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Megan Howarth Headshot

My Husband Is Not The Babysitter

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It almost never fails. I'll be out of the house without my husband, doing something a normal human being might do: eating lunch with a friend, visiting a family member, going to a show, whatever.

If I bump into someone they will ask me, "Where are the kids?!" as if I left them abandoned under a bridge. Or they'll say "Who's babysitting the boys?" Somehow it doesn't occur to them that it could be possible that their FATHER is caring for them during that time.

"Oh, Pete is babysitting? That's so nice."

My answer is always the same: "They are with their father. No, he isn't babysitting. It's called PARENTING when it's your own child."

father playing with kids beach
(Photo: Hero Images via Getty Images)

I feel like pulling a Justin Trudeau on them and smugly adding "Because it's 2017."

Is it so crazy that a grown woman with children might want to leave the house and do something without the other members of her family? And when she is doing said activity, her partner (the person she decided to raise children with) would be responsible and care for their children in her absence?!

No, I am not "lucky" to have married a man who takes care of his children. It wasn't luck that made me choose a partner who I thought would be a good father. I'm also not forcing him into doing this. Can you imagine that maybe my husband actually wants to participate in the rearing of his kids and happily spends time with them DAILY? Even if he didn't, he would still have to. Why? Because they are his kids, too!

Why does there need to be a default parent?

Since the very beginning of our parenting relationship, my husband and I have been partners when it comes to caring for the kids.

Yes, I spent a lot of time breastfeeding and doing the nighttime parenting when they were younger, but I have breasts (he doesn't) and I was on maternity leave. But now, with both of us working and lucky enough to have flexible jobs, we have to juggle and balance it together.

Isn't that how it should be? Why does there need to be a default parent?

father feeding child
(Photo: US Girl via Getty Images)

Like many kids, mine have preferences about who will help them with what. I'm the kisser and hugger of hurt limbs, and my husband is the singer of bedtime songs and the master Lego builder. But, if one of us is gone for a long period of time, we are both so well versed in all aspects of caring for our kids that we can both take care of any and all of their needs.

I don't believe that there is anything special about my marriage. My husband wasn't raised by a strong feminist mother and his father was a very traditional working dad who came home, poured a Scotch and read the paper. I think it's a combination of me not standing for anything less than equality (even then, sometimes I'm the one feeling more like the babysitter!) and a great husband who is willing and available to play an active role.

My husband isn't the babysitter, he's the father of our children.

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