So when did a father, or mother really, watching their own child start to be considered baby sitting?
Let me explain… This past Saturday I went out for a girl friends birthday and ‘C’ watched Maddie. The group of people I was with are mostly parents, some single others not, so a fairly frequent question going around would be ‘Who has your kids tonight?’. My answer of course was ‘At home with her Daddy’. Simple enough right?
‘Wow, he’s baby sitting?’ would be a general response.
‘No, he’s watching his child, like I do during the day.’ Sometimes I would get a little snotty. Not always fair but you can’t help it sometimes.
‘C’ and I are together so we don’t have to work out visitations or anything like that, which makes everything much simpler but even if we weren’t togehter I don’t believe a parent looking after their own child is baby sitting. Baby sitting is what a grand parent does, what a teenager does. Even if we were no longer together either of us watching the baby while the other is out to me is not baby sitting, it’s this funny little thing called parenting.
Maddie will be 3 months on the 25th. Since her birth I have gone out two times for friends birthdays, both times for less then 6 hours and once with my mother last week to get a new Breast Pump for about 4 hours. Everytime I was out ‘C’ was with Maddie. Is that baby sitting? I don’t think so. Is it baby sitting when I’m at home with her all day and her Daddy is at work? No, so why do we as women and a society say it is when Daddy watches his children for only a few hours?
In less then 48 hours ‘C’ is leaving for South Carolina for 5 days. I will be alone with the baby for the first time without him to help after a long day of feedings, diapers and pumping and yet I don’t hear anyone praising me for being a mom and taking care of my baby. I’ll miss him and will miss the help in the evenings but I know it’s something he’s excited for and will be good for him to go out and do something non parenting related. I hope he has a wonderful time, but also know he’ll miss the 2 of us the entire time as well.
I know that I would go crazy to not be able to see her whenever I wanted but I still need some time to myself if even for only an hour to read and that’s when ‘C’ helps pick up the slack. I appreciate it greatly, but I won’t turn it into something it’s not. Parents are supposed to look after their kids, it’s how we as a species survive when we’re so young and defenceless. I also know that it is different as the parent who works full time to then be the primary care giver when the other parent isn’t around, it’s hard but has to be done. Especially since when I ask ‘C’ to do it 95% of the time I’m literally a room away and just taking a short breather. I won’t beg him to look after her and I won’t apologize for needing some grown up time for myself either, but I do ask and say thank you.
I’m not belittling anyone who takes care of children (I was a nanny for some time), just reminding people that there’s a difference between parenting and baby sitting, and that you cannot be baby sitting when it’s your baby/child.