It happened again.
And we’ve only been parents for nine short months.
It’s getting ridiculous.
I was in Target and I was alone. I could hear the hallelujah chorus singing as I walked through the aisles with no baby to entertain and no husband telling me I don’t need another adorable coffee mug. As I looked at a cute red scarf to add to my already enormous collection, I ran into a women I knew from a while back. I would call her an acquaintance more than a friend. We met during a class in college and haven’t spoken since. We are friends on Facebook so we know small bits of each other’s lives.
We exchanged small talk, catching up on each other’s everyday lives. She pointed out that I was sans baby. Then, the words came out of her mouth.
Oh, looks like your husband is babysitting today and giving you a break.
It was all I could do to keep my cool, smile politely and respond with kindness. Let’s get one thing straight. My husband does not babysit. Babysitters come to your house, care for your child and then leave. They are there for a few short hours and then they return to their life as usual.
My husband was up with me during the late night feedings when our daughter was still new. He has changed just about as many poopy diapers as I have. He cleans our little girl up after she gets food all over her face, hands and hair. He helps with bath time. He holds her when she cries. He knows just how to make her smile, laugh and what her favorite toys are. He reads her a book, sings to her and then puts her down for bed. He makes bottles. He changes her clothes, brushes her hair and can even put on her bows perfectly. He loves our little girl with his whole heart and is there for her day in and day out. My husband does not just visit and hang out with our daughter, he raises her! That is not a babysitter. That is a parent!
Dads are capable of doing what moms can and why we treat them like they are any less is just heartbreaking. Dads aren’t helpers, they’re not “stuck with the kids,” and they are not babysitters. So the next time you run into a woman who is without her kids, celebrate that fact (because boy is that worth celebrating) but when you find out the kids are with dad, don’t use the b-word. Give dads some respect and instead, think about how lucky the kids are to be with their parent!