In the years that we have been parents, my husband has never once babysat our children. Ever.
Are you surprised? He is a doting father who loves his children, after all.
Also, I have never asked him to babysit our children. Nope. Not once.
I will tell you why: fathers are parents, not babysitters.
Fathers are not babysitters.
A babysitter’s role is to provide care and keep a watchful eye on children during the temporary absence of their parents. Fathers and mothers are both parents, not babysitters.
I never thought about this much until we had children ourselves. One day a male friend of ours said, “I get to babysit tomorrow.” I asked him, “Whom are you babysitting?” I thought he was going to be watching the neighbor kids or something! He said he was going to babysit his kids. I told him, “Nope. That is not called babysitting. That is called parenting. You don’t babysit your own kids. You are their father.” He gave me a strange look at first, but then a little light went on in his mind and he smiled. It was the difference of one word.
How, as a mother, would I feel if I was called a babysitter every time I took care of our kids when my husband was not home?
Personally, I would feel less important, as if I just had a temporary position and was waiting for the real parent to show up and take over. I would feel like I was a helper and an assistant, not an equal partner in our parenting responsibilities. My confidence would be low, afraid I might make mistakes and upset my husband.
How do I value my spouse?
As a wife and mother, do I trust my husband as a parent? As a father and husband, does my husband trust me as a parent?
Do we believe in and trust each other, or do we show a lack of faith in each other?
What we believe and say about ourselves impacts how we act. What our spouse believes and says about us impacts how we see ourselves and thus how we act in light of those beliefs.
When I constantly criticize my husband and nit-pick at him about his parenting skills, I undermine his confidence and set myself up as superior to him. The same goes for him if he constantly criticizes me.
We certainly can discuss any issues we have and work to find common ground. This is more productive to our relationship and our parenting than criticizing each other.
When we trust ourselves and each other, we are better parents.
Fathers are parents.
My husband has never and will never babysit our children. I do not want him to. I want him to value his role as a father and I want for he and I to have the mindset and understanding that we are equal as parents.
We each have our own parenting style, but that is part of the beauty of a family: we are each unique. Our different styles can complement each other as we work together to be the best parents we can be for our children.