I get this question a lot. People who ask this question do not mean any harm by asking it and I know that, but it still drives me bananas. It’s a question that has been asked time-after-time during my months of being a working mom. It can be constant especially when I have to work late or on weekends.
“Who is watching your daughter?” A woman asks me.
“Nobody.” I reply in a snarky tone.
“Really?” She asks in shock.
“I decided that my toddler is independent enough to stay home alone, cook herself a dinner, and tuck herself into bed. She is well-advanced.”
Realizing I am clearly joking (I hope she does anyways), “Is your husband watching her?” She continues and prods.
“Yes, he is at home with them” is what I kindly say to her because I don’t have the energy (after a 12 hour shift).
This is what I REALLY want to say to her and anyone who asks if my husband is “watching” our children:
No, my husband doesn’t watch our children.
He is not a hired babysitter.
I do not pay him a hourly rate, nor did I run a background check on him. Granted I did interview him through numerous dates and debates about how we would parent and raise our children and he passed with flying colors. Additionally, he passed because I experienced a sneak preview to his parenting skills and was blown away by his patience, warmth and love that he has for his own child, my stepson who was then seven years old.
He doesn’t spend hours on his phone or watching television like a hired teenage babysitter might be known to do from time-to-time.
He doesn’t simply “watch” his children from a distance or from the sidelines. He takes our toddler on daddy/daughter dates and spends quality time with his son.
He is their first love. Their protector of all things bad.
He is who my daughter and stepson want to see after a long day of school or daycare.
He wants to be the one to tuck them in at night because kissing them goodnight can make all of the day’s problems disappear in a blink of an eye.
In today’s society, Dads (especially Dads from divorce) don’t get a lot of credit where credit is due. With families where both parents work, Dads sometimes have to pick up the slack and take on the tasks that are seen as “Mom” duties. Why is it when Dad’s work late or travel, they are not asked who is watching their child(ren)? It’s always assumed that the kids are at home with the mom. I guess that’s just because it’s how it’s always been. Yet, history shows us that just because it’s a tradition, doesn’t necessarily make it right.
When my husband and I decided to have a baby while both working full-time, we committed to juggle parenthood equally and most importantly – together.
I want to believe that I could be the best mother all by myself, but in my heart I know I couldn’t be the best happy mom that I am without the support of my husband.
The 50/50 division of parenting roles doesn’t always work for everybody and that is okay.
You do what works best for you and your family!
How we operate today may not work for tomorrow and that too is okay. If life and motherhood has taught me anything, it’s that change is one thing you can depend on.
Let’s change our mindset and be open to the idea that Dads can be called Dads, not “Mr. Mom” when they are simply being amazing parents for their children.