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Fathers babysitting their own kids.

 
 
Reply Sat 21 Jun, 2008 04:48 pm
One of my pet peeves happened again today...

I was in the park in Boston watching my daughter and a couple of her friends playing. An older gentleman asked...

"Are you babysitting while the wife shops"?

"No", I replied a bit annoyed at the question.

"So you aren't watching these kids?" He asked.

"Yes, I am watching my daughter."

"So you are babysitting?"

"I said she is my daughter. I am NOT babysitting."

The gentleman looked a bit perplexed. So I took a breath and tried to explain as calmly as I could.

"I am a parent. What I am doing is parenting. When my wife watches her, no one says my wife is babysitting."

"Well, " he continued... looking a little taken aback "It is nice that you are helping out with your daughter."

A bit frustrated that he still didn't get it, I bit my tongue on a more caustic response.

"It's not that bad. My wife helps out with her too."
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shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Jun, 2008 04:51 pm
oh god. I know exactly what you speak of and it pisses me off to no end.

it is as though society does not expect more of a man other then making a child. To see a man stick around and be near his kids, stay in his marriage, or otherwise JUST -be- a father is just not 'normal' behavior and should be taken with a grain of salt.

It is humorous to see a man with his kids and it is still seen as entirely the womans job unless the man is 'giving her a break'...... as if he is some kind of vigilante for women..

i hear ya.
I really do.
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Jun, 2008 04:58 pm
Of course, if that hadn't been the way a lot of people thought in the 1970's, I wouldn't have been able to go to university.

I made a lot of money baby-sitting kids whose dads were in the house. Hiding in the basement behind locked doors. Seriously.

It isn't the 1970's, but there are obviously people left who grew up with that view of parenting - a mothers-only duty.

It's better than it used to be, but there are hold-outs. Seems to vary quite a bit by cultural group as well. I've noticed that some of my young female colleagues - recent immigrants from mainland China - refer to their children as 'my son' 'my daughter' when they are talking about discussions about the children with their spouses. I've asked why they don't say 'our son' 'our daughter' - I get shocked, indignant looks and "no, no, no, that's my son/daughter'.



(disclaimer: in my immediate circle of just over 50 couples, there were more stay-at-home dads than stay-at-home moms)

edit - over 50 - our age - not some bizarrely huge social circle
0 Replies
 
shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Jun, 2008 05:00 pm
I say that a lot too.. and I dont realize it until Ian points it out later.

Jillian is often referred to as 'my daughter, my child, my girl, my baby"
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Chai
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Jun, 2008 05:03 pm
ehBeth wrote:
I've asked why they don't say 'our son' 'our daughter' - I get shocked, indignant looks and "no, no, no, that's my son/daughter'.






well, without a dna test, we can only be sure who the mother is. :wink:
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shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Jun, 2008 05:07 pm
nu-huh

you just need maury povich
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ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Jun, 2008 05:09 pm
The possessive pronoun has never been an issue with me... since my wife and I use them equally, as in...

"Look at how smart my daughter is!".
"My daughter painted a new picture today!".
"Your daughter just made a mess."
"Someone needs to clean up after your daughter."
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FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Jun, 2008 09:01 pm
That's one of my pet peeves, too, ebrown. A slightly different twist from my angle -- it peeved me that the idea was that my husband was doing me a favor by babysitting his own kids, and it was insulting that he wouldn't want to care for his own kids. So I sympathize.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Jun, 2008 09:14 pm
ebrown_p wrote:
The possessive pronoun has never been an issue with me... since my wife and I use them equally, as in...

"Look at how smart my daughter is!".
"My daughter painted a new picture today!".
"Your daughter just made a mess."
"Someone needs to clean up after your daughter."


Razz
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Jun, 2008 09:23 pm
No FreeDuck. That is not the same.

There is a general prejudice against men as fathers. This is an injustice to men and is harmful in society. That one man fits the stereotype doesn't justify it, any more then one woman too emotional to be a leader justifies the corresponding stereotype.

If we are going to fight against gender stereotypes in order to have more equal society-- then we should fight against all gender stereotypes, not just those that fit into feminist mythology.
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FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Jun, 2008 09:28 pm
I'm not sure I understand you, or maybe you misunderstand me, or I wasn't clear. I'm agreeing with you. I think it is insulting. I'm just saying that it's ALSO insulting to the woman in question. My husband doesn't fit that stereotype and is, right now, "babysitting" his kids for three weeks. Apparently I didn't word my post very well... probably has something to do with the amount of time spent at the margarita machine this afternoon.
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Jun, 2008 10:18 pm
ebrown - and that is in the enlightened Boston area.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Jun, 2008 10:22 pm
Or time spent with ebrown's chip. I get his point, trust me, but not all of us are always against fathers forever.
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ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Jun, 2008 04:17 am
Sorry... maybe I am suffering from a Margarita deficit. As I have said before, I am not a feminist (and this is not a feminist thread. The fact that issues like this are instantly attributed to the failure of men is a bit of a sore point with me.

Fathers all over work hard for their kids, spend time with their kids, and sacrifice for their kids. This is true even in "non-enlightened" circles.

Gender roles are an issue. It would be nice to see men treated fairly in legal issues of custody, or in social issues such as how fathers are treated in settings with their kids.

But what about simply valuing fatherhood as equal to motherhood. Right now, the good done by fathers (even in a traditional sense) is never mentioned, while negative stereotypes are so common they are not even questioned.

Men are basically decent, hard-working and caring; the same as women.
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Jun, 2008 06:16 am
ebrown_p wrote:
Sorry... maybe I am suffering from a Margarita deficit. As I have said before, I am not a feminist (and this is not a feminist thread. The fact that issues like this are instantly attributed to the failure of men is a bit of a sore point with me.


Sorry, I didn't think I had done that at all. Was there something I said that made you think I was attributing it to the failures of men? I specifically had in mind several comments my mother used to make when my kids were little about my "poor" husband "having to babysit". It wasn't that he didn't want to care for his kids (he accounts, easily for 50% of their care and maybe more and with a few exceptions always has), it was that she didn't think he would or should, and I found that insulting to both of us. And so did he. I'm giving you my perspective and that's the perspective of the woman in question because that's what I am. It's not a feminist angle. I'm not quite sure where feminism even comes in here unless that's the chip that osso is referring to. I realize that my post was not worded well and that it wasn't clear that the "he wouldn't want to care for his own kids" was the idea being projected and not the reality in my home. I guess I thought we'd seen each other enough in the Parenting forum that you would just know that.

Quote:
Fathers all over work hard for their kids, spend time with their kids, and sacrifice for their kids. This is true even in "non-enlightened" circles.

Gender roles are an issue. It would be nice to see men treated fairly in legal issues of custody, or in social issues such as how fathers are treated in settings with their kids.

But what about simply valuing fatherhood as equal to motherhood. Right now, the good done by fathers (even in a traditional sense) is never mentioned, while negative stereotypes are so common they are not even questioned.

Men are basically decent, hard-working and caring; the same as women.



Yep, sure. So what are you going to do about it?
0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Jun, 2008 07:09 am
I attended a very interesting lecture on Father's Day. I don't have a copy of the presentation, but there were a number of interesting statistics and facts that indicate the "matrinization" of today's American society. There were two basic themes:

1) That mothers are, by and large, responsible for the emotional security of their children. Many mothers are nurturing their children to the point that they are suffocating the ability of those same children to become independent adults. Examples included too-high a level of involvement in their children's daily lives via scheduling "play dates", excessive interference in education from the early years right up through college (helicopter parents), allowing and encouraging college graduates to live at home and providing financial support to their adult children.

2) That fathers are, by and large, second and third generation off-spring of the dust-bowl and Great Depression years where the emotional involvement of men in the raising of their children was mostly left to the women. Children had limited emotional contact with their fathers, had a new definition of paternal role-model, and lacking a positive role-model continued the trend to today.


He had two messages to think about:

1) We are becoming a matriarchal society. Today's role for patriarchal involvement is fast becoming the role of providing the seed and financial support. He also said that he envisions a day when neither of those are required either.

2) In order to reverse this trend, fathers need to get involved in the emotional development of their children, to be positive role models in humanistic terms. He also challenged both parents to look at the developmental stunting of the next generation by interfering in every aspect of their lives.

ebrown_p and Mr Duck (and others, I'm sure) do not fit the pattern described, which is certainly a generalization, but it thought-provoking nonetheless.
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ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Jun, 2008 07:24 am
Fighting negative stereotypes is one of the most important ways to both get more respect for, and provide support for men as fathers. There is plenty of support for mothers. This includes an understanding of how difficult the job is, social supports for mothers, and a whole lot of respect.

I would like to see a social change that provided fathers with the same respect, understanding and support. Not placing the blame on men is an important part of this-- this is something we need to change as a society.

Obama's father's day speech really rubbed me the wrong way. Sure there are issues that need to be addressed... but on Father's day??? (which should be a day to respect the good that father's do). Has any politician ever had a negative thing to say on Mother's day?

This kind of thing is a perfect example.

FreeDuck... does this answer your question about what I am doing about it? I want to challenge the negative stereotypes men face in society and advocate for respect and support for the role of men in the family.
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ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Jun, 2008 07:25 am
JPB, that speech sounds interesting.

Do you have the name of the speaker?
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Wilso
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Jun, 2008 07:28 am
According to my wife she's "your baby". Normally when she's doing something that she shouldn't Laughing
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FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Jun, 2008 07:30 am
ebrown_p wrote:

FreeDuck... does this answer your question about what I am doing about it? I want to challenge the negative stereotypes men face in society and advocate for respect and support for the role of men in the family.


Yep, thanks. I didn't hear Obama's speech, but give me a hint of what you would have rather heard. Maybe pointing out positive examples of fatherhood rather than pointing out that many aren't meeting their burden? Celebrating the many really good fathers out there?
0 Replies
 
 

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