things that irk me #152

Men (particularly my coworkers) who describe themselves as “babysitting” when they are simply taking care of their own children in the absence of their spouse.

Does this bug anyone else?

I confess, I can’t stop myself, I say it every time. “It’s not babysitting if you’re taking care of your own children. It’s parenting.”

(guess not all of my brain is consumed by non-bloggy thoughts)


June 28, 2007. random other things.


  1. CamiKaos replied:

    Oh I’m over here with you, I don’t think it bugs me as much as it enrages me! I was just talking with a friend about it…

  2. J. replied:

    It always really bothered me when my ex-wife would refer to me as babysitting our kids. Or say something like she needed me to “watch the kids”. Maybe that’s one of the reasons we split up.

  3. Mere replied:

    Oh yeah, right there with you. Bugs the spit outta me.

  4. MetroDad replied:

    I’m with you 100%, LM. This drives me nuts. Almost as much as when men say, “WE’RE pregnant.”

  5. Phil replied:

    It’s only “parenting” when the dad knows how to actually parent. Sadly, many of them do not. So “babysitting” may be the more appropriate description.

  6. elise replied:

    I would always wait for my husband to get home from work before going shopping so I didn’t have to bring the kids and I can’t tell you how many times other women would marvel at the fact that I was “able to let him watch them”. They would “never be able to do that”. I always felt the attitude that these other mothers had perpetuated the martyr/hero syndrome with the guys that did “parent” their kids. “Oh look at me, I’m such a great Dad because I watch my kids sometimes!” Well, why the heck wouldn’t you!?!

    I guess I was extra brave since I would even “let” my husband watch a tiny infant.

  7. Catherine replied:

    Oh, absolutely it drives me nuts. Though, sadly, Phil has a point.

    What do your cow-orkers who make these comments say when you call them on it?

  8. Ginger replied:

    This bugs my husband, too. Because I have always worked every other Saturday (and he has always had the kids to himself every other Sat)it is just part of our lives. He hates it when people say to him, “Oh, are you babysitting, today?” with good reason.

  9. Anjali replied:

    Hate that. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard a dad say it, in fact. I was hope the phrase was phasing itself out…

  10. Leggy replied:

    Ugh- that would drive me crazy. I don’t hear it that much from people, but if I did, it would drive me insane.

  11. landismom replied:

    Usually, when I call them on it, they sort of stammer. I had this long conversation once with my boss about how figuring out who was going to pick up my kids when landisdad and I both had to work late was not a ‘childcare problem.’

  12. Susan replied:

    I hate that, too. And the accompanying irritation, when someone asks a father who’s with his kids “are you babysitting today?”

  13. alala replied:

    Hm. But parenting isn’t something you only do when your spouse is absent. There needs to be a word for the situation of temporarily having sole responsibility for your children. What do you say when a friend wants you to go out for a beer but your spouse isn’t home? “Sorry, I can’t; I’m parenting”?

    Regarding the “we’re pregnant,” well, perhaps this reveals too much about the situation I grew up in, but I tend to be happy when a dad seems to think he’s somehow involved in the process. It’s a lot better than “she went and got herself pregnant.”

  14. Library Lady replied:

    It always drives me craziest when I’m on line for consignment sales that SPECIFY “no kids” and there are two moms with the kids tearing about commiserating about having no one to “babysit”.

    Apparently their spouses are incapable of that task, never mind parenting!

    Thing is, when I had to go out of town for a week when my dad was sick, the Man took over with very little briefing from me, and I wasn’t worried in the least about what was happening to the girls. What would these moms do in a pinch?

  15. thordora replied:

    I’m lucky my husband doesnt act like that-but I’ve beat a few guys over the head about it as well. Idiots.

  16. Kathryn replied:

    I used to work with a guy who would say he had “nanny duty” whenever he had to take over for his wife. Every, single, time. And every single time it bugged the heck out of me. A double whammy of “nanny” and “duty”. Ugh.

  17. Jeff replied:

    I am with you. Sadly, like Phil said, it probably is babysitting to them – so they are using the correct word for what it is that they are actually doing. Most likely, they “kill that time” by plopping them in front of the tube or something passive to keep those pesky kids out of their hair (god forbid an adult parent interact with their own children!) So yeah, that is not parenting at all and I guess you should take offense if they seriously considered their time alone with their own children as parenting. Since that would insult all of us who actually get involved with our own kids.
    Ok, that was the wordiest comment I have ever written. sorry

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