I’m Not Babysitting!

This picture was taken some time in 1969, I think. Daddy’s feeding me. Of course, right? Daddies take care of babies.

That’s what I internalized as a young child, anyway.

I didn’t learn until sometime later than Daddy’s involvement in my brother, and my care was a little unusual for the time. He changed diapers. He got up in the night with children. He was there for bathtime and cuddling and putting to bed routines. Well, sometimes the evening wrestling matches with Daddy got us too spun up to sleep, but hey, they were fun!

He did what we accept now as something any parent would do – be involved with and care for the kid. It wasn’t just Daddy being there for playtime, as obviously, he was, but Daddy being there for routine care, too.

However, if he were out and about with us, but without Mom, some man was sure to comment, “Babysitting the kids today?”

That used to drive him up a wall. As far as he was concerned, parents don’t babysit. They care for their kids. Yeah, fathers, too!

This was a time when there were fathers who’d brag they’d never changed a diaper – as if that’s something to brag about. It was a time when plenty of men considered it okay to work, come home and zone out in front of the TV while Mom got the kids to bed.

Dad wasn’t trying to be a feminist, I think. When we’ve talked about it, what Daddy generally says is that he wanted to be involved with us and considered the work of caring for us as part of that.

I consider myself lucky to have had a nurturing father.

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