or generates offspring.
  4. A guardian; a protector.
  5. A parent company.
  6. A source or cause; an origin: Despair is the parent of rebellion.
I am only concerned with definition 1 and 4. According to definition 1 mothers and fathers are parents (duh!). According to definition 4 anyone who watched our children in a guardian role (read: babysitting) is a parent.

I guess what I am getting at is why should it matter what it's called? Mothers and Fathers take care of their children with devotion and uncompromising love. Whether we are babysitting, parenting, or just having fun, we are all parents regardless of other people's ignorant remarks.
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#11 of 24 Old 04-09-2002, 03:34 PM
 
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Fatherdove, I think it DOES matter. In general people think of a babysitter as a person caring for a child who is not the childs usual caregiver. Someone who is paid to care for the child, or someone who is temporary. Someone who is not the child's parent.

When dads say they are babysitting their kids it sounds like they think they are doing their wives a big favor or something. Or that they don't think of caring for their own children as a primary part of their lives.
Moms never say they are "babysitting" when dad isn't home!
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#12 of 24 Old 04-09-2002, 03:45 PM
 
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I agree with Asha. Although it IS just a word, the meaning and connotation behind it as applied to fathers caring for their own children seems to detract from this activity being a normal part of fatherhood itself. To clarify, fathers care for their children, with or without the mother present, and this is not babysitting, it is a normal part of being a father. I also agree that when men claim they are babysitting, it IS as if they are doing some special favor for which their wives are obligated to them. Just MHO.
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#13 of 24 Old 04-09-2002, 04:29 PM
 
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I agree with you both, asha and paula_bear, that people make a clear distinction between parental duties and babysitting. And as a father I would never refer to taking care of my children as babysitting. However, I disagree that it should matter to either parent. Strangers, and those who are just strange(!), have their own opinions and viewpoints. What they say about me or my family is unimportant, in my opinion. I love my family with all my heart and that is the most important thing; not what people are saying.

Now I will admit that if a father uses the term "babysitting" in regards to his duty as a parent it could be pointing to other issues. However, for someone to use the term while speaking about a father's duties is just a result of their ignorance (or sexism). Do they realize the term is, to parents, incorrect? Afterall, it is technically correct.

Instead of getting angry and frustrated with their comments I prefer to subtly suggest to them that my responsibility to my family is no chore but rather a privilege and honor that I savor. Afterall, getting bent out-of-shape about it just wastes my energy.

To put yet another twist on this (I just love those twists!): if you have two children and the eldest is responsible for caring for the youngest, would you call that babysitting? Or is s/he just fulfilling their sibling obligation to the family? Does it matter whether or not you pay the eldest child? And if it is babysitting, how does it differ than a mother or father caring for the child?
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#14 of 24 Old 04-09-2002, 04:54 PM
 
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Good points, fatherdove. I'm not concerned w/ other people calling my husband a babysitter, but rather with his own perception of himself. He realized right away that this term was inaccurate and stopped using it.
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#15 of 24 Old 04-19-2002, 04:22 PM
 
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I say that my husband babysits our son every Weds night while I'm in school. I guess it doesn't bother but I've never asked. We, however, do not parent equally. He is there in a baby sitter capacity, mostly. He holds Christopher while I use the bathroom or throw in laundry or other short stints of time. He doesn't offer to take him, he has to be asked. I am the primary caregiver despite the fact that I work full time (just like he does) and I go to school. My husband can't soothe our son at all. He must have me or he will just cry his head off. So I feel justified calling my husband a sitter.
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#16 of 24 Old 04-19-2002, 07:05 PM
 
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Oh my word -- *I* would be annoyed if anyone referred to my husband takeing care of the kids as "babysitting" , for the reasons that Asha stated.
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#17 of 24 Old 04-19-2002, 09:58 PM
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There are some parents out there who are clueless at first - but they can learn - but it takes practice - Letting both of you have some time to be the one "in charge" is important - Babies do not come with manuals after all - and you are the ones setting the rules for your family - There really is no "right" way to do things.

I have heard a lot of my MIL and mom's friends complain that they had it so much more difficult because their husbands were not involved like today's men are - but did these women allow the men to learn? Or did they just allow them to play with their kids on occasion while taking over every other duty.

It is through parenting that we learn to parent after all.
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#18 of 24 Old 04-20-2002, 12:04 AM
 
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Pallas-all of your very funny, sarcastic comments about how men can never be decent caretakers of children were basically repeated on another thread at this very site today, but very seriously. As in, "a mother's role is so much more important. And mother's have this magical instinctual way of caring for children that men can never have b/c they can't breastfeed, blah blah blah." Glad to see I'm not the only one this really annoys.

And while we're on the subject of things that annoy me-how about when dad is out alone in public with hs kid, and people stop him and say "ohhh, that's so cute. You're such a great dad taking your baby to the grocery store." WTF??? Noone ever says anything like that to me when I'm running errands with dd.
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#19 of 24 Old 04-20-2002, 12:28 AM
 
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Are you serious? Not having read that post yet, I'll offer a possible interpretation (talkin' outcherass as a fine art, this).

It's true that mothers are more likely to have that special bond with their children, especially when they are small. This has a little to do with biology and a lot to do with sociology, imo. It's true, it's easier for a baby-wearing, co-sleeping, breastfeeding mother to deeply attach with their kid. Does this mean that mothers who don't share sleep must be more distant? Does it mean that ff moms cannot bond properly? Does it mean that fathers can never know the pull of the eternal umbilical?

Of course not. It just means that female AP parents have an easier time of it.

Every time we assume that Dad can't diaper, that he can't pat a butt, or give a bath, or whatever, we feed into a stereotype that both deprives him of that bond and adds to the pressure the mother feels. Ironically, it's often a self-induced situation and a self-fulfilling prophecy for both parents.

Anyway, is it possible that the post to which you referred meant that mothers are MORE LIKELY to be the primary nurturing parent, not that they're the only one's capable? Those are two very different statements.

And it makes me insane when people fuss over things like that. If the Hub sews on a button, if I add oil to the car, we're treated like savants. Whatever.

Mamaste,

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#20 of 24 Old 04-20-2002, 10:03 PM
 
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OMG!! This is one of my biggest pet peeves!!

Neither my dh nor I had ever been parents before... we were BOTH learning by doing - and flying by the seat of our pants I might add

we each of us - both of us - learned to do things OUR own individual way... diaper, comfort, bath, amuse, play, discipline, feed, dress... by tial and error... by doing what felt right, by reading, by (gasp) listening to our own parents... and whose to say I'm the "better" parent just b/c I'm the mom?? In a lot of ways I think DH is the better parent! Yeah I can nurse but you know what? he still sooths a boo boo better than me b/c he's just a way more sympathetic parent then I am...

anyway just saying I hate the term babysitter when refering to dads


Quote:
Originally posted by Pallas
Every time we assume that Dad can't diaper, that he can't pat a butt, or give a bath, or whatever, we feed into a stereotype that both deprives him of that bond and adds to the pressure the mother feels. Ironically, it's often a self-induced situation and a self-fulfilling prophecy for both parents.
bingo!

I'm Andrea - I have three boys - 12 year old twins & an 11 year old

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#21 of 24 Old 04-20-2002, 10:10 PM
 
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Well said Pallas.
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#22 of 24 Old 04-21-2002, 02:48 AM
 
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Amymama,

I think I was a part of the thread you are referring to, but you have kind of taken your "quote" out of context.

Pallas, the thread was started by a woman who knew someone whose ex-husband wanted overnight visits with their child, age three. The child cosleeps with his mama & nurses at night, & most posters thought it was wrong for the father to try to force overnight visits before the CHILD was ready.

I hope everyone agrees that this would be wrong.

I also cannot stand when fathers are considered to be "babysitting." And I cannot STAND that Sears commercial!!

Hope no one minds me butting in here!

Love, Jenny
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#23 of 24 Old 04-21-2002, 03:31 PM
 
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actually I think the majority of the posters felt that the father deserved the visits and that it would not be detrimental to the nursing relationship


I'm Andrea - I have three boys - 12 year old twins & an 11 year old

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#24 of 24 Old 04-21-2002, 06:12 PM
 
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Thank you for bringing this up. It is my pet peeve.

They are parenting not babysitting.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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