Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Adventures in Babysitting?

Babysit is defined in Webster's Dictionary as: to care for children usually during a short absence of the parents. I point this out because I recently became very angry while reading People magazine. The magazine of course had an article about the new arrival of Brad Pitt and Angelia Joli's twins. Being as fascinated as everyone else with this beautiful couple and their large family I was intrigued and couldn't help but read the article. Someone described having seen Angelina with her children, and said that you could just see that she was a good mother. Then some actor (I believe it was Morgan Freeman- but don't quote me on that) addressed seeing Brad with the kids while Angelina was shooting a film, and actually described it as babysitting! Listen it's not babysitting when they are your kids!

This happened to my husband several years ago. Our youngest, Ashton was still so small she was in a baby carrier and James took her and the older two kids out and stopped by a video rental place to let the kids pick some movies. While there, the young lady at the counter of course oohed and ahhd at our beautifully kids, then asked my husband why he was babysitting. James, being the wonderful man that he is was offended and he replied to the young woman that they were his children! I have found that we often do this. When a mother is with her children people consider that she is quite simply doing her job, yet when a father does the same thing it's considered babysitting? What a sexist way of looking at family life!

I know, we're getting better at it these days, but still we've got a ways to go. Generally, society does see the role of "caretaker" as that of the mother, but why? Sometimes, women are the most shocked when it comes to this brave new world of father caretakers. My beloved James gets the kids ready for school every morning because I have usually left for work, often if one of the kids gets sick during the work day he leaves work to pick them up and he'll take them to the doctor! When other women hear this, they often become weak in the knees and proclaim my husband to be some sort of super dad. He is a super dad, he is a super husband, he is a what a man, yet he and I get irritated with all the fuss! He only does what a parent should be doing! I am grateful for the incredible PARTNER I have in my husband, I am grateful that he is such a great dad and that we share such an equal, respectful relationship. I would never demean him or his relationship with our kids by implying that his time spent with them is simply "babysitting" in my absence! I wish other's would be as respectful of his relationship with our kids!

So, for all my fellow mother's out there, it's OK to be grateful for having a great husband and hopefully you let each other know how much you are appreciated, but whatever you do, please don't ask him to "babysit," and if someone else calls it that please pull out the dictionary and explain what that word really means!


Anonymous said...

Well said FAB!! I too have a wonderful husband and my kids have a wonderful father! I too would be very upset if someone referred to him as the "babysitter". For years we worked different shifts so that the kids wouldn't have to go into daycare (Yes, I left him alone with a newborn! I know that will shock some people). Even now I leave for work while my family still slumbers, meaning that he is the parent here to get them off each morning. Why oh why do we assume the "little lady" HAS to do it ALL? We are paying today in society for all the absent fathers of "yesterdays gone by". Take notice...it's time for involvement!!

Didn't mean to start my own blog here...you just hit a nerve on this one...and I am happy you posted this! Thanks!!

FAB said...

I'm glad I hit a nerve, feel free to blather on anytime, I do it all the time!

Michelle Hodges said...

It is wonderful that you have someone like James in your life. Pray that one day I can find that too!

FAB said...

I'll keep my fingers crossed Michelle. I think the important part is accepting nothing less!

rickismom said...

You also need luck. I had a wonderfull husband, a real partner, until 10 years ago, when his personality changed completely (after 20 years of marriage). If you have a good husband, CHERISH him, as there are no promises in this world!

Yes, sexism is the biggest prejudice around!