Ep 11: Why You MUST Immediately Stop Saying “Dad Babysitting”
Today’s episode of the Dr. Momma Says Podcast is going to be a discussion about why there should be no such thing as “dad babysitting”. It is such a common thing to hear but for the most part, it is not real.
Just no. Dads parent. Period. We need to set the expectation and make it happen
Parenting is hard and often needs many different ways of interacting with kids. When one parent is not present, it is normal and expected for the other parent to care for the kids. You hear that? Normal and expected, whether it is the mother or the father.
Dads should get as much rest as moms. Someone needs to embroider that on a pillow which is then put in every newborn welcome basket. This would then serve as a great reminder for moms!
Dad fails are just as important as mom fails. I have previously blogged about mom mistakes or mom fails and quite a few of mine still make me cringe. What WAS I thinking? However, I had to just keep moving forward.
Why dads may not become involved early in childcare
Many mothers automatically take control of things surrounding the care of infants; consequently, fathers may not be allowed to participate. As time goes on, this becomes part of the overwhelm moms have with caring for kids and the home. Eventually, moms can start to feel resentment that dads do not help out enough.
One dad describes how he feels that this issue is actually the fault of men who do not step up. I agree; however, I also recognize that moms need to allow this to happen!
Being a physician did not give me a leg up in being a good mom. Being a mom does not give you a leg up in being a good parent. Parenting is about putting in the work, paying attention and learning as you go.
The more effort you put into it, the better the results may be. Huh. Just like with most things in life.
I wrote a blog about easy tips for father empowerment where I introduce the idea that dads need to be allowed and encouraged to have independence raising kids from an early age. Now I add several additional opportunities for dad to step up their parenting game and avoid ever considered as dad babysitting.
5 opportunities which may prevent the dad babysitting myth from occurring
Sleep deprivation should be equally shared
Newborns do not sleep well. DUH. Why should moms be exhausted and not dads?
I am a surgeon; therefore, there were days I needed to be operating at 7 am. I could be on call and go to the hospital in the middle of the night for an emergency. I still was functional the next day at work.
Not a chance in the world that I was being sleep deprived alone. None. My hubby was deeply immersed in his parenting role from day one. Why is your husband standing on the sidelines? Waiting to be called in as a sub?
Both parents need to care for sick kids in the middle of the night
I see many moms in my office who think they need to shield dad from the things occurring at home. No, just no.
Crying baby in the middle of the night with ear pain? Dad is sleeping and has no idea that nighttime chaos is happening.
While dad is working, mom takes the child to the pediatrician for repeated ear infections. Eventually, they get referred to me and I might recommend tubes. Many dads have become shocked while others were furious! They questioned why were we talking about surgery for a problem he did not know was that severe.
Dads can be woken in the middle of the night because there are many reasons they have stayed up all night and were still functional. They went to college, grad school, med school, and law school, or while working, they stayed up all night working on deals and contracts. Adults know how to function after a bad night of sleep. It is normal life.
The more he sees that nightly chaos, the more he will understand the depth of the problem.
Dads need periodic solo outing with infants and toddlers
Who has not seen a frazzled mom with an infant in a stroller and a toddler pulling on her leg? She might be just trying to buy some groceries or go to the park to get out of the house. What about the brave women who fly ALONE with infants and toddlers.
For no particular reason, have the dad “run to the store” or go to the park alone with the young kids. This allows him to learn how to handle unexpected meltdowns and better appreciate when moms need more help.
Daddy dinners should be a real thing
I know that many moms just rolled their eyes. You might have a chef husband but probably not. But to be fair, I was/am a not so good cook. It does not matter how well you cook to feed toddlers and infants.
And when your toddler decides that his favorite food is no longer his favorite, after you set the plate down, how to do handle that? DAD NEEDS TO KNOW.
And having it be purely his job to feed an infant..oh my…that builds character.
So it may not be during the week when time may be limited, but a Saturday or Sunday afternoon…there should be some time dedicated to daddy dinner with daddy food.
He gets to pick and prepare. He gets to select the baby food. I mean, how hard is this? Mom does not need to leave out the jar of peas and a spoon. Dad is capable and needs to be empowered to do the full task.
Let him experience what happens when too much or too little peanut butter is spread on a sandwich. Parenting 101.
Find unique daddy activities that mom rarely does
Moms carry babies, give birth and nurse kids. Dads do not do these. Empower dad by looking at his hobbies or skill sets and early on determining what will be HIS thing to share with the kids.
My husband has always been a physical fitness guy. Early in our dating journey, he was a bodybuilder. So he took on the fitness program with our girls.
Does dad play sports? Or a musical instrument? How about a hobby? Or a passion for some aspect of his job that he can share with the kids? Regardless of age, we can share things and the kids will learn to look forward to their special daddy time.
The bottom line…
Between these tips and the ones I already shared in my blog post, dads should ready to step up their early parenting skills. They will be empowered and never feel that they are dad babysitting if they spend a weekend or night alone with the kids.
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