I am Dad, and I do not baby sit

Just a quick update. Tonight my lovely wife is taking the evening to spend some time with other moms in our area in the monthly Mom’s night out. They get together and discuss issues of homeschooling, motherhood, and a whole range of other topics.

This means that I am home with the kids. But I am not the baby sitter. Honestly, this is one of my favorite things to do, spend time with my kids at home. As much as I like getting out and doing things, I am away from home a fair amount and I like being home. And getting a chance to just be dad with the kids is a ball.

I am not trying to brag here, just letting you know that as a dad I don’t slack off. My wife left the house within 20 minutes of me getting home. She had not made dinner although we do have a weekly meal plan, since she had been out of the house most of the day and ended up with one sick kid she had done nothing to prepare for it. (I knew what was on the list and didn’t expect her to either.) So I made dinner while playing with the kids and supervising pre dinner clean up. By making dinner I mean I looked at the meal plan and made hearty Italian soup (from scratch) and rolls to go with it. Ok I cheated a little and used a can of rolls, but still.

After dinner we prayed a decade of the rosary, something we have been failing to do most of this week, I assigned after dinner chores, I put the grumpy 2 year old and the sick child to bed. I loaded the dish washer (because I had only managed to match my two older boys in our pushup competition so that meant I had to help (more on that later)) started a load of diapers, read to all the kids who wanted stories and then only ten minutes late sent them all off to bed. Normally when it is just dad they get to stay up a little bit later, but they had had a big day today so they all needed their sleep.

After I got all the older kids to bed, I gave the baby a snack. (she didn’t eat much dinner.) started the diapers on their second cycle, and then settled down to get the baby to sleep for the evening. She is still nursing so this normally involves mommy milk, so with dad it requires a little bit of convincing that she can sleep without mom. But She likes me so she feel asleep and now is in her crib.

It has been a great evening. I really love spending time with my kids. For the most part they are all happy kids. Yes, even the teenager and the almost teenager are happy most of the time. They are pretty good, and again for the most part play well together. The biggest fight this evening was over who got to hold the baby while dad dished up the hot soup. All and all a successful evening. The house is not in a shambles, the rugs have been cleaned (after dinner chores.) The kitchen is mostly clean, and the kids are all happy and in bed. (No promises that the older ones are asleep yet, but they are at least being quiet.)

These are the times when the kids get to see what a father is supposed to be like. Yes, I played with them, maybe a little rougher than I would have had my wife been home, but I also made dinner, and helped with clean up. I worked on the laundry and I read stories. A father is not a baby sitter, he is the head of the household and that mean that he needs to be able to hold the house together without pre-planed / pre-preped meals, or runs to the local fast food joint. I am not saying these things don’t have their place. Sometimes a night alone with dad can be special and you can do something like that, but it is not a necessity. Being a dad isn’t always fun, but my nights alone with the kids are some of the best times I have with them, and I hope they are the times that the kids look back to and remember when they are out on their own with their kids.

** On the push up thing. Every spring / summer we all try to get in shape. This year the older kids are taking Karate, and have started doing push ups. Something I do pretty well when I am in shape. The deal to this point has been; the older two get one minute each to do push ups. They add their total together if Dad can do more push ups than that, they each get an extra chore. Something I would normally do, if they beat me I do the after dinner clean up, and if we tie I do part of the clean up, tonight we tied at 62 pushups. There was an extra wrinkle in tonights competition. The younger ones wanted to be involved. Let’s be honest here, there are 9 kids, 5 or so of them can manage to do pushups, if they all got the add them up, I would be doing dinner clean up every night. So tonight we said that the child who did the most in 1 minute didn’t have to do chores. My eldest daughter (the youngest of the 5 that did it) won with 47 pushups in one minute. The boys were not happy with her, but she did beat them fair and square and they were real pushups. Way to go Lizardbreath!

5 thoughts on “I am Dad, and I do not baby sit

  1. I love this story! Having grown up in a large family (the 7th of 9) I never saw my father as a babysitter nor did I see my mother as the person who did the chores and “woman’s work”. I never understood that mentality either, I would go to friends houses and ere was the dad role and the mom role. The kids had their own role too, which was often odd, basically, get out of mom and dads way, eat the crud food and go away while mom and dad have nice food. In my family everyone had their turns at cooking and cleaning and everything else. I learned to cook from my father, my brother, my sister, my mother and my grandmother. I learned to do laundry from my brother. I learned how to clean from everyone. We all did yard work, painted the house, and other chores like that. I learned to fix things and how to use power tools, solder and run electricity and phone wires through out the house. The was no girls jobs or boys jobs.

    I forget that there are still people out there who think of mom jobs and dad jobs. When I hear friends say their husband is babysitting I want to scream. Worse yet I have a friend who if she needs to go out must hire a sitter even if her husband is home? I know many people who spend all day away from their home only to come home to either let someone else put the kids to bed, or just ignore me till it is bedtime. I don’t get why people have kids if they don’t want to spend time with them? In my family (and now all of my siblings families too) there is no kids table, no kid feeding time and adult dinner time. At supper the adults talk with the children and everyone is involved in e conversation. It’s sad it isn’t like this everywhere.

    This glimpse into your family life shows me it is this way in some other places too. Thanks

    1. Thank you for the comment. I am so glad to hear that there Are other families out there that feel the way we do. It sounds like you had a great childhood. I can only hope that my kids think of life growing up as fondly as you do. I do love being a dad, next to being a husband it is my favorite thing to do. I am glad the post didn’t come off as me having a swollen head.


      1. Oh we had our issues and like everyone else I have my scars, but gender roles and feeling part of the family were never one of those issues šŸ™‚

      2. So do we all. But that Is what family gives us, lots of love and a few scars to remind us where we came from.

  2. What a wonderful story, JHite. I loved reading it. You can tell by your words you are not a “babysitter” but a father. I am happy for your wife that she gets to have a little “me time.” It sounds if ya’ll had a great evening, dirty diapers and all:>) May God Bless and keep all of you, SR

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