“Oh my gosh! You’re out! Who is with the baby?”
“That’s so great that your husband will babysit!”
“Oh goodness, what does he DO when he’s home with her?”
These are all phrases that I have heard countless times since becoming a parent. They never cease to amaze or confuse me. My husband doesn’t babysit his child, he is a father to her.
Every marriage has it’s own structure. It’s own, “division of labor”, if you will. For us, since we both work, the child care duty is a fairly even split. This has required me to sing “Let it Go” on more than one occasion, but ultimately my husband is a 100% capable father.
Well, maybe with the exception of baby fashion.
Ashton Kutcher has grabbed headlines for his frustration of the lack of changing tables in men’s restrooms. And recently, my husband had an instance where he was SO THANKFUL for a changing table in the men’s room. He took our daughter to the doctor when she was sick, and when he arrived…well, I think we’ve all been there with one of THOSE diapers, so I’ll spare you the details.
When he called me at work to fill me in on the ordeal one of the first questions out of my mouth was, “Oh my gosh. Was there a changing table for you?”
And then it came: that gut check that said, “why did I even have to ask that?” Because OF COURSE there should be a changing table in the men’s room.
I think most would agree that family structures are getting more and more diverse. We have stay at home moms and dads, families where both parents work, families with two mommies or two daddies…shouldn’t we all have the opportunity to take care of our children? Shouldn’t we have the expectation that a man is just as likely as a woman to be changing a baby in public?
Kutcher elaborated on his original post and said:
“The source of my ire is solely directed upon the businesses that consciously decide to install changing tables in women’s restrooms, but not in the men’s restrooms (and have no Family restrooms, either). They’re fine with young children visiting their establishments, but if they soil themselves, there better be a woman around to take care of it.”
Society is moving away from child care being solely “women’s work”. If we are going to raise our daughters with the (awesome) Like A Girl mentality, shouldn’t we also show our daughters and sons that dad is just as capable of taking care of them? Having changing stations in women’s restrooms, but not in the men’s, essentially says, “Only a woman can do this.”
And if that’s not crazy, I don’t know what is.
As moms, I think it’s sometimes hard to let go of “our way” and just let dad be dad. I don’t know that this specifically solves the changing table issue at hand, but it has to be a step in the right direction.
Does my husband handle bath time the exact way that I would? Nope. But the important thing is that he does it nearly every night. All by himself. Even though this requires me to ignore exclamations like “WHOA! Why did you do that?”
Let’s give our husbands the opportunity to be caretakers. Let’s have high expectations for them as parents. Let’s usher in a mentality of equal opportunity parenting.
Take a deep breath, and let dad be dad. He’s a father, not a babysitter, after all.
What do you have to “let go” and let your husband handle when it comes to caring for your kiddos? What can we as moms be doing to encourage public places to be more “dad friendly”?