I’m not sure where the idea that fathers didn’t need to assume as much responsibility as mothers really came from. I mean, I understand family dynamics were different sixty years ago. But with so many parents both working out of the home these days, you’d think the concept of dads babysitting their own kids would be out the window by now.
It’s not uncommon these days for men to go to prenatal checkups with their wives, or to have co-ed baby showers. Even using the term, “we’re pregnant” is fairly common now. So why is it that men are still receiving so much more praise for being dads and helping take care of something they helped to create?
Now, I’m not trying to say that being a good father should go unnoticed. In fact, I feel extremely fortunate that my husband is such a wonderful dad to our three children. From day one he has stepped up to the plate and always made sure he is available to his kids. He has changed countless diapers, gotten up for 2 a.m. feedings, and cleaned up Exorcist style spit-ups just as much as I have. He gets our kids ready and out the door in the mornings while I’m already at work, and he’s fully capable of getting everyone fed, bathed and in bed at night.
If I leave my kids with my husband, I’m not checking in on him every hour, and he’s definitely not texting me questions every 20 minutes. Sure, when I pick them up from daycare, my daughter’s shirt might be on backwards and her pigtails might be lopsided and falling out. But hey, it’s nothing that will make them seek therapy later in life (or at least I hope not).
There’s nothing wrong with recognizing your husband/partner’s great behavior, but why do we need to put them on a pedestal? Last time I checked, my hubby was just as involved in creating our tiny humans as I was. We had a plan, we discussed, and we made a family. I would be pretty upset if he didn’t help out as much as he does.
See, that’s the thing about parenting. We made this decision together, and we created these babies together. They’re just as much his responsibility as they are mine. They’re our responsibility.
So it’s not that I don’t appreciate all he does. In fact, I realize many fathers/husbands are not as involved and present as he is. I just feel like if I’m expected to perform all of these duties, day in and day out, he should be expected to as well. After all, we signed up for this ride together.
So please, the next time you see a Dad out with his kids with no mom in sight, please don’t ask him if he is “babysitting” his children. Unless he’s a 13-year-old girl that’s getting paid, he’s not babysitting. He’s being a parent, and taking care of his children.
At the end of the day, we both deserve a high-five and a “you freaking rock.” Because after all, we’re both raising children, and it’s pretty damn hard.