Wednesday, September 17, 2008

More than a babysitter

Two little lovers sitting in the tree
First comes, love;
Then comes marriage;
Then comes the baby in the baby carriage.

What is missing from this classic chant is what happens next. See, usually, dad's have to go off to work and earn the money to keep the house running (Thank you!) Moms usually assume the primary role of caring for the home and children (don't inspect either of mine :)) But somehow during that process, a miscommunication develops about caring for children.

You see, there is a worrisome trend I am noticing. Some dads think that when they are left at home with their offspring, that they are babysitting. Seriously, how many dads do you know that have referred to watching their own kids as "babysitting?"

The term "babysit" is defined by Merriam Webster as "to care for children usually during a short absence of the parents."

I hate to break it to you dads, but it IS NOT babysitting to stay home with your OWN CHILDREN. Nope. Not at all. Just because mom steps out of the picture for a moment doesn't mean dads are just babysitting. Lets look at this squarely.

Dad sponsors spawn. Spawn grows up to be adorable-faced, little chubby creature. Dad lives in the home with said creature and refers to it as SON or DAUGHTER. Dad teaches son or daughter about important things. He reads them books. Sings them songs. Dad takes his son or daughter on special outings. He hugs them when they are sad and kisses them when they are hurt. Dad gives little ones priesthood blessings of healing and comfort. He worries for them. He prays for them. He does the difficult things like holding them down for a shot or pulling a tooth. Dads bring comfort to homes - a peace that is only present when the children are safe, protected and cared for. Dads go to work day after day when ,what they would really rather do is stay home and hold their babies.

This is definitely not the work of a "babysitter." This is the work of someone irreplaceable. Someone needed. Someone so important that a family can not be whole without him. This is a dad.

So dad's, next time you have to stay home with the kids while mom is out spending your hard earned money or having a girls night out. Don't reduce yourself to only a "babysitter." You are far more important than that. You are a dad. A father.

And, to the father of my children, thank you. Thank you for being this kind of dad.


Erin said...

YES, YES, YES! When she is in town my mom often asks if Jesse will be ok babysitting and I have to remind her that they are his children and he is fine to be with them, he is NOT babysitting!

Tami said...

You are SO right about this--and I have had to explain this, not only to my hubby, but to my kids as well. These are YOUR brothers and sisters--taking care of them is just part of being in a family! LUCKY YOU!!!