You’ve seen it before on the movies and TV, society tells us that when the mother goes away for work, the household will fall apart because dad is “babysitting”. Ummm no, just no! it’s impossible for a dad to babysit. He isn’t getting paid for starters, and second of all it’s called parenting! The term babysitting implies it is not permanent., you can hand the kid back when you like. Parenting is a permanent responsibility, wherever you are, whenever, 24/7/365. Dads ‘babysitting’ also implies that they are second rate. Yes, I am primary boob milk giver, but that is the one and only difference in our roles. We are equal. And of course, at some point Aviana will choose her favourite parent…but our responsibilities will remain equal. We are equally qualified (or unqualified more fittingly?!).
Could you imagine, one day if I was asked, “what are you doing this evening?” and I replied, “oh I’m babysitting whilst Chris stays late at work today”. How ridiculous would I sound? And yet, if the roles were reversed, the probable response would be “Oh good luck with that!” or “Hope Aviana is good for you!”.
I went away for 8 nights on a work trip, to another continent, and Chris had the sole responsibility for Aviana for the entire time. Except for one evening when our regular nanny was working. But guess what Chris did that one evening he could have been taking a break? He was babysitting our friends’ two kids.
Guess what happened when I was away? Aviana got sick, her first cold. It’s tough when your baby gets ill, they are cranky, miserable, don’t eat, sleep, poo or breathe well, they need love, cuddles and constant attention. But guess what also happened when I was away? Aviana cooed, played and was freaking adorable, Chris sent me videos everyday of Aviana doing new and fun stuff that I was missing out on. And amongst all that, Chris held the household together. He didn’t let the dishes pile up, he did the washing, he cleaned up the garage, he put up the blinds (something on our to do list for nearly a year!), he arranged to get a quote for putting in a patio in our garden, he went to work, he paid the bills, he did the shopping, he ate salads for lunch and proper hearty meals for dinner. The house was clean and tidy when I got home, it was like I never left, in fact it was probably tidier than when I left! Basically, life still went on. It didn’t stop.
Now, I’m not saying it was easy. No. He was tired, he craved adult conversation and didn’t achieve quite as much as he thought he would. He admitted that one morning when he dropped off Aviana at daycare he cried and the teachers gave him hugs. But you know what? Anyone of us, mothers or fathers, would have felt the same as a single parent. Being a single parent? Guys, kudos, I don’t know how you do it. I did it for a couple of nights and it was tough, if I’d done it for 8 nights I probably would have cried too, but cried in the car on my own, hiding it. But he nailed it better than I could have. He didn’t just babysit, he parented.
Ps. I’ve written about this before Aviana arrived in our lives on my other blog The Great Pudding Club Hunt: https://thegreatpuddingclubhunt.com/2016/05/11/dads-dont-babysit/
Also there are some cool t-shirts with the slogan Dads Don’t Babysit: https://www.facebook.com/dadsdontbabysit/