Marriage Parenting Relationships

Dads vs. Babysitters

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Is it babysitting if it’s a dad? I examine the differences between dads and babysitters.

Dads vs. Babysitters

Want to know the latest thing that has people in a tizzy? No, it’s not the idea of a “me-ternity leave.” That was, like, so five days ago.

It’s when someone has the audacity to say that a father is “babysitting” his children. I assume the people who are outraged by this occurrence have conversations that go something like the one I had recently…

ACQUAINTANCE: Who’s babysitting the kids? Your husband?

ME: Yup.

Cue rage in someone who is bothered by the phrases “husband” or “dad” and “babysitting” in the same sentence.

Personally, this doesn’t bother me. Am I out? Yes. Is my husband home, much like a babysitter, taking care of the kids? Yes.

So…where’s the problem?

My friend told me that the issue lies in the fact that if a dad were out at a bar, no one would ask him “Who’s babysitting the kids?” because people just assume that the mom is home with them.

This doesn’t bother me either– I am usually home with the kids and it’s a 24/7 job, so one should assume I’ll be home with them.

However, after I decided to examine this situation further, I came to the conclusion that dads and babysitters are actually very, very different.

Here’s what I mean…

Differences Between Dads & Babysitters

  • One text to the babysitter is all the notice/reminder she needs as to when to come to my house. My husband requires multiple texts, phone calls, sticky notes…and still acts like he has no idea I’m going out tonight!
  • The babysitter requires a list detailing where I’m going, when I’ll be back, my address, doctor’s information, allergy information, and the kids’ schedule. My husband only requires a list detailing where I’m going, when I’ll be back, doctor’s information, allergy information, and the kids’ schedule. (He knows our address. I think.)
  • When the babysitter is here, I come home to a clean kitchen. When my husband is here, I come home to dishes in the sink and empty beer bottles on the counter.
  • When I text the babysitter to check on the kids, she responds. When I text my husband to check on the kids, he responds…sometimes. If he feels like it.




  • The babysitter can watch whatever she wants on TV. My husband can watch whatever he wants, too– except for the shows that we watch together. Which he always seems to watch while I’m out.
  • The babysitter doesn’t make me bring her food home from the restaurant. My husband sometimes does.
  • The babysitter knows that the kids are supposed to be IN BED when I get home. My husband occasionally lets them stay up as a lovely surprise for me when I get home.
  • When I get home, I pay the babysitter and she leaves. My husband, however, remains on the couch once I’m home. And does not leave. Perhaps he is waiting for payment?

So I guess I was wrong. Dads are NOT babysitters, after all.

But they’ll do in a pinch.

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  • Amy
    July 2, 2016 at 6:32 PM

    For me it’s not when a friend asks, it’s when it comes out of a husband’s mouth that it bugs me.
    HUSBAND’S FRIEND: Hey Jim, you want to go to the game on Saturday?

    HUSBAND: (In a poor me, mom won’t let me go out and play tone,) No, I gotta’ babysit!

    Maybe it’s just me, but whenever I hear a man say this I think to myself, “It’s not babysitting when they’re YOUR kids buddy!”

    • Lindsay
      July 3, 2016 at 8:34 AM

      Ahh okay. I’ve never heard that come out of my husband’s mouth. I get it.

    Connect!