Daddy Is Not a Babysitter


Daddy is not the

Our family follows pretty stereotypical gender role assignments: I stay home with the kids and my husband works outside the home, “winning the bread” to support all of us. He commutes to work every day, sitting in meetings and taking conference calls. My house is my office, and my commute is the walk down the hallway to my girls’ bedroom. My children are my bosses, my employees, my HR department. And, to follow through with the metaphor, my husband is my co-worker. Which is why it drives us both crazy when I am out on my own (at rehearsal, a social function, what have you) and some well-meaning person asks me if my husband is “babysitting the kids.” They also often tell me how lucky I am that he is willing to do so.

Well, no, actually. He is parenting. And luck doesn’t have much to do with it.

I was lucky to meet and fall in love with my husband. But I made a choice when we got engaged and were married to partner myself with someone who was eager and willing to take on the job of starting and raising a family. I wanted an active and engaged father for my children, someone who would see reading bedtime stories and giving baths as a privilege, not a chore. My husband enjoys spending time with our children, and he is an amazing and capable father.

Saying that leaving the kids at home with him is equivalent to leaving them with a babysitter is insulting to him as my co-parent.

Now, don’t get me wrong. We have some amazing babysitters who love and care for our children as if they are their own. But we pay them. At the end of the day, they are performing a service. They may love our kids dearly but they still expect me to write them a check when I get home. And then… they get to LEAVE. My husband was there when our babies entered the world and hovered over the nurse as they got their first baths. He will be in their lives until he dies.

No matter how much we adore our sitters, my husband is and should be in another league entirely.

My husband would like for me to take a moment a clarify something here: he is in no way a perfect husband or father. He thinks I may be overselling him a bit. So I’m happy to point out that after nine years of marriage I still have not found a way to get him to put his clothes in the hamper or clean out his car. But I didn’t marry him for his cleanliness (thankfully, for both of us, or this may not have worked out quite as well), and the things I valued in him when I said “yes” and “I do” are the things that make him an invaluable part of our family.

So dads, to you I request that you not sell yourselves short. Don’t tell people you have to “babysit” when you are in charge of your kids for a night or a weekend. Don’t “help out” your wife by taking the baby for a few hours. Claim your place and status as a parent proudly!

Moms, trust your partners to be the partner and co-parent he can and should be. Men should be appreciated and applauded for their exceptional parenting but I believe it should also be expected of them. After all, we ladies couldn’t make all of these babies on our own. So let’s raise them together, too.


  1. I agree 100% Well written Greer. My husband is a major reason my 2 daughters are so awesome!

  2. Amen! When dads share the role. I think it increases his bond with our children ! With my first baby I worked every other weekend 12 hour shifts. My husband was completely responsible for his daughter! For the whole day! Definitely more than a babysitter! Thanks for the post!

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