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.
Do 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 makes 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.
As always, much love for supporting my work. I intend to launch new episodes every week, but may periodically produce bonus episodes. So, be sure to subscribe to the FREE podcast on iTunes or subscribe to my blog to be notified. You KNOW you do not want to miss an episode!
Also, you may reach out to me on the contact page to send comments, show topics or questions. You can also send requests to be a future guest, work with me, or sponsor an episode!
**If you have not done so yet, I would LOVE for you to visit iTunes and leave me a 5-star rating so that I can continue to gain traction and grow this podcast. I greatly appreciate your support!**
I think it is a great idea for Dad’s to take their toddlers on outings. Not only because it helps them to see what Mommy’s often do, but it helps build critical relationships between Dad’s and Kids.
Once dads master care at home, going on outings raises things to another level!
I’d never actually heard of “dad babysitting”. Why is that a thing?
It should not be a thing but if dads are not comfortable taking care of kids, when they are out with them, they look like a new babysitter. The sooner they get involved with active parenting, the less this concept will exist.
I consider myself lucky, as my husband loves spending quality time with the kids, cooking for them, taking them to their activities…
But I also remember willing to do everything for my son when he was born; fortunately I was exhausted and had to make room for my husband!
Thanks for sharing.
Moms need to feel good about letting go of things and allowing dad to figure things out, even if they do it different from mom!
YES. YES. YES. I get so annoyed with this statement even my husband says it and it drives me nuts. If they are your children you are not babysitting them you are caring for you kids, spending time with you kids, or creating memories with your kids. But you are not babysitting your kids.
Many men say it because they feel like they cannot do it as well as moms so just keep on putting him in positions where he feels comfortable and it won’t feel like babysitting.
I agree, dads are just as much as parents as moms! I like to think we’re a team and each put in 100%. Of course, there are times where I feel I get a little bit more of the brunt of it, but I’m ok with that, and I feel like my husband can sense when I’m feeling “touched out” and sweeps in and saves my sanity.
Usually things are not exactly 50-50 but overall, the work is shared so that each parent makes a meaningful contribution.
We were very fortunate and were able to have one parent stay home when our children were little. Since it made more sense for us, my husband stayed home with the girls. He definitely wasn’t babysitting, just raising our girls.
There are more and more stay at home dads. My husband was a work at home dad and it was awesome for our family.
I’ve never heard of this phenomena since I don’t have children. However, I grew up in a household where my parents shared the parenting responsibilities quite evenly. However, I will say, I was the only daughter and I spent a lot of time with my Dad.
It’s great that you experienced both of your parents with active parenting.
I actually know moms who will not leave their babies with the dads because they are not really interested. I agree that a dad shouldb’t babysit but parent their child, and not only when mom is not around. You can’t leave all the weight on the shoulders of the mom!
Dads are often not interested because they are afraid of doing things wrong. By empowering them and giving them room to learn will increase their confidence and interest.
I too feel dads must step in and take up responsibility and at the same time moms should be accommodating. Sleep deprivation can be a problem if just one parent is involved.
It can be as hard for dads to step up as it is for moms to let go!
Interesting read. This is really important and I enjoyed reading this. I will have to share it.
I am glad you found this helpful.
I am very thankful that my husband does as much as I do when it comes to parenting. A dad’s role in the family is so important.
I agree with all of this!!! Parenting is totally a two lesson job. I’m not a parent yet but I see this in a lot of couples. Dad’s are just as much as part of the child’s life as a momma! Also I totally agree that dad’s should get up in the middle of the night, but also have outings too! Great post!
It can be so much more rewarding when both parents share the parenting journey together.
It is awesome that you can already see it before it impacts you. As soon as a baby is born, dad should be front and center and learning at the same time as the mom.
Really loved this post! A baby has two parents and they should both be similarly involved.
Dads add a different and important part of raising kids.
I could not agree with you more.