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!