His wife is travelling, what is going to happen to this dad of 6 children?

His wife is travelling, what is going to happen to this dad of 6 children?

Jeremy's wife is travelling for work. And it is time for him to answer the most controversial parenting question - is dad a babysitter?

His wife is boarding the plane. She is going to be away for a while and this dad has to take care of his six children. What do you think is going through his mind? Well, we don’t have to guess, because he writes it all in a Facebook post. And he answers the question once for all – is dad a babysitter?

Is dad a babysitter?

Jessica and Jeremy Martin-Weber, parenting bloggers, have six beautiful daughters. And Jessica had to travel out of state for work for several days. As he dropped her off, Jeremy posted this picture of her on Facebook with a lot of questions. 

He writes, 

“Now to figure out who:

– will cook and feed my children
– will get them to school on time
– will pick out clothes for our youngest to wear
– will respect their routines and help hold those boundaries for them
– will hug them when they need a hug, and kiss their bruises, and tend to their scrapes. 
– will comfort them with their nightmares and help them go back to sleep 
– will help them with conflict resolution with their siblings
– will listen to every little detail they want to share about their day
– will read them a story, encourage them to play outside, or play a game with them
– will support and encourage my teenage daughters with their feminine “problems,” and their relationship struggles 
– will model kindness, love, patience, listening, empathy, strength, bravery, and all the good things to them

Who is going to do all that stuff while their mom is away?”

And then, he goes to answer these questions in a style that many dads will agree to!

What do you think is Jeremy’s answer?

All these things may have been traditionally a woman’s ‘job’, but that was probably a century earlier. And even so, I, as a writer of this article, feel sad that this was the case. 

And I guess Jeremy agrees with me because he goes on to answer the question as

Me. That’s who. Because I’m not the babysitter. I’m not just their playmate.

I’m their dad. And looking after them and guiding them and caring for them is my responsibility.

And I love it – with all of its challenges.

And I particularly love this part…

“No, the house will not fall apart or be trashed and the kids will not be ruined because dad is in charge. And no, I don’t deserve anyone’s special praise and adoration because “Wow! This dad can look after his own kids.” I’m just doing what every parent should do, and what moms do every day without praise or adoration. It is enough that the mother of our children and I communicate our appreciation to each other for all the things we do for our family.”

So no, dads are not babysitters. They are full-time parents. They are responsible as much as their partners in taking care of the house, finances, as well as children. And I am happy that it is becoming increasingly common to see fathers taking their children out and giving the mums some time off. 

is dad a babysitter

The right answer to the old question: Nope! Full time parenting isn’t the same as babysitting.

Is equal parenting possible?

It is hard to divide the chores in such a way that both the parents are involved equally. And so, in most cases, one of the parent ends up being the lead parent. To make it work, the lead parent needs to take the onus voluntarily, after considering all the implications this is going to have on his/her life. 

We need to drop the notion that a mum is ‘the’ parent and never let the question – ‘is dad a babysitter?’ arise in a relationship. Dads, you have to be there. Think hard and wide how you can be involved. And mums, depute some of the duties if you think you are doing it all. 

Yes, in a way, equal parenting is possible while still being in a relationship. And so, work hard towards making it work! 

Tips for Equal Parenting

So Here are 3 tips that will help you achieve equal parenting.

  1. Divide chores by agreement. Sit down and decide chores that are almost similar in efforts. And choose from a bucket of tasks. That way, one of you will never feel he/she is doing more than the other.
  2. Alternate chores every month. This way, on an average, you end up doing every chore that is needed to be done. And, if one of you have to be away, you are not left bewildered and lost!
  3. Choose an off day. Everybody needs a day off. So each one chooses an off day. On that day, you should be free to plan and do whatever you want. Of course, this should not be rigid, and you should make concessions for each other when someone is sick, or there is some extra work at the office. But aim at having at least one off day every fortnight.

Dads, if you are not already doing equal parenting, what are you doing? And mums, never ask the question – ‘is dad a babysitter?’ He is not!

(Image source: screengrab, Facebook)

Also, read I am a new dad, and I am depressed. Is this postnatal depression?

 

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Written by

Anay Bhalerao

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