Passionate About the Memphis area
and the Moms Who Live Here

Yes, You Can Call My Husband “Babysitter”

I was having a conversation with some mom friends and one of them made an upset remark about how someone asked her if her husband would “babysit” while she grabbed coffee with friends. My friend was angry at this person because they dared call her children’s father a “babysitter.”

“So?” was my response.

Oops. The whole group must have whiplash after the speed of the head swivel toward me in that comment.

“Well, it doesn’t really bother me when people call my husband a babysitter. In fact, I’ve called him that before,” I continued.

More stares. Then silence. Then an awkward change of subject.

Okay, okay … maybe my “so?” comment had a little less empathy than it could (should?) have in this particular situation.

However, I still don’t see a major problem using the term “babysitter” in reference to my friend’s husband. In light of this conversation, I asked my own husband if he gets offended when people call him a babysitter to his own kids. His quizzical look preceded the question, “Why? Do people get offended by that?”

So, yes, you can call my husband a babysitter.

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Heck, you can even call ME a babysitter, if you’d like.

I do understand why people sometimes put on their armor when the dreaded “B” word is spoken in regards to a parent. When used, it can sometimes imply a lack of long-term care and raising of children on the parents’ behalf. And in that case, I absolutely understand.

However – for the most part – it doesn’t bother me.

Because – for the most part – I believe it isn’t used in that connotation. I believe most husbands and dads wish to be or are already heavily involved in raising their children. (I realize this is not always the case, so please read that last sentence with objectivity.)

If I need to go to the grocery store, I may ask my husband to “babysit” the kids, so he is aware that he’s the only adult around. If I need to take a shower, I may ask my husband to “watch” the kids, so he can be ready to help them if a need arises. I don’t expect him to necessarily engage with the kids every second I am away or busy.

Because babysitting is the easy stuff.

It includes making sure a child is fed and stays safe. It is having fun playing games and keeping the house from burning down. It is having an adult around “just in case.” So yes – sometimes my husband “babysits” … And (gasp!) sometimes I do, too.

But not just anybody can be a parent. That job description belongs to me and my husband. While we can do stuff a hired babysitter can do, that babysitter can’t do what we do.

Because parenting is the hard stuff.

It requires not only the babysitting tasks, but also molding children into respectable teenagers and then adults. It’s beyond kissing a skinned knee, but healing a child’s hurt feelings. It’s beyond teaching their ABCs, but teaching about work ethic. It’s beyond feeding a child spaghetti-o’s, but feeding their souls.

So yes – feel free to call my husband a babysitter. But also feel free to call him a parent.

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2 Responses to Yes, You Can Call My Husband “Babysitter”

  1. Becky June 8, 2016 at 1:18 AM #

    Interesting outlook.

    I don’t call my husband “babysitter” because it can imply a lack of long-term care and raising of children on his behalf. It makes it seem optional, at the desire of the babysitter to choose to babysit, not the duty of the parent to be involved. That is exactly how my husband used to act when regarding our children. He would leave on a whim to go backpacking even if I already had plans — then I would have to find a babysitter on short notice or cancel my plans. Even when I went into work on the weekends, he would expect me to take them with me while he would go for a bike ride, a hike, or out to lunch with friends.

    So, I practiced calling him their father and telling him that it’s his responsibility to be their father rather than *asking* him to babysit. “No, you’re not leaving the kids with me at work, you’re their father and you need to spend time with them.”

    Now, if he wasn’t like that, I wouldn’t be offended either (he’s not like that anymore, but I prefer to stick with “father” because of the time invested in training him). But I don’t think it’s wise for women to believe they are the designated care-taker of their children, and think it’s a “burden” to ask their children’s father to watch the kids. It’s not a burden; it’s his duty. He’s their father!

    However, I’m glad your husband steps up to the challenge of parenthood. I theorize it’s why you don’t feel the sting of “babysitter” like some women do.

    Cheers

  2. Kristin Funston
    Kristin Funston June 8, 2016 at 10:27 AM #

    Hey Becky! Thanks so much for weighing in! 🙂 I appreciate your input!! And yes, this article is based on my personal experience with my husband’s involvement in our children’s lives. I do recognize that it is NOT always this way for every family, and I am extremely blessed. Though I definitely agree with you about women thinking THEY are the designated care-taker and think it’s a burden for their husbands. Parenting is for BOTH the mother and father, in my humble opinion. 🙂

    I’m sorry you used to have to rearrange plans like you did to work around your husband’s personal schedule, but glad to hear it is better now than it used to be!!! 🙂

    Thanks again for your comment! 🙂 Much love to you and your fam!