Dads Don’t Babysit

Dads Don’t Babysit

Mr. Large in ChargeThe other night I read Mr. Large In Charge by Jill Murry to the children as their bedtime story. The story told how Mrs. Large woke up feeling sick so Mr. Large sent her back to bed promising to take charge while she goes back to bed. For the rest of the day Mr. Large and the children are cleaning, dusting and tidying while Mrs. Large tries to sleep and recover. The only problem is, many things go wrong while the family tries to do all the chores that she usually does so effortlessly and the result is that Mrs. Large’s day is not as restful as she had hoped!

While I was reading the story I reflected on my own family situation and how on some days it really gets to me that I am the one who has to pick up toys, do the dishes, prepare meals, wake up early to make breakfast, etc.  Sometimes it gets frustrating and I work myself into such a state without verbalizing my feelings to my husband.

On those days when I do complain he always says that all I have to do is ask for help. I always angrily retort that we are both the parents so it’s not my sole responsibility to take care of everything and to delegate. Who made me the boss of everyone?

I’ve tried to delegate a few times but every time I do I just end up re-doing the chores or taking over. As the mom I do things to a certain standard and I feel as though they don’t put in as much effort as I do.

One weekend I attended a conference which required me to stay away from home for most of the weekend. I was so worried about how the family would cope without me there to take care of them that it almost stole some of the joy and excitement of going!

I left the house on the second morning full of trepidation imagining all sorts of calamities like the upstairs windows not being locked, kids catching a cold running around with snotty noses and wearing only vests in the morning chill, left to starve or fed Nik Naks for breakfast by dad and plonked in-front of the TV all day until I walked into the messy home at night time to cook and clean. I worried and fretted like this for the whole week leading up to the conference.

I don’t think I’m alone in this. I think that as moms we do preempt our husbands inability to take care of the home and kids without really allowing them to prove themselves.

To my surprise I received a text message during the conference, it was a picture of my two kids sparkling clean, wearing clean clothes with hair very neatly brushed with the caption “Look at our pretty babies. Enjoy yourself, everything is fine on the home front.

By the time we finished up and I arrived home much later that night, I walked into a clean and quiet house. The laundry basket was empty, clothes dried and folded, the floors were shining, everyone was happy to see me and food was waiting for me on the stove. Like a boss!

When I complimented my husband on a babysitting job well done he said to me…

Dads don’t babysit – it’s called parenting!

In saying that he was reminding me of a blog post we read recently called “Dads don’t babysit” by dad blogger Al Ferguson. You can read it here:

In thinking back on that weekend and reading the story of the Large family I had an epiphany:

  • The main reason why I am always doing everything is because I want it done in a certain way, I want perfection.
  • I never give my husband a chance to share the load because I know he would not do it the way that I would.
  • I never let me kids clean their own rooms or make up their own beds because they don’t make it “mommy-clean”.

Maybe we need to let go

As moms we will continue to drive ourselves in a frenzy of frustration until we learn to let go. I’ve recently taught my kids to make their own beds and even though I cringe when I see their efforts, I don’t dare fix it because they work so hard to please me and look for my approval. So I quell the desire to pull the bed straight and tell them what a great effort they’ve made! They are being independent and that is good enough.

I’ve since stopped nagging my husband (most of the time anyway) about the way in which he does things. I have to remind myself all the time that yes, I am mom. He is not me, he is dad. It’s not possible for us to do things in the same way. But that’s OK. I need to let go.

Moms and Dads may parent differently, but that doesn’t mean that one is better than the other. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Oftentimes, those strengths and weaknesses compliment one another. Dads are amazing. Just like moms are amazing. We need to stop selling ourselves – and each other – short. – See more at:

Tell me if you can relate to this by leaving a comment below. I’d love to hear your opinion!


Anthea O'Neill is a wife and proud mom of three. She is front-end web developer, blogger and a self-proclaimed glitter & yarn addict. Anthea's Project Life is a blog for the modern mom.

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  1. pamela says:

    I’ve been married for 23 years and I learnt early on in my marriage that dads take the lead from moms. They will do exactly what is asked/expected of them. Dads don’t do well with hints. Although when you’re a new mom you want to have your baby all to yourself but allowing dad to get involved right from the beginning would create a presidence going forward. My t-shirts would change colour after every wash dad did but I learnt not to care because I certainly was not going to do the laundry myself. Baby could only be pacified by dad during midnight wake up calls which was great although I was a bit heartsore but I couldn’t have it both ways. To this day my kids still go to dad for guidance with the assurance that mom is somewhere in the background, their guardian angel spreading her wings enveloping them in her love.

  2. I love this post! My husband in 100 ways is a better parent than I am, and he keeps the house better, too, if I’m being honest. I would never think for a second that he was doing me a favor to “watch the kids” when I go out. I completely get what you’re saying that husbands and kids don’t do it the way you would. That’s been a hard one for me to let go of. But I’m learning that if I didn’t get around to doing the laundry, and my husband gets to it, I cannot complain about yet another shrunken shirt. He lives here, and helps here, and I’m grateful.

    1. Anthea says:

      That’s great Michelle that you have a true partnership. xxx

  3. Hi Anthea,

    You could have written that post about me. I am the same way. My hubby is perfectly capable of doing most of what I do, but because he doesn’t do it my way, I do it myself, even though they’re not major jobs. If I peg out the washing one way and hubbie does it another way, does it really matter? Thank you for your post. It has reminded me that I don’t have to do it all on my own. Marriage is a partnership and I seem to forget that sometimes. Fab blog. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Anthea says:

      We definitely don’t give our husbands enough credit you are right in saying it is a partnership. So what if he does it his way, it gets done! 🙂 Saves us much frustration when the load is shared!

  4. Im totally the opposite, luckily my husband is a baker by trade and he is an exceptional cook and parent. We run the house equally and he does the majority of the housework, all the cooking. I have many friends who panic, worry and make a big issue about leaving their partner in charge. It infuriates me. Surely you want your kids to grow up with loving equal relationships if you don’t demonstrate trust and equality how can they practice it in their relationships.

    1. Anthea says:

      It’s so great to hear how different your family situation is. I really admire that you do things equally. What a great example for your kids!

  5. Great post. It’s so true, many of us mums do want things done a certain way but you have to trust that it’s ok to be done differently. And I think children benefit from the different parenting styles and attitudes of mum vs dad. It’s good for children to see that mum doesn’t do everything.

    1. Anthea says:

      I could not agree with you more Sherry! It’s good for the children to see that everyone pitches in instead of mum doing it all. A happy mum means a happy home!

  6. stephanief says:

    I’m not a mom, so I don’t have experience in the field of parenting. I have however seen and heard moms complain about their partners (and children) not helping with the chores……but what I see mostly while I watch from the side lines, is mom not letting go….as you so beautifully write. To moms around the world……let it go… and kids need to learn to do things on their own and children learn from what they see. I’m sure that your kids will soon do the bed the way you do, it will improve with “experience”. Well done though, for letting go, even if it has been in one or two areas only

    1. Anthea says:

      Bless you for that! Moms tend to forget that we are after all, raising sons and daughters that will one day live according to the examples they see now at home so it’s good for the overall family dynamics for everyone to be given responsibility and moms to allow them that.

  7. I can totally relate!
    I’ve plonked out and gone to sleep in the afternoon (which is rare for me) and then when I woke up, the home was upside down, the kids hadn’t had a bath yet, and there was no food ready for anyone! Oh dear!

    I quietly start picking up stuff and making it decent enough for me to sit down next to my husband, who is busy working hard to earn money for all of us. I let him off the hook but sometimes it’s too much. It’s challenging being a mum.

    1. Anthea says:

      I hear you! It’s like they would starve if we did not step up. BUT, I think that dads would also like to be more involved in the day to day. After all – we mums need taking care of too and a happy mum means a happy home 🙂 And it’s never too early to start giving the kids small little responsibilities and sometimes just those little chores they do lighten the load a bit for us.

  8. Great blog! It’s a complicated situation isn’t it, we don,t want full responsibility but we don’t want to relinquish control either!

    …and I remember when my boys were little, I went on a night out and one of the girls asked who was babysitting. I said no one, their dad is home. This, it seemed, was shocking! Lol

    Jane x

    1. Anthea says:

      Thanks Jane! Home is mostly our turf so we usually have to look in the mirror first and see what we can change in ourselves to improve the situation! I think it is about relinquishing control and allowing them to help us. And encouraging the children to pick up after themselves is never a bad thing!

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