Dads don’t babysit; it’s called parenting

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National At Home Dad Network, stay at home dad, dadds, babysit, babysitting, parenting

I’ve just taken delivery of this t-shirt. It’s something of a cult item amongst us stay at home dads that’s been produced and sold by the US-Based National At Home Dad Network (NAHDN).

As you can perhaps tell, the NAHDN wants to get the message across that dads don’t babysit. Unfortunately it is something I have been accused of in the past.

On one memorable occasion, just after the birth of my two year old daughter Elizabeth, a woman I’d never met asked if she could hold my new born. She promptly and repeatedly informed me I was babysitting in front of her own adult daughter…who looked absolutely mortified and sprang to my defence saying “no he’s just being a dad.”

Of course it’s not unheard of for men to refer to themselves as babysitting when looking after their kids. I feel very dismayed when I hear this. It’s not how fathers should portray themselves at all.

Anyway, the NAHDN is a non-profit organisation. It provides support, education and advocacy for men who are the main caregivers to their children. It also has a fantastic Facebook group for stay at home fathers that I regularly visit.

So what do you think, does the t-shirt suit me?

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8 thoughts on “Dads don’t babysit; it’s called parenting”

  1. Fiona @ Free Range Chick

    The shirt suits you, John. I want one. But that would be confusing, wouldn’t it? Actually, it would suit a handful of dads I’m planning to accost for the purpose of a Father’s Day post that involves a Haynes Manual on being a dad. One of these men is a part-time SAHD, and the other does night duty as well as working a full-time, hectic working week.

    Right, this comment is the very reason why one should never venture onto the internet after being given mojitos by her husband.

    Incidentally, no, you’re not babysitting, you are indeed being a parent.

    1. I see no reason why a woman couldn’t wear one of these t shirts. WOuld send out quite a powerful message actually. Hope the mjoitos were good.

  2. I think sometimes the parent that works outside the home refers to it as babysitting in deference to the primary caretaker – they spend the most time with them so parenting is their role. Of course everyone gets uncomfortable if it’s suggested that a school or nursery is parenting. If you choose to take on the task you’re a parent, there’s no wriggling out of it (I’ve tried).

    1. Thanks for commenting Charlene. I’m gonna be honest, the idea that a parent would use such a phrase in “deference” to the main carer makes me uncomfortable. You’re still a parent regardless of whether you are the main carer or not. Parenting shouldn’t just be doen to the main carer’s role. I would suggest that usually such langauge in such a way is very unhealthy and suggests a relationship in crisis. Althoguh that’s just my opinion!

    1. Ah, yes, men who claim to be babysitting are letting the side down somewhat. I hate to hear the phrase. Glad you like the t-shirt Hayley.

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