We are NOT Babysitters, Dads are Co-Parents!

As most of you readers and followers surely know by now I am the Full time Stay at home Dad to my girls, I mention it often enough I know but I am going to share something with you that putting it politely has quite pissed me off. Parents, mums whatever some people may be, may even not have children but to look upon a father like myself and others and use the term BABYSITTER when we are out alone with our kids without Mum, Dads are Co-Parents not a BABYSITTER.

I am a Stay at Home Dad, a Co-Parent and proud, Not a Babysitter.

This is me, having fun with my Kids. I am a Dad, I am not a Babysitter to my own kids, I am a Parent, me and my partner Sarah Co-Parent like a well oiled Machine.
This is me, I am a Dad, I am not a Babysitter to my own kids, I am a Parent, me and my partner Sarah Co-Parent like a well oiled Machine.

Damn its 2021, come on times have changed massively from the parenting era of Dads who used to be the sole earner, the grafter, before heading home call at the pub to sink a few pints and arrive home just in time for the kids bedtime.

I’m far from saying back in the day that all Dads were like that but as Dads these days we are wanting to be more heavily involved in various aspects of our children’s lives and parenting. I have had the few comments whilst at the tills in the shops, or a trip to the park, it is a comment we cannot seem to escape from and that is when somebody references us Dads as a Babysitter.

The additional comments of aww aren’t you sweet letting Mum take a break and have the kids, erm no let me stop you right there! I am a Dad… I DO NOT BABYSIT my own kids. With my children’s Mum just like any other Dad, Its parenting and we Co-Parent our kids. Both me and Mum are one hell of a team. We work together, we are equal and decisions regards parenting and anything relating to our kids is done together.

I am a proud Stay at home Dad, I am not a babysitter to my kids, I Parent.
I am a proud Stay at Home Dad.

Co-Parent and the Modern Dad.

I have experienced this a few times while I have been the stay at home Dad and it is a subject that confuses me so much. Why are Dads most commonly portrayed as the person who SHOULD be the one to work and earn a living to provide for the family, and be made out to only have the time for the kids when mum needs a break. No we are Dads, it is equal Parenting, and for me and other Dads out there we Co-Parent the Sh*t out of it.

Yes being the stay at home dad is hard work, have a read of what being the Stay at Home Dad with a 1 year old was like. I won’t deny that it was extremely hard and whilst doing it I have a new found respect for at home parents. The decision to be the Stay at home Dad was a joint decision between me and Sarah (my partner). She is working so hard lately but is loving life, she knows that I am up to the task and capable of the job I am doing.

Image Source – Unsplash.

She is currently working through her 1st Year of her Nursing Degree and the last 5 weeks she has been working Full time at our local Hospital on a work placement. Yet still around this she has assignments to complete. A lot on her plate and is doing amazingly. No matter how busy she has been we both are still working together like a well oiled machine, we discuss things together regarding the kids, make plans and do things as a family. Its called Co-Parenting not me being a full time babysitter.

I had an instance of this a few weeks back with a health visitor, it was time for Beasts 24 month Check-up, pretty routine and standard. What got to me was the fact tat the health visitor was so focussed on doing this Check up with Mum and when was informed it would be with me it was like a whole attitude flip. She never even asked me my name. With the whole Covid situation it was carried out over the phone, we had received questionnaires in the post regarding our daughters progression and development and then a telephone appointment to go through it.

Rather than it seeming like a personal discussion like I have experienced in the past when Sarah has done them and from other mums, it felt more like a random phonecall where I had being asked if I’d be happy participating in a questionnaire. No mentions of how I was finding things with my Daughter. Have any other Dads found this before?

Why are Dads seen to be Babysitters and not Co-Parents?

This is a question I constantly ask myself, Why are Dads seen as Babysitters and not seen as an equal Co-Parent?

What is it that portrays Dads more as babysitters than Co-Parents, when we are seen spending time and bonding with our children, how is that Babysitting and not Parenting? It is something that isn’t mentioned of Mums so why should Dads be seen this way.

As with most things these days with regards Equality, things have changed massively but sources of support for Dads in terms of what is available for Mums there is still a way to go, I hope along the way with raising issues such like Dads being made out more as Babysitters than a Parent or Co-Parent that there can be changes made and more equal. The way Stay at Home Dads are seen and portrayed, the decision to be the stay at home dad has to be the best thing I have ever done.

For Dads out there who are considering making the switch to be the Stay at Home Dad, I’d say if it is what both you and Mum want and agree on, DO IT, you won’t regret it, if you are considering it make sure to take a look through my Stay at Home Dad Survival Kit.

I do apologise as this seems to be more of a rant but it is something I wanted to write about and I would love to hear your thoughts, opinions and comments on this and if you have ever had any experiences of being a Babysitter and not a Parent. I believe that parenting subjects like this are important and always looking to hear from others.

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22 Thoughts to “We are NOT Babysitters, Dads are Co-Parents!”

  1. Couldnt agree more with this post Eddie.
    Great read and I’m sure many Dads feels the same way.

    A recent comment from someone sparked a debate on my Facebook page about this very subject. I took the comment quite personal but feel very strongly about the issue. I wasn’t fully aware of the issue until I became a stay at home dad.

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. It was the recent comment and debates on your Facebook page that gave me a little shove to share experiences on this.

  2. Well said! I haven’t experienced this for a while now my kids are all a little older but, when they were little, I lost count of the number of times I was asked if it was “Mum’s day off”. People always meant well, but it’s an outdated attitude that is really damaging. It just goes to show that dads are still seen as second-class parents and this doesn’t do any favours to parents of any gender.

    1. I think many Dads will have had this many times. I’m not doubting they don’t mean well with comments like this or mean it negatively, but as you mentioned it is an outdated attitude. Thanks for your comment Tom.

  3. You raise some really good points Eddie. It’s a shame this bias persists. When our older daughter was born, I suggested to my husband that he stay at home. It made sense financially and he hated his job. He wanted no part of it. I often wonder how different our lives might be if he had. Our girls have grown up to be wonderful young women so – all’s well that ends well.

    1. Thanks Michelle, it is a bias that is still present but maybe not as large spread as it once was. That is a shame he didn’t give it a go. Its great to hear your daughters have grown up to be wonderful young women. Thank you for your comment.

  4. Spot on Eddie. I can’t stand the culture of people thinking that dads are just a form of childcare and not as responsible as the mums. You are an absolute prime example of showing how amazing Dads are! I’ll never forget a lady in a shop once asking me if I was “giving mum a break” and saying “you’re brave being out on your own with the baby”. I was fuming. We are not babysitters!!

    Great post as always dude 🙌

    1. Thanks Mark. That means a lot, it sadly still is a prominent culture and I know it isn’t meant to be negative but we are more than capable of parenting and looking after our kids solo.

  5. You know I’m on board with you on this one. The bias is definitely there and has so many causes. All the same things that make it harder for women to go back to work also count against men who stay home. Its shit and a shift in society’s priorities is needed for real change to come about, sadly. So long as we value income above nurture and refuse to address the gender pay gap we won’t have a situation that combats those parenting stereotypes.

    1. That is absolutely spot on there what you just said smell 👏🏻 in many aspects its linked isn’t it, how women are seen in the working world and how men as portrayed when stay home and do the family and home life. There was a comment on The Northern Dads Facebook page highlighting what Dads aren’t entitled to in the law which was an interesting read.

      1. Taking my thought a bit further. As a working woman, I’m lucky to work for a company that is committed to equality, inclusion and belonging – including decreasing the pay gap and better supporting paternity leave. But…. how does that help stay at home dads? We have working groups and LeanIn, but those are more accessible to working folks – thus excluding stay at home parents from the conversation. Bit crap really. Where can your voices be heard? They’re just as important to the debate as the working mums’.

        1. Sounds like you have an incredible employer smell with lots of support available which is excellent.

  6. This post made me so happy! My husband often has to encourage me to ‘let’ him parent. I feel so guilty when he is parenting. As if I’m not doing my job as mum by being there 24/7. And whilst he works and I’m on maternity leave, there are the mornings and evenings and weekends when he is free. I think what I find hard is the expectation that I will be the one doing everything and how people say I’m so ‘lucky’ that my partner will get up with her in the morning or give her a bath in the evening. Kind of implies that this is not the norm when it totally should be!

  7. Interesting. I never had issues with midwives or health visitors, but I’ve sure had bad experiences with other health professionals, And yes, been told I’m ‘babysitting’ more than once.

    1. The only instance I’ve had with it from a health care professional, every other time has been positive.

  8. I’m a stay at home mum with a part time business from home and my hubby works full time. When he gets home he spends pretty much the whole evening playing and entertaining our little girl until bedtime. It drives me insane when people suggest he’s babysitting when he has her. It really gets my back up… “How is it babysitting when shes his child!” Is usually how i respond. We both work hard and we are both parents to our child!
    I really couldn’t agree more.
    Its a shame you dont have the same treatment from health vistors as a mum would. That needs to change.

    1. That must be hard running a business from home with the kids, hats off to you. Exactly, I don’t know how people perceive that when they are our children.

  9. Cassandra Anderson

    Ugh. I’m in the U.S. and the term “babysitting” is used here for dads, too. I don’t think people realize how condescending it is.

    I’ve written about this, from a mother’s perspective. May I share the link to my article? (Just thought I’d ask before I link bomb your post.)

    Take care.

    1. Yes people don’t realise but I don’t think it is meant in a way to cause offence, its just one of those things.

      Sure link away thats not a problem at all, thank you.

    2. What is the name of your site, I’d love to check out your article.

  10. I hear you Eddie! If I go out everyone asks “who’s got the kids?”. I asked Phill if anyone ever asks him the same question. His answer was no of course. If Phill takes them anywhere people say “isn’t he good?”… Like it’s a rarity. He’s their dad, just like I’m their mum. There should be no difference. I’m sorry the HV treated you like that. That’s pants 🙁

    1. I think the Health Visitor was just one of those things, other appointments its been very positive.

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