Let Dads be more than babysitters.

Why We Need To Stop Saying Dad Is The Babysitter

by | November 1, 2018

I’m sure we’ve all witnessed this at some point where someone sees a father looking after their child and says something along the lines of ‘it’s so nice that dad is the babysitter.’

To All the Moms,

You need to stop being hard on yourselves. Stop getting buried under the stash of unrealistic expectations. You are a human and you too have limitations. Do not let your happiness whimper away, just because the world expects you to be a supermom. It is perfectly fine to welcome generous help from your kid’s dad and here are the reasons why you should let him co-parent.

Let Dads be more than just a babysitter

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Having grown up in a traditional family, I have seen my mom struggle while juggling between work, home and me. Not that dad won’t help, my mom felt sort of obligated to be the sole care taker. This stressful living gave her anxiety. But things changed when my younger sister was born. Be it deteriorating health or the anxiety bouts- somehow my mum had to let go of the complete control over raising us. And in her own words, this did wonders! Sharing responsibilities reduced her stress and helped immensely in combating the anxiety. She could finally sit back and relax.

Some of my close friends have given birth recently and I can see this being a trend again. Too many of us are hesitant in fully passing on the parenting baton to our partners. Why are we uncomfortable with the idea of co-parenting? And why do we have this idea that dad is the ‘babysitter’?

The Effects of Patriarchy

Realize it or not, we all carry the sublime essence of patriarchy in us, especially when it comes to parenting. More often than not, we end up playing the gender specific roles as portrayed through the traditional set up of parenting. Mother becomes the sole caretaker of home and kids while the husband is the bread winner. Isn’t it the time to challenge these roles?

Let patriarchy take a backseat. Challenge perceived gender roles and let dads taste the bitter sweet fruit of parenting.

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Gender roles become so embedded in our subconscious that when a mother handovers her child to its father, it is not without a proper instruction manual of Dos and Don’ts. We end up feeling like dad is the babysitter who is doing us a favor by watching over the kid. And society isn’t behind. Dads contributing even in basic capacity, something that should have been normally expected, gets applauded vociferously. For instance, there were full-blown articles in the media applauding Judge Brett Kavanaugh for his parenting skills. Don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate the sentiment. But why this need to carve a hero out of dads who share parenting responsibilities just like what a mother would do too? Do we see similar articles in media, appreciating celebrity mothers for taking good care of their kids? I take severe objection to only dads getting the high-fives for being responsible parents.

The outdated concept of dad stepping in when mom just can’t handle, needs to go. Presently, the idea is more about dad helping with the parenting stuff (that too only if he wants to) out of love and compassion for family rather than his duty as a father. The moral obligations thrust on mothers need to be shared by fathers too. It shouldn’t be a choice but an obligation since the decision to bring forth a new life was mutual.

Few days ago, the author of NYT bestseller Live Fast, Die Hot, Jenny Mollen, addressed her followers on Instagram. She was constantly being asked if she felt lucky for having a wonderful partner who shares the parenting responsibility. This was her answer, “No. I expect him to be a good father! That’s why I had kids with him. Nobody would ever say to a man, ‘wow you are so lucky your wife feeds and bathes your children.’ For women, it’s expected to love and protect and show up for soccer practice. For him, an hour or two alone with the kids on the weekend somehow warrants a trophy.” Understandably, her post quickly went viral with many mum coming in her support.

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Take another incident. Khloe Kardashian recently took to Twitter to put a few bashers in their places when they tried shaming her for attending a charity event three months after delivering a baby. She wrote, “Mommy shamers r at a high right now. I’m sick, at a charity event & I’m getting slack 4being here bc I have a baby? Her dad is watching her while I’m trying 2bring awareness 2an amazing organization. But either way, what’s wrong w a new mom letting daddy takes over 4a few hours?”

Fans flooder her with support with many commenting that it isn’t the 1950’s when mom’s weren’t allowed to go out. Fathers do watch their children now and mothers can relax for a while without being made to feel guilty.

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Don’t assume: Dads do want to co-parent

In an article published on the Parents website, Dr. Jeanette Raymond- a licensed psychotherapist and psychologist, explains “Some women want to do it all and are afraid that if they let dad into the scene, the kids will love the father more and the mother will lose out.” This is the sentiment shared by many moms who are new to parenting. Dr. Raymond further explains how women who have grown up with highly competitive siblings are more susceptible to such behavior. Having grown up fighting with siblings for parents’ affection, such mum unconsciously starts viewing their partner as a rival for kid’s love and attention. She adds, “Out of fear of becoming redundant, some moms hoard all the parenting duties and never let dad in on the experience.”

Dad is the babysitter
Dads who play a key role during the child’s formative years certainly have better relationship with them as adults.

We might not realize but dads do want to share the joys of parenting. For instance, I do know my dad felt immense joy even while performing mundane duties like bathing us, getting us ready for school or taking us out for a game or two. And we sisters do share a very deep bond with him. In his own words, he felt a kind of peace within whenever he was watching us over. The games we played with him as child and the time spent with him during our childhood has become etched in his memory forever. And he certainly cherishes it more than anything else in the world.

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Isn’t it unfair to assume that dads don’t find joy in co-parenting? We need to get rid of the stereotype that dads want to shirk out from responsibilities of parenting. It is unfair to say the least.

Let us give a fair chance to men and let them be responsible dads. Remember, it isn’t only your way that’s got to be the right way. The road to parenting has several offshoot branches. Let dad find his own way, and stop saying dad is the babysitter to his own children. 

back to school, dealing with in-laws



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Mayuri Rajvanshi

Senior Editor | mayurii@raisevegan.com

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Comments

5 Responses to “Why We Need To Stop Saying Dad Is The Babysitter”

  1. Mamta Gupta
    November 2nd, 2018 @ 4:04 am

    Excellent !!!!

  2. Ashish Agarwal
    November 2nd, 2018 @ 8:58 am

    Good to see your more social matters articles..👍👍

  3. Shruti Kumari Rathore
    November 2nd, 2018 @ 12:34 pm

    Amazing…. Waiting to read more stuff written by you Mayuri…

  4. Kirti V Soni
    November 2nd, 2018 @ 3:02 pm

    This article actually made me think outside the invisible patriarchal walls that we stay in! Very well written.

  5. Riya rao
    November 15th, 2018 @ 2:11 am

    It was amazing… Waiting for your next article …

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