“Oh, is your husband babysitting tonight?”
“Is he watching the kids for you?”
“Does he like babysitting on the weekends?”
I know most people do not mean any harm when asking these questions, however, using the term “babysitting” when referring to my husband and daughters is one of my biggest pet peeves.
For starters, I do not pay him to watch our children, nor do I get paid to do so. He is being a parent, a father, and a darn good one at that. I think referring to him as “babysitting” is an older term and idea on parenting. On a bigger level, I feel that referring to him as a babysitter, puts a tone of less importance on the role he plays in our daughters lives. As their father he plays so many roles for them, sometimes better than me.
He is their protector.
He kisses all their “owies” when they fall and are hurt. If they wake up in the night, he helps rock them back to sleep. He holds them close when they get scared. When out and about he always carefully watches them to keep them safe from harm. As their father he is always worried about protecting them from any pain and suffering that he can.
He is their teacher.
My husband loves to teach our daughter new things. Although, occasionally they might not be my favorite. He always takes the time to talk about the world with her. Anything from learning her ABC’s and numbers, to what a bear sounds like, and how an airplane flies. He answers her hundreds of questions and celebrates with her when she learns something new. Most days, he even has more patience than I do when it comes to encouraging our daughter to use the potty. He could just go about the day to day tasks of parenting, but he chooses to actively interact with her and show her the fun of learning.
He is their playmate.
Not everyone enjoys playing with a one year old or three year old. However, he will always get on the floor with our daughters and play with puzzles or blocks. When she brings him his tenth cup of pretend coffee, he drinks it with such enthusiasm and thanks her. On days when he is working on a project of his own, he lets her safely help or sit next to him and tinker with his tool set. He’ll take the time to show her how to properly turn a screw driver and let her attempt to help.
He is their rule enforcer.
We have a very independent and strong-willed “threenager” and she definitely thrives when we use the same rules/expectations, and punishments. There have been many nights where he will put her in time-out. He will be the one to sit and encourage her to finish her dinner. When I am at work, I can always depend on my husband to raise and treat our girls in the same way I would.
Unfortunately, I know that not everyone has a father that plays all these roles for their children, however I think it is so important to value fathers who do. We need to value the ones who put their families first and are an essential part of their children’s lives. Let’s stop referring to them as babysitters or any phrase that implies fathers are any less of a parent.
Let’s encourage fathers to be each of these roles everyday. In our home, we are extremely thankful to have such a loving and caring man in our lives.
So Happy Father’s Day to all the dads who are amazing teachers, play-mates, protectors, parents, and every other role they play!
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