Daddy Is Babysitting Tonight

I found a great rebuttal to a post on another site regarding a father being a babysitter. I used to get asked that kind of question while I was with my kids all the time. Daddy day? When is mommy coming home? Babysitting today? I usually cut folks off pretty quickly when I told them that fathers don’t babysit.

My daughter and I back in 2005

My daughter and I back in 2005



Ten reasons why saying a parent is inept at childcare says more about the marriage than the parent.

“This man is a father – his children’s legal guardian for flip’s sake.  He. Is. Not. Babysitting. But a lot of the time, it feels like he might as well be.”

This is the intro by a writer/dancer named Keesha in her ten reasons why fathers CAN be referred to as babysitters. The blog post appears on Scary Mommy, the website from Confessions of a Scary Mommy: An Honest and Irreverent Look at Motherhood, a 2012 best-selling collection of essays by Jill Smokler.

The list, meant to find humor in domestic discord, is based on specific type of husband, who works long hours away from home and is otherwise so uninvolved at home that he doesn’t even know where the diapers are. This is an endangered male, a grotesque more than a stereotype, and as the commenters make clear, this type of domestic discord usually ends with divorce. The generalizations are brutal—for men and women, for the at-home parent and the at-work parent—so we crafted a point-by-point response to refute some claims and redress others.

1. It’s a business arrangement. From sex to this-for-that night outs, taking a night out for yourself makes this type of spouse feel like “you owe him for his services” of being on kid duty. That sucks. It is not a business arrangement, it’s a marriage. If you respect him, you’ll know what to do next time he wants to go out with his friends. Say, “Have fun.” And if he acts or says things to make you feel indebted, tell him so. Or wait and tell the lawyers.

2. You feel like you’re overindulging. Is it worth going out, given the business arrangement outlined above? If you feel guilty taking time for yourself, then something is wrong with your relationship, something is not being communicated. Don’t blame him; it’s both of you.

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