When you go out and leave the kids with your husband and someone asks who is watching them, what do you usually say? I’m pretty sure I always say, “My husband is watching Mason,” which is no different than when I tell someone a babysitter is watching him. I hate this more than anything and I do it all the effing time. Sometimes I even find myself explaining to someone how hands on my husband is and how capable he is watching our son without me. As if a mom leaving her child with his dad for extended periods of time is somehow surprising or needs an explanation.
When dads spend time with their kids, they are revered and celebrated. “Aww, that’s so awesome, your husband can handle the kids.” Of course he can fucking handle it. He is their dad after all! When moms do it, it’s just expected. It’s their job. Why should a dad get a medal just for being an involved parent? Isn’t that his job too? I wasn’t aware that rewards were given out for doing one’s job. Maybe I want a medal too–a really shiny 18 Karat gold medal with the words, “Congratulations, You Parented Today,” written in bling.
Other times I wonder if I should feel guilty for leaving Mason with him for a whole day or extended weekend. Or do I need to apologize for coming home late or when Mason only feels like using the word “NO” and constantly melts down while on my husband’s time. When my husband comes home Saturday at lunch time exhausted and moody and frustrated from his morning activities with Mason, should I feel bad I was sleeping in, exercising, and writing? I definitely find myself saying, “I’m sorry Mason was in a bad mood for you. I’m sorry you’re so tired.” But isn’t that what kids do? They can be assholes and they wear their parents out, even on a good day.
Just last week, I was in New York City for a family event. My husband and Mason wouldn’t be joining me until later in the weekend. At a party, a friend asked me where Mason was and I said my husband would be bringing him later. I also remember saying that I felt bad that he was pretty much glorified babysitter for the weekend. Her response? “Jen, he’s not a babysitter. He’s his dad.” And she is right.
So you know what I say to all of the above? FUCK THAT! Because my husband isn’t a babysitter. He is my son’s dad and when he does things like spend time alone with our son because I have an appointment, girls’ dinner, take a weekend trip away or just need a break, it’s called parenting. It’s what he’s supposed to do! It’s what I expect him to do. I am always appreciative and I always say thank you because I am thankful for the relationship my husband has with our son and we all want to feel appreciated. But you won’t see me buying him presents or giving him extra blowjobs just for being a parent.
Now if he surprised me with a plane ticket and told me he was sending me to the spa or an island for the weekend while he took care of Mason, there would probably be some extra BJS in it for him when I returned pampered and relaxed.
So today’s post is in honor of my husband, the father (not the male babysitter who lives with us) of my amazing three-year old son. The dad who parents like its his job, and does it like a boss! The dad who changed our son’s very first poop diaper in the hospital. The dad who stepped up immediately because mommy had postpartum depression and couldn’t. The dad who switches off with me getting up in the middle of the night when our son is crying from a bad dream. The dad who handles bath time because it’s just not my favorite time. And by then, I’m half-passed out on the couch drinking or drooling while reruns of Modern Family play on the TV. The dad who wakes up every Saturday morning with our son, takes him for breakfast, to play soccer, to the car wash, to watch the trains, and to play at the park. The dad who never complains about single parenting when mommy needs a girls’ night or a few days away to herself. The dad who is my equal partner in this fabulous, crazy shit-show and emotional rollercoaster we call parenthood.
We had a wonderful day yesterday celebrating most of the dad’s in our lives. I say most because we are in New York, while my father in law is down South and he always deserves to be celebrated as the incredible, generous, loving father and grandfather that he is. We started the day waking up at my moms and having breakfast with my wonderful stepfather. Mason helped my mom and stepdad cook pancakes, set the table, and clean up. Then we drove to my dad’s for a late lunch where I got to watch Mason and him play on the golf course and drive the golf cart around. We ended the day at my mother in law’s with Papa, Mason’s great grandfather. There is nothing more special than watching your child spend time with your parents (their grandparents) doing the things you used to enjoy together when you were that little and seeing them pass them down to your own children.
And let’s not forget the amazing Father’s Day gift I gave my husband. A remote control shaped cookie and written on the tag, “Okay, you can have the remote. Happy Father’s Day!” Of course I added a disclaimer that the offer wasn’t valid between the hours of 9pm and 10pm…because you know…Game of Thrones: Battle of the Bastards.
And maybe going forward, I will stop apologizing, explaining, and feeling guilty for leaving Mason to hang out with his dad. It’s just part of the job description. And he signed up for it! We both did…together.