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Babysitting v. Parenting...

The other night during one of our "all you can eat buffet" nursing sessions Little Paul and I were watching the Fine Living Channel, pretending that we were vacationing in Maui and not sitting on a couch in frigid Massachusetts.  During a commercial break they showed a segment (sponsored by somebody or other, I think it was a laundry detergent) about how to make life easier for your husband if you go on a girls' weekend and leave him with the kids.  The tips were things like the following:

  • Cook meals ahead of time and leave them in the fridge with explicit directions.  Show him how to turn on and use the oven.
  • Lay out outfits for each child.  Label them for the various days/activities.
  • Write up a list with all important phone numbers on it such as doctors, grandparents, friends, etc.
  • Write down the daily schedule so that your husband knows when the kids should have a bath, brush their teeth, etc.
  • Make sure to thank him profusely for babysitting when you get home from your trip.
Now I know that I'm a lucky woman.  My husband can cook for himself.  He does most of our laundry, takes charge of bath time for LP, and could probably figure out how to use the vacuum cleaner if he needed to.  He knows that if it's cold out LP needs to be dressed warmer, and that he should wear a hat if they go outside. 

I'm sure there are men out there who aren't capable of some of these things.  I'm sure there are guys who can't cook or who send their kids to school in outfits that don't match perfectly.  I know that I pretty much hit the jackpot in that department.  So I was ok with the first few tips from the detergent folks. 

But that last tip??  The one about thanking him for babysitting?  Sure, you should absolutely thank your husband for letting you have some time on your own.  I shower Paul with thanks when I get to run to CVS for 15 minutes without the baby- it's fabulous (and important!) to have some "me time."  BUT.... I don't thank him for babysitting.  To quote Wikipedia "Babysitting is the practice of temporarily caring for a child on behalf of the child's parents."  So a dad watching the kids for the weekend is NOT babysitting.  He's PARENTING.  He's doing his JOB, not a FAVOR for the mom...

Last night I had a haircut appointment.  Paul took charge of LP while I went out for a while.  I was chatting with the stylist and mentioned that this weekend I'm helping a friend of mine shop for a wedding dress and would be out most of Saturday.  And guess what she said to me?  "Is your husband babysitting??"

Ugh. 


1-6-2009 9-29-16 PM20 by you.

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