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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
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.
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.


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

Too Strict

Forever Young