During the first year of my children’s lives, if someone asked me if I was babysitting the kids, I’d brush it off. I did the same through Year Five. By Year Fifteen, I think I’m done being polite about it.
It’s such a weird thing to say to a father. Then there’s the look of sympathy in the eyes I’d get. The pity nod. We dads have all been through it.
You know, my kids are awesome. Why would I need anyone’s pity? The years I’ve spent as an at-home dad have been the best of my life. And I mean that as a guy who has been to a Super Bowl and didn’t have to pay for it. Sure, it’s been tough at times. All parenting is tough. But unlike a babysitter, I don’t get paid at the end of the night. I also don’t get a ride home in my boyfriend Chip’s bitchin’ new van. As a father, I’m never truly off the clock. Even when I’m away, I’m still a parent.
So when someone asks me if I am babysitting my children, I think I’m going to use a new answer. I’ve been brainstorming, and there is a winner in here somewhere. Also, I think I may have anger issues over this.
So when I’m asked, “Are you babysitting the kids?” I’ll respond …
“Wait, I have kids? Who’s the mother? Does she know?”
“Oh, these aren’t my kids. I just picked them up at the grocery store. They were on sale.”
“Babysitting would imply that I would be getting paid. Do you have any money?”
“This one time in college I grabbed a live car battery to impress a girl. That doesn’t have anything to do with your question, but I thought we were both just saying stupid shit.”
“No, these are my pets.”
“Shh, don’t tell the cops. I don’t think they know.”
“Honey, you don’t babysit crotch goblins like these. You herd them. I’m a modern-day rancher. Hand me that shock collar, will ya?”
“I completed nine years of study at the prestigious Julliard School of Child Care, did my fieldwork under the world-renown Mary Poppins, and toured with Frozen on repeat in my minivan. Madam, if I am a simple babysitter, then you are the Queen of England!”
“Yup, just like you’re babysitting that third chin.”
“I think the laws of nature preclude me babysitting something that came out of my nut sack.”
“All those sleepless nights. All that stress during the birth. All the anxiety I carry around with me all day wondering if I have what it takes. Well, it makes it all worthwhile when someone calls me a babysitter.”
“Miss Manners once said, ‘If you can’t say something kind, say something vague.’ So, you suck. But in a vague way.”
“Out of the 15 times I’ve been asked this today, this is the one that truly touches me. Thank you — oh, thank you — for noticing how good a babysitter I am. A lot of fathers strive to be a babysitter and it’s just nice to finally reach that level of competence.”
“That’s what it says on their birth certificate. Not father. Babysitter.”
“Actually, the official term is ‘Behavior and Domestic Associate Systems Specialist.’ Or B.A.D.A.S.S. for short.”