Do you babysit your own children?

When I am out without my kids or my husband, invariably at least one person asks me “oh, so is your husband babysitting?” I always answer “My husband is not babysitting, he is spending quality time with our children”. I take great offense to the assumption that if a father is watching the kids, it is called babysitting!! You would never dream of asking any mom if she babysits her kids – it just would seem an outrageous question, an insult and totally moronic.

So, tell me this, why do so many people call it babysitting when Dad is in charge?!!

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  1. Chanief says:

    I have no idea, and this has always been a pet peeve of mine.

  2. rivkachka says:

    Such a good point! Maybe dads are called “babysitters” because, like with a babysitter, you know your child is safe and entertained, but you also know that things won’t be quite as routine as when you’re running the show (at least in my house that’s how it is).

  3. i totally agree with you. i find it very annoying when people refer to a father taking care of his kids while his wife is out as babysitting his kids. i actually never heard this term until i moved to new york.

  4. batya from NJ says:

    there’s actually a fb group called: “it’s not called babysitting when dad is watching the kids” which i belong to! no, of course it’s not babysitting b/c i’m sure the dad’s not getting paid to watch his own kids but i guess it’s the term that’s sometimes used when a mom is out of the house & dad is home taking care of the kids…

  5. Judit says:

    arrrggghhh … it is similar to the question that I get all the time: “have you thought of adoption?” always coming from people who didn’t have to — because they have their own and would not think of adopting at all. I usually ask back: “have YOU?” OMG, you should see their faces :-)

    I think it’s a great tactic to disarm such morons by asking back: “um, do YOU babysit YOUR children?” And once you do so, please take a picture of their faces and post it in the blog :-)

  6. lady lock and load says:

    A good response to “so, is your husband babysitting?” would be “no, my babysitter couldn’t come so my husband is spending time with and taking care of the children”.
    I think it gets the message across!

  7. batya from NJ says:

    truth is, at least the husband is watching the kids. who really cares what ppl. want to call it?!

  8. Yonit says:

    Babysitting doesn’t always mean for money, but it definitely should be someone else’s children! IMHO at least.

  9. Hadass Eviatar says:

    Because they were raised by a distant, disengaged father and can’t imagine anything else. It is sad.

    • KoD says:

      OR, they were raised by a vindictive, amoral mother who couldn’t and wouldn’t stop herself from poisoning the minds of her children and generally undermining their relationship with their father, who wanted to be close and engaged with them.

    • lady lock and load says:

      So you think that people who say that the father is babysitting are people that had fathers who were distant? Nah, I disagree.

  10. Vicki says:

    Usually the people who say this are moms who micromanage everything in the household pertaining to kids so much that they can’t imagine even their husband doing ANYTHING right for the kids. It really annoys me as well.

  11. Annon says:

    I think that you are taking offense to a figure of speech. You can also question why its called babysitting. Are they actually sitting on the baby? What if its kids not babies?? Point is, its a figure of speech not worth getting all worked up about.

  12. Mark says:

    It’s just another one of those stupid comments that people routinely make. Sometimes I think that half the stuff people say is just meant to fill a void when they don’t have anything intelligent or useful to say.

    Parents DON’T babysit their own children, they may babysit other peoples children, but not their own. When they are with their own children, it’s called parenting (or similar).

  13. Can’t tell you how many time’s I have heard this and it always cracks me up. The very definition of ‘babysitter’ is care of children given by someone other than the parents.

    Let me ask you this: do you ever say, when asked ‘what are you doing?” that YOU are babysitting your kids?


  14. batya from NJ says:

    but in the scheme of things, does it really make a difference if it’s called babysitting, watching or taking care of his kids. like i said, at least he’s taking care of them & not being a dead-beat dad ;)!

    • Mark says:

      batya – & not being a dead-beat dad

      I always thought that “dead beat dad” means a dad who after being divorced doesn’t pay the bills he agreed to pay in the divorce decree. Am I wrong?

      • batya from NJ says:

        MY own interpretation of a dead-beat dad is not limited to someone who is divorced & not paying the bills but rather any dad who is not living up to his responsibilities of being a dad which includes watching one’s children occasionally…

        • Mark says:

          batya – occasionally

          ???? Pretty much, whenever my wife isn’t with the kids, I am (outside of school, playdates, etc of course). What do you mean by “occasionally”? We can count on one hand the number of times our kids had babysitters over the last 11 years that we’ve had kids. And that’s not including grandparents, which would properly be termed “occasionally”!

          • batya from NJ says:

            well, i was going to write occasionally or as often as needed but i skipped that part out-guess i shouldn’t have ;)!

          • batya from NJ says:

            i should add that my youngest child is 11 & my oldest is 19 so we are really beyond the babysitting years at my place…

          • Mark says:

            Different perspectives :-)

            Our oldest is 11.

    • sara maimon says:

      It makes a difference because it implies that it is the mom’s and only the mom’s responsibility to watch the kids.

      • batya from NJ says:

        Sara, all i think it implies is that typically moms DO tend to have the bulk of the responsibility when it comes to raising the kids & running the household. of course, there are always exceptions & some guys are more of the Mr. Mom type than their wives but in general I think it IS the mom who is mostly with the kids (at least it certainly was when my kids were younger & even though I worked part-time or was in school, I was more of the child-care provider while my husband was more of the bread-winner (working more than full-time to ‘bring home the (kosher?) bacon’) which was fine with me! That said, I don’t know if I ever referred to my husband’s watching of the kids as ‘babysitting’ but I think it’s irrelevant. I don’t think the term babysitting is a bad terminology per se. I’ve certainly referred to my older kids watching my younger ones as babysitting (& even without pay despite my earlier comment that babysitting often involves payment-so i take that comment back) but again, i think it’s just a figure of speech & not something that i feel needs to be over-analyzed.

  15. batya from NJ says:

    yup, been there done that :)!

  16. DAHL says:

    Is the KOD a king? Is he a diamond? Which country does he rule? What cut is he? Point his people call things a bit diff then what you would like. It doesn’t make a father less of a father if he says he “babysits”. Live and let live.

  17. Annon says:

    My wife says she “babysits” our son. An Insult? moronic? HARDLY!! Does that make her a bad mother???? Its a figure of speech, people! Just because people call something a term YOU and maybe some other people find “insulting” remember that there are other people in this world. I frankly find it insulting that you think its insulting. There are many other things that should “insult” you about parenting. You will be a more effective person all around if you stop finding the negative in things people might do a little diff then you.

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