You’re walking through the mall or Target or are at the park with your kids in tow. And a stranger stops you.
“Oh, your kids are so cute,” the person says. “How’s Daddy doing babysitting you?”
It has happened to me. Thankfully it hasn’t happened a ton. But it has happened enough that it pisses me off to no end.
I’m sorry? Did you just ask me if I was babysitting MY OWN KIDS?! Walk away. Walk away now.
This little bit of language people use when they see a dad out and about with their kids alone, this idea that because there is no mother present that the dad is babysitting — it’s long been something that annoys the hell out of me.
Dads are not babysitters. We are parents.
Is there somebody giving me money that I am not aware of to take care of my children? That’s a big bag of nope! If someone wants to give me money, though, that’s cool. I like money.
But Nick, you say, why is it so bad to ask a dad if he is babysitting? The person doesn’t mean anything by it. No. Just no. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t trying to be insulting or aren’t trying to insinuate that I’m less of a parent than my wife. But guess what? That’s exactly what you’re doing.
I bust my ass to be the best damn dad I can be to my two girls. And I’m damn proud to be their dad. Being a dad is my life. So, if you want to devalue that by calling me a babysitter, we’re going to have a problem.
Look, I’m not saying that I’m going to explode in your face if you call me a babysitter. But you’ll get a death stare from me and probably a few words that you’ll wish I hadn’t said. Stop perpetuating the archaic stereotype that dads are the lesser of the parents. Guess what? Parenting is typically a team sport. And the team is usually 50/50.
So, call me a dad, a father, ask me how my day of parenting my kids is going. Just don’t call me a babysitter. You’re better than that.
Purchase “Dads Don’t Babysit” clothing, like the shirt shown above, from our friends at the National At-Home Dad Network.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Nick Browne is member of our Philadelphia Dads Group. He is a dad to two daughters and writes the parenting site PapaBrownie.com, where a version of this first appeared.