Frustrated and feeling devalued by strangers, Nick Browne addresses his future reaction to being called a ‘babysitter’ when he is alone with his kids.
There’s this notion, this little bit of language that people use when they see a dad out and about with his kids alone. What is it? It’s the idea that because there is no mother present that the dad is ‘babysitting’. Have you run into this situation before?
You’re walking through the mall, or Target, or are at the park with your kids in tow. And a stranger stops you, “Oh, your kids are so cute. How’s Daddy doing babysitting you?” Or, you’re out in public and one or all of your kids are having a meltdown.
Someone approaches, “Don’t worry kids, mommy will be back soon.”
It has happened to me. Thankfully it hasn’t happened a ton. But it has happened enough that it pisses me off to no end. I’m sorry? Did you just ask me if I was babysitting my own kids?! Walk away. Walk away now.
This isn’t something that I was planning on writing about, to be honest. But it’s long been something that annoys the hell out of me. Yesterday I read a post that is asserting the same thing that I am–and it really got me thinking about the subject again. This post hit the nail on the head and I was really glad the post was published. Dads are not babysitters. We are parents.
Is there somebody else giving me money that I am not aware of to take care of my children? That’s a big bag of nope! If someone wants to give me money, though, that’s cool. I like money.
“But Nick,” one may say, “why is it so bad to ask a dad if they are babysitting? They don’t mean anything by it.” No, just no! It doesn’t matter if they aren’t trying to be insulting or aren’t trying to insinuate that I’m less of a parent than my wife. But guess what? That’s exactly what they’re doing. I bust my ass to be the best damn dad I can be to my daughters Sophia and Maddie, and I’m damn proud to be their dad. Being a dad is my life – which is why I write about my children, and why I share insane amounts of pictures, quotes and videos of them. So, if you want to devalue my role as a father by calling me a babysitter, we’re going to have a problem.
Look, I’m not saying that I’m going to explode in your face if you call me a babysitter. But you’ll get a death stare from me and probably a few words that you’ll wish I hadn’t said. Stop perpetuating the archaic stereotype that dads are the lesser of the parents. Guess what? Parenting is typically a team sport, and our team is 50/50. So, call me a dad, a father, ask me how my day of parenting my kids is going. Just don’t call me a babysitter. You’re better than that.
Photo: Flickr/Fabíola Medeiros.
Originally appeared on Papa Brownie. Reprinted with permission.