Sunday, January 12, 2014

Defining Roles

ba•by-sit also ba•by•sit (b  b -s t )
v. ba•by-sat also ba•by•sat (-s t ), ba•by-sit•ting also ba•by•sit•ing, ba•by-sits also ba•by•sits
v.intr.
1. To take care of a child or children in the absence of a parent or guardian.
2. To take care of or watch over someone or something needing attention or guidance.
v.tr.
1. To provide care for (a child) in the absence of a parent or guardian.
2. To watch over or tend: baby-sat the neighbor's plants for a week.

I don’t often touch on cultural or racial issues but there are times and subjects that warrant it. This is one of those.

By Dictionary standards babysitting is just what it states above, to care for or watch over a child or children while parent or guardian is away.

Growing up I have to admit that this was the word I often heard used when dads stayed home with their children as it was also a word I often used myself to describe my ex staying home with our daughter. As I matured I began to question why I and why the women before me would consider a dad staying with his children babysitting? Why Hispanic women and African American women said babysitting and the Caucasian women said home with daddy?

A lengthy conversation with my daughter enlightened me even more on this issue. I love our talks because it’s like a sounding board for both of us.

We discussed how since the beginning of time Men were providers outside of the home, they were not nurtures. They built our homes, they gathered and hunted the food, and they protected us. We, the women cooked, cleaned, attended things at home and bore and raised the children.

Men did not often play with their children, or read to them or tucked them into bed. Men did not teach their children how to write or how to be playful or interact with others. That was left to the women, the men were strictly providers.

As we evolved so did the male female roles but only in certain parts of the world. The more educated parts of the world, where the men were better off and could afford to stay home or work from home they were able to now become nurturers and learn how to be more loving and engaged in their children’s lives. They didn't have to worry about providing for their families as much outside of the home as oppose to those men with less means that still had to go out and fend for themselves and their families. They still had to work long hours outside the home to provide for their families leaving very little time to nurture their children.

To some degree these ideals still hold some truths but over my past forty (40) so years I can say I have seen some changes.
I can recall many occasions where my ex combed our daughters hair, cooked us dinner, taught our daughter how to play games, engage in sports, helped her dress, went on walks, had lengthy conversations. My list is endless. My youngest brother has been a single parent to my niece for the past twelve (12) years; some of my closest male friends are hands on dad’s and great ones at that. I have also witnessed some firsthand role reversals where the male stayed home and the female was the provider. These are all amazing changes, that I only hope to see continue and grow as time moves on.

I don’t want to see or hear shocked responses to such things as the video I am including in this post. I would hope that in 2014 that becomes more the norm than the exception.

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/super-dad-photo-viral-21486351

What are your thoughts on the “normalcy” of dads investing time with their children?


6 comments:

  1. This is so beautiful, and this is actually my first time to notice/ponder on the "dad is babysitting" it is so true and we really shouldn't encourage this but rather support dads be more at ease and embrace the role. Thank you for the post and video! refreshing :)
    Marwa from Blossomfamily.net
    Found you on the link up :)

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    1. Marwa, thanks for visit and comment :) following via email great page!

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  2. My husband and I often talk about this, and how strange it is that some dads see it as "babysitting" instead of parenting. I keep my husband in the loop of what the kiddo and I have done that day, what she's up to, learning, eating, etc and he loves getting to spend time with her and see these developments to. I think if women really shared all that is going on each day, not just the workload but the fun times too, maybe dads would be more inclined to want to spend QT with the little ones!

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    1. Great point made. More focus should go on the great parts of your day then the ones that aren't so laughable. Thanks for visit and comment Me&Babye :)

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  3. I love that men are more involved, and I also have caught myself saying my husband babysat. I don't mind it most times, but it's funny to say that now. As I try to wean my daughter from my breast, my husband has to take her for longer periods of time. But he's taking his daughter, not babysitting. Thanks for linking up with Turn it Up Tuesdays!

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    1. April, welcome. Thanks for visit and comment. Loving TIUT!!! Babysitting lol it does sound funny doesn't it :)

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