This dad’s funny list gives plenty of alternatives to calling him a “babysitter”
Despite all the progress dads are making in the parenting game, there are still some people who look at us as second-class parents. But even if you do value dads as equal partners in the parenting process, you might still be guilty of seeing a dad out and about with his kids and thinking, or even saying, that he’s babysitting.
Dads don’t like that. One doesn’t babysit one’s own children. And because nobody ever sees a mother with her kids and assumes she’s on babysitting duty because Dad isn’t around. It’s not so much the term that rankles, but the implication that Dad is merely backup, around in case of emergency, not to actually parent, but to keep the kids alive, and occupied, until Mom gets home and it’s back to business.
It’s never bothered me much; at worst, it’s ignorant people being ignorant, and at best, it’s semantics. (Besides, being accused of babysitting your kids is better than being accused of kidnapping them, which is another ridiculous, truly offensive thing that happens almost exclusively to dads!) Seth King, who runs the hilarious Instagram account “Late Notes”, on which he shares funny parenting-related notes, recently had some fun with semantics when he created a list of titles he’ll accept in lieu of babysitting.
My favorite is “How Sharp Are The Knives??”
Clearly, with that list, Seth is both voicing his frustrations and having some fun with the idea of dads being nothing but irresponsible, fun-loving, not-so-much-parents-as-playmates. Mothers and fathers may have slightly different parenting styles, but every single person on earth has a different parenting style. The important thing is that we’re actually parenting.
Judging by the list of things Seth included in his Instagram post, it seems pretty clear to me that he is parenting. It definitely seems similar to what goes on in my house.
Every day is a “Dadpocalypse” around here, and my son just got finished singing songs from both “Hamilton” and The Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine,” so all we need is love and a long porta-potty line and it will definitely feel like Fatherpalooza. The less said about “Forts & Farts” the better, but do not go in there!
Also on target are the “Wrestlemania” and “Model trains & carpet stains” entries. Right this minute, I am trying to clean chocolate off the rug while my five-year-old repeatedly jumps off the couch and onto my back.
Of course, the most accurate title of all is his last one: parenting. That’s what Seth does, and what I do, and what most dads out there in the trenches do every day. We don’t babysit our own kids, we parent. And so long as you actually do that, it hardly matters what you call it.
Happy Father’s Day!