Don't Be a Ball Sucker, Dads Are NOT Babysitters

“What are you doing this weekend? I was thinking of organizing a ladies night out with all the neighborhood women next week on Thursday, can you come?” I asked my mommy friend.

We were sipping a glass of wine on a rare, relaxing summer evening sans kids. We always had the kids in tow. Not tonight.

“Let me ask Sam if he can babysit Daisy,” she said.

*Enter mental record scratching sound here.

I must’ve looked at her, like she had five heads. I almost choked on my Pinot Grigio.
Ummmm, what the fuck? No really, what in the actual FUCK. Is this chick on LSD???

I was appalled.
I replied, ahem, lemme clear my throat for all you muthas, “DADS DON'T BABYSIT THEIR KIDS, THEY PARENT THEM."

My mom friend (oh, forgot to mention - EX- mom friend) dismissed the comment, maybe because she was completely clueless. Or maybe she disregarded me as a feminist fanatic that couldn’t possibly relate to her antiquated marriage norms. Or maybe she was as drunk as I was.

Listen, I know you've heard this argument before. Don't devalue dads. They're not hired help. They're parents. They're don't deserve to be on a pedestal for parenting. Bla bla bla. But imma break it down for you a little more.

Modern parenthood basically demands that both parents be involved and engaged equally. No one should be getting an award for being a good dad. Or a good mom. It's what's expected. It should be the norm. Every adult should pull their weight when raising children.

In the moment my ex-mom friend said I'll see if my husband can babysit my daughter - I lost it. Not my temper. I lost respect.

(Side note -I didn't dump my mom friend for her dumb ass comment - she was basically an overall delusional bitch. But for real, the "dad babysitting" comment sealed the deal.)

It takes both parents to wipe butts, feed chicken nuggets, do bath time, bedtime stories, homework and the list goes on. It doesn’t matter if both parents work, or one stays home. It is completely unacceptable for one parent to be off in la-la land going to work, social events, watching mindless television, or bullshit cat videos on YouTube and acting like they don’t have a care in the world – while the other parent busts their ass. On what planet is that acceptable? There is a second-shift starting at roughly 5PM. That shift requires all hands on deck. Hell - I even make (yup, MAKE) my kids help with domestic duties too at night. I'm not the only one that knows how to set a damn table for dinner y'all.

This isn't the 1950's. I know those old cliches persist. Some old nostalgia for family life of "simpler" times. But imma break it down for you. That shit wasn't even real. We all have some warped, rose-colored impression of what family life usta look like 60 years ago. The women were annoyed! They were pulling their hair out in utter FUCKING boredom. The ennui of daily cleaning, cooking and appliance management drove the moms batty. Their husbands would come home, have a drink or two, eat dinner, give their kids a pat on the head - and the mother would do the bedtime routines while the husbands relaxed after a hard days work for the remainder of the evening. What about the HARD (free) work the 1950's wife did all day? Why was she the only picking up 2nd shift?

In my world, me and my husband both do the parental and domestic heavy lifting.

I'm not saying ooooo - look at me and mah man we know how to do this son! We're so progressive...yaddi yadda yadda.


We don't know how to do jack shit.

But, this. THIS we get right.

I'm not saying it's always in perfect, gender-norm defying harmony. We sometimes fall into our societal roles. We slip up. But, my husband doesn't deserve an award for doing the laundry. I don't get the designation of "good mom" for making sure all the threads up in this house are clean. It's what needs to be done.

My husband doesn't get a pat on the back for helping with the bath and bed routine. He doesn't get a "good job honey!" for reading stories to our girls. Or for helping dress or feed our girls. He's expected to. He's a parent. He's a member of this household too. Everyone pulls their weight in this house, because I don't expect anything less.

Every day we try to equal the playing field between us - mother and father. We're both working. Both career-climbing. Both ambitious. We love our kids. And we value quality time with our kids.

Some weeks, he'll bear the brunt of kid duties, some weeks I will. It's a balancing act, always. But, no one gets off easy.

We are raising girls. We want them to know that equality absolutely can exist between the sexes. As parents, it's our responsibility to show them how it's done.

A babysitter is someone who watches, plays and feeds your kid(s) for money. A maid is someone who cooks and cleans FOR DA PAPER HONEY. In a household and with a family - there is some serious free labor jobs that need to be tended to everyday. By every-mother-fuckin-able-body in the house.

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