Who's watching the baby? #Offbeat Papas#feminism#gender#grown ups#stay at home parent Updated Oct 12 2015 (Posted Mar 30 2010) Guest post by Alissabeth Newton Andrew and Baby J This is, hands down, the question that I am asked most frequently when I am out and about. I spend a lot of time out of the house without Andrew and baby J. Last week, for example, I spent 20 hours working my university job, nine hours in class, about 11 hours doing consultation projects in a couple of different parish settings, three hours at yoga class and three hours at my own parish prepping and teaching Godly Play. Add a few hours of travel and transition time in to that and you're getting close to 40 hours. Andrew, on the other hand, has about 11 hours of class time, 12 hours of clinic and 1-2 hours of study groups each week. So he's home more right now. The funny thing is that this possibility — the possibility that when I am out working Andrew is home with baby J — doesn't really occur to many people first thing. "Who's taking care of the baby while you work?" It seems like a harmless question, and really it is. But I didn't realize until I became a mother how against the grain of our current culture it still is for a father to be just as involved in parenting and primary care-giving for a child — especially an infant — as the mother is. Another common question is this one: "So, is daddy babysitting today?" I'd bet our mortgage that no one has asked Andrew if I was "babysitting" our daughter when he's been out and about without us. I'm not offended when I'm asked these questions, at least not for me. But I feel a little irked for Andrew. What, because he is a man the best he can do is "babysit" his child? It's not seriously offensive in any way, but I do feel like this is one way our culture shortchanges our men. Let me explain. One of the things I love about making an effort to engage the world from a feminist perspective is the flip side to feminism. There's the main idea — that women are full human beings in every respect, equal to men and just as deserving of respect, care, safety, and power. I like that and I believe that. These ideas are most often highlighted and played out in direct respect to "women's issues" — women deserve equal pay, the right to move up the corporate ladder, to do whatever men do etc. etc. etc. The freeing aspects are focused on freedom for women. But the whole thing falls apart unless this perspective is freeing for men too. Sometimes that part is neglected. So the flip side to believing that the arenas of power and control that have traditionally belonged to men should also belong to women and offer them equal opportunity (stuff like politics, powerful careers, high pay, working outside the home for money, etc.) is believing that the arenas of power and control that have traditionally belonged to women also belong to men, and they should be offered equal opportunity there. This is stuff like capacity to nurture and care for children, ability to organize house and home, desire to be involved in an intimate and daily way with the business of the nuclear family. Part of looking at life from a feminist perspective, for me, means believing that these spheres of influence are equally valuable and important, despite the disparate value that our culture places on the public sphere, and that there are human beings of both genders who have the capacity to excel in either arena. Maybe even in both. It proposes the hypothesis that for every woman whose true gifts could have led her to dramatic success as a business person, contractor, fireman, police officer, CEO, state senator, doctor etc. if only she hadn't felt pressured to stay home and raise a family there is also a man out there whose true gifts could have led him to dramatic success as a child-rearer, household organizer, nurturer, and homemaker if he hadn't felt pressured to have a career in more traditionally male role. Related Post Yes, I am a feminist housewife I am a feminist. I believe firmly that a woman's "place" is wherever she wants and needs to be. (I wish very much that we... Read more When Andrew and I sat down, years ago, to talk about how we wanted to build our family I had concerns from my feminist perspective about expectations. I am not built to be a stay-at-home mom, and I needed him to know that. At the same time, I found the prospect of being the sole financial provider for our family daunting. And I didn't want any children, should we choose to have them, to spend a lot of their babyhood in daycare. Turns out, he was much on the same page himself. It was such a relief for us to let go of the pressures of traditional gender expectations, AND the pressure from the other side to be so radically different that we "reverse" our roles. What if, we thought, we just figure out what we'd each be best at and what our real priorities are and worked from there? Right now that means that I'm doing more in the public world than Andrew is, and he's taking care of a lot, but not all, of the business of homemaking for the three of us. It means that our baby is always with one of her parents. It means that we have to really talk to each other about all of our household routines because we both have to know how to do everything. It also means that we hold these things as impermanent — we are open to a time when he's doing more "out there" and I'm doing more at home. Or when it's more 50-50. Most importantly it means that there are no babysitters living in this house — no, not even Daddy. Guest post written by Alissabeth Newton Alissa is an ex-rockstar, future priest, adoptive mama, breadwinner wife and that's not the half of it. She blogs about adoption, family, and parenting at A+A Adopt a baby. http://aplusafamily.blogspot.com/ PREVIOUS You're not REALLY a parent: a nanny's perspective NEXT Darth Aesop's party on the Death Star Show/Hide comments [ 67 ] Amen! I'm the primary caretaker and my husband is the primary breadwinner but when I do go out (for work or pleasure), I get the same question! I say, "she's home with dad." I don't know why it's so wierd for people to imagine… I work full-time, as does my husband. Four days out of the week our daughter is at a great daycare. My husband works Saturdays, and he gets Tuesdays off instead, so our daughter gets to stay home with him on those days. This arrangement started almost six months ago, and I'm really starting to see the pay-off these days. His confidence with Sadie has increased tenfold, and their relationship is beautiful. Yes, I wish that one of us could be home with her every day. Or that we had more than only Sundays together as a complete family. But I really appreciate that Sadie gets at least one day a week with each of us to herself. Before Sadie was born, I made the mistake of telling my husband that he could "babysit" our baby when I wanted to go out and do things like book club. He quickly corrected me saying, "It's not babysitting if it's MY baby, too." Well put, sir. Babysitters get paid, and if dad gets paid to watch his kid, there's something a little wrong IMO. My husband might argue for that just to get me to pay him! ;-p Note to self: demand payment for babywatching. Preferably in cake or chocolate. I love this! My partner is about to become a stay at home dad and we are both thrilled. We also know a couple other dads who are home during the day so he can still have some "guy time". They just pack up the babies and hang out. I'm so glad we won't have to use day care (not that there's anything wrong with that!) and I don't have to give up my job. Also he LOVES the idea of only working on weekends. I completely agree! When our little boy comes in June, I will be going back to work after maternity leave and my husband will be staying home to attend college and take care of the baby. I'm appalled at how many people seem shocked and ask "Can he handle it?" Well OF COURSE he can handle it, just as well as I could handle it if the situation was reversed. And since we are expecting a son, I don't think things could've worked out any better. My fiance dreams of being a stay at home dad, unfortunately as a chef he makes more money than I ever could so it's not financially feasible right now. He gets extremely mad when somebody makes the 'babysitting' comment to him and quickly corrects them. He's a parent, not a babysitter. Yesssss! We plan on a similar arrangement for our little gal once she arrives andmy maternity leave ends. Thanks also for illuminating the oft-forgotten "flip side" of feminism. A friend posted this hilarious and related music video on You Tube last week and it immediately struck me as something OBM would feature: ("Stay At Home Dad") Jon Lajoie is hilarious, thanks for sharing that! I know a few "stay at home dads" and they are happy content individuals. I think more people should be open to the arrangement!! Yea yea yea! When our son was first born, my husband stayed home so that I could go back and finish school. I was amazed by how many people thought it was a bad idea and that I should put off finishing my degree. It was the best thing we could have done, for many reasons, and we don't regret it at all. I would like to see more opportunities for Dads to stay home, without it being about what is financially feasible. We are expecting our second baby in June, and I'm sad to say, that for financial reasons Dad will not be taking any time off. I completely agree! We knew that we didn't want day care for our son, and my husband is in a graduate program a couple nights a week, so I became the main income earner for our family, working during the day 4 days a week. I am amazed at how many times people just assume my son must be in day care if I'm working during the day. No, he's home with his daddy. It's like a foreign concept. I like that we each have time to develop a relationship with this awesome kid, and right now he actually is a daddy's boy because they spend more time with each other. I knew right away that I didn't want to be a stay-at-home mom completely. I love being home with my son, and I love taking care of the house and putting everything in order, but I need time to be my own person, in the adult world, and have that social interaction that I just can't get from being at home (or from mommy groups or kid-friendly activities). I just need a certain amount of time to have a separate identity from "Mommy". Thankfully, my husband is completely okay with that. I hate hate hate when people say oh I need to ask my husband if he can babysit the kids tonight or if they ask me oh is your husband babysitting tonight so you can go out? No he is not a freakin babysitter. He is not being paid, he is her father and yes she is staying home with him. It is one of my biggest pet peeves. I relate SO MUCH to this post. Since Andreas and I are both self-employed, we share baby caring duties pretty much 50/50. I am so grateful that Tavi gets to spend so much of his infancy with Andreas … and like Katherine, it's really important to my sanity to have time away to be my own person. This has been one of my mum's biggest pet-peeves since as long as I can remember. I have seen her explode when people mention dads "babysitting" their own children or the horrible term "Mr Mom". He's not "Mr Mom" he's "DAD". It's really too bad that dads taking care of their own children is seen by some as out of the norm. My husband stayed home over the winter with our 1 year-old (sadly (IMHO) he's back at work now, but it's a seasonal job so he'll be a SAHD again in a few months) and what I noticed is how many people complimented ME on "how good he is with the baby" like he was some kind of well-trained wild animal and I should get credit for teaching him all his tricks. I thought it was pretty insulting to both of us. But I've always been the breadwinner, so my skin is pretty well armoured against that sort of unconsious gender-role judgement from the larger world. The most important thing is that my little guy has a GREAT relationship with his papa, his mama, and all the other wonderful adults in his life. i had a very similar discussion with my ex husband the other day when i asked if he could arrange shifts around a few things that are happening over the next couple of months with me and my mum (my munchkin's usual carer while i'm at work for all of 2 hours every weekday!). He complained that i was using him as an unpaid babysitter, so i ended up pointing out that if she isn't with me she SHOULD be with him, as he is her parent too! he's started chipping in more and stopped complaining since then… 🙂 =happy muchkin, happy mummy and happy daddy! OMG YES. I am a hair stylist, so I see/talk to lots off different people in a day's time. Once people hear I have a little boy, 98% of the time their next question is, "Who watches him when you're here?" I get this question so much, sometimes I want to say, "Oh, no one. I've been leaving him home alone with a bottle of jack & a book of matches. Why, is that bad?" I don't understand why it would matter to someone who has known me for fifteen minutes. I guess most of them don't realize they're being rude. I stumbled over this recently when I was explaining that a couple days prior our girl stayed with her first babysitter. My friend asked Oh you mean other than Dad? And I thought. wait, dad is Dad, he's not a babysitter, but unfortunately since I'm currently unemployed and he works full time. It does feel that way sometimes. He just doesn't get to spend as much time with her as we'd both like. So while I don't like the term babysitting for dad, even I have mistakenly thought that way sometimes. To combat that, we are trying to build more daddy daughter time… in other words get out of the house mom or at the very least butt out and let dad be in charge more. I think Andrew qualifies as a DILF – and I mean that in the nicest, most respectful way possible! 😀 Nikki, just you wait for tomorrow's post…… 😉 awww…I have to heartily agree. not that this is a shocker. &hearts: My father stayed at home with me in the 1980s and it's sad that not much has changed since then. Although we did get some weird judgments, my school really loved that he came along on fields trips! My dad stayed at home with me in the 80s too! He's an artist, but he spent most of his time taking care of me and the house while my mom worked full-time and went to school. I didn't think it was weird at all. But maybe I should ask him if he felt out-of-place at the park or during school field trips. (; Perfectly stated! My husband is a stay at home dad to our almost 8 year old daughter and now also to our 3 week old daughter! My grandparents just cannot grasp this concept and are constantly asking when he is getting a job…I know for a FACT they would not be asking this if it was I who was staying home with the girls! I think it is great our children are getting so much more daddy time in this day and age!! I'm the wage earner in our family. Mark stays at home. I have to say there are still people walking around the earth with healing burns from my response to the "babysitting" terminology. Oh this drives me crazy. It's not "babysitting" if you're watching your own child, it's called parenting. Well put, Alissabeth! On paper our family looks pretty stereotypical–I stay home and my husband works full-time, so the SAHMs at our son's preschool assume I'm simpatico with them. This means I hear the most irksome comments about uninvolved dads, babysitters, and even housekeepers (ugh!). They seem confused upon discovering I work part-time from home and my husband is active with housework and child care, keeping his work hours as flexible as possible so he can help me meet deadlines and attend school events. In turn, we’re astonished that he’s such an anomaly at this "progressive" Montessori school. crap. I guess I forgot how to make the heart thingy. It is REALLY great to read about how people negotiate who stays home when. I will be in this situation when my husband and I have kids–I enjoy working and being out of the house more than he does, but being the sole breadwinner doesn't appeal to me either. (Plus I'm looking at a career as a theater artist, and he's a nurse, so, uh, there's the financial feasibility of that too.) I've really only experienced households with one primary caregiver, so I struggle a bit to imagine what our family will be like in the future, and it's just so fabulous to hear about other people doing it, and with such aplomb. I hated when people asked me if "daddy is babysitting". No. DADDY is taking care of HIS KIDS. He's not getting paid…he's not going to leave when I get home. And he [hopefully!] isn't inviting his teenybopper boyfriend over as soon as I leave. I am a stay at home mom…but it annoyed me to feel like I had to justify my being out of the house. Without a husband or kids!! There was a brief window when we considered dad being the stay at home and me being the primary worker. Dad was going to watch the kids & go to school…he joined the Army instead, so…there's not a whole lot he can do from Afghanistan, lol…so I'm EVERYTHING right now. 😉 I hear ya! And on the same note, there need to be more changing stations in mens' restrooms! My husband gets so irritated (and rightly so) when there is not one in the mens room, but there is in the womans. Word. this drives me nuts too. If I had a dollar for every time my husband took one of our kids into the women's room to change a daiper–man, did he turn heads. I've known so many couples with dad taking the first year off work (woot woot, Canada!) that it's just so normal, and I'm really sad for the people who make these rude comments, because their lives are a little closed and small. Becca – I know in most places in BC there is a men's, women's, and "family" restroom, which is nice! I wonder if the stay-at-home mom model of family life has an expiration date at this point. It is a wonderful thing when it works, don't get me wrong, but there are serious downsides to it. For one thing, it's just stressful to put all the financial eggs in one basket, what if that one person who supports the family in that way loses his or her job? And I have some wonderings about what it does to partnerships to divide up the home life/financial life that way as well. I think that putting all the pressure of either homemaking/childcare or work outside the home on one person and one person only is problematic. Even though both partners might be feeling a lot of pressure from whichever angle, it seems like it would always be best to just spread it all out amongst everyone, in order to minimize it as much as possible. Unfortunately, much of the time some of the more preferable childcare scenarios just aren't financially feasible, and that's too bad. I knew my husband for years (when I was married to my ex) before we started dating. We dated for about 7 months and then decided to seriously give our relationship a shot and he moved in. I was working full time and my mom and sister were watching (and spoiling horribly) my two boys. After a couple of months, my sister and my, then, boyfriend weren't getting along (I don't get along w/ my sister, but her babysitting was necessary), so he changed jobs so that he worked at night and stayed home w/ the boys during the day. I knew he was committed the day he walked into work and said that he had a family emergency and couldn't work days. The boys were 2 & 4 at the time. He's been the primary caregiver ever since; they are 6 & 8 now. He's now in school using his GI Bill. I'm sure that their will come a day when the boys are rebellious teenagers and they try to say that he's not their real dad, but when they become parents themselves, they will realize that being a dad is in the day-to-day stuff and not genetics. Sometimes it's the DAD who has the idea that he's not really a parent. Even before our divorce, my now-ex-husband would refer to caring for our daughter as "babysitting" her and would balk at me asking for any time to myself. Whether he realizes it or not, he still does that to an extent; during a school break, I once asked my parents could spend a few days with our child. He said "if there's any need for babysitting, I should be consulted before anyone else." While it's admirable he actually wants to spend time with our child now, the fact that he still refers to it as "babysitting" is still troublesome. Caring for your own child is not "babysitting." Maybe he should read this. You are assuming he thinks of himself as a babysitter. What he said makes perfect sense… "if you're thinking of calling a sitter, call me first" Maybe you've fallen into the "he's my ex so he's bad" trap. My husband gets so irritated on the changing table thing too!! I have begun keeping track of where they have them in public areas, in handicapped restrooms, etc. Thankfully I live in Europe so it's becoming more common to see them outside of women^s restrooms (however, it's still irksome when a supposedly family-friendly restaurant has not only no changing table in ANY restroom, but not even a countertop! Changing a squirmy baby/toddler on a toilet seat…no thanks) Anyway — yeah — If my husband or anyone else ever referred to him PARENTING his child as babysitting?! Um, yeah – be prepared to get an earful. If he's babysitting, then what am I doing all day long? He does sometimes give me shit about handing over baby duties to him on his "day off" but I'm like, wtf get over it, I am out of here. He barely even asks me when he wants to go do something so I figure I can do the same. It's not the most mature solution I will admit…. Funnily, my husband has been begging me to go back to school and get a teaching degree so that I can be the primary breadwinner and he can be a stay at home dad! I'm serious! Because I don't speak the language fluently I really can't get a job in my profession, so I could teach at International School (here or anywhere) if I was certified. I'm not quite ready to do it at the moment, but maybe later…. Very well stated. I wish people (specially family) would stop passing judgment on someone before they know what is going on. In my opinion, "Mr. Mom" and "is Dad babysitting?", are both judgments. I am the breadwinner and my husband works. I take care of the kids appointments during the day while he is the one that shuttles the kids around after school and to games and to friends houses. Since most of the parents see him, he is asked if he is a single father. He always responds with "No, I just married a smart woman." My job takes me away from home a few weeks a year and I also work crazy hours. Sometimes not seeing my kids at all for a few days. I have to live with the guilt of this and it doesn't help when people ask "So who is taking care of the kids?" or "So hubby is playing Mr. Mom." I love responding with "Playing, no he is just being a dad." Why don't men get the credit they deserve? Who don't women get the credit they deserve? Instead we all just pass judgment on each other on what we are not doing. We should be praising each other for what we are doing, no matter if it is expecting out of us by our gender. This post reminded me of this poster my friend has posted in his dorm: http://www.crimethinc.com/tools/posters/gender_su… ooh love this! When we first had our child I had a flex schedule and relished every day I got to spend with him. I also got the babysitting comment. It has the feel of it being beneath me, as a man, to raise my child. At best, that is annoying. Now our jobs have shifted with the economy, and I am working full time, and my wife is part time. No more comments, but I miss the days with our boy. We are working to make that happen again. Could you explain why you believe that men are "pressured" to have a career? I mean since there are now as many women as men in the work place, it can no longer be claimed that there is any difference in career expectations between the sexes. But if you really want to prove your commitment to equality of the sexes, I will anxiously await your next post on how terrible it is that the feminist movement "pressured" women into having careers. When is that coming? Oh, and since we object so vociferously about viewing fathers as less than equal parents (babysitters), I'm sure we all equally object to the title of this blog -Off Beat Mama-and I'm sure we have all been demanding it be changed to Off Beat Parent, right? I'm not sure that you can make the claim that there is no difference in career expectations simply because there are as many women as men in "the work place." For one thing there is no one "work place." While it is changing the majority of women still work jobs that reflect society's expectations for women (number one job for women employed in the US in 2008 was Secretaries and Administrative Assistants, followed by Registered Nurses and Elementary School teachers. These are not high prestige "career" jobs necessarily.) And it is still overwhelmingly true that women are much more likely to stop, pause, change, or leave careers in order to devote more time to parenting than men, though I believe that is also changing. It's hard for me to tell by your name if you are a man or a woman. But I'm willing to bet you're either a woman or a man with a job/career. Ask any man who is staying at home or choosing family over career if he feels cultural pressure to make a different choice. I think the point of the post is that people shouldn't be pressured to make a choice about career vs. family/homemaking simply because that person is a man or a woman. Part of that is treating men and women equally as homemakers as well as in "the workplace." Sometimes us ladies working traditional female jobs get guilt for having them! My mom pressured me to go to premed…which I did…then dropped out because my heart was with children. To this day, regardless of the fact that I'm happy, she's disappointed with me not doing something "important" and instead educating very young children (infant through prekindergarten). The whole "why offbeat mama why are you excluding men yadda yadda" issue has been addressed since day 1 over here: http://offbeatmama.com/questions Great article! Here in Canada, we can share our parental leave, so when I went back to work after 9 months, my husband took over for the last three. When people would ask how the baby was doing in daycare, they were always surprised to hear that she was home with dad. It never occurred to them that this would be an option. My husband, in advance of his leave, got all sorts of ribbing at work: "I guess you'll have to learn how to change diapers now!" and "Looking forward to being Mr. Mom?" The assumption was that he hadn't done ANY of the babycare from the moment our daughter was born. In reality, he's changed diapers and fed bottles in the night and sang to her and played with her and taught her new things from day one. I suppose we're true products of this generation because we can even understand the mindset from which all these comments are coming! This is hands down my favorite thing that I've read on OBM. Its like you read my mind, but weren't as preachy and obnoxious as I would have been had I written this : ) Way to go. I love this post. My honey and I both work 3 days a week. He is a nurse, and I work at a non-profit, and it was really important to me to keep my job after our daughter was born. My honey and I don't see each other as often as we like to, but we really appreciate that we're able to keep our baby out of daycare for now, and that we each have a great relationship with our daughter independent of each other, although, we both agree that she prefers it when we are both around. After she was born, I took 10 weeks off of work, and found myself going a little stir crazy, so I joined a parent group organized by a local non-profit to help parents adjust to having children. I was appalled when I heard a mom refer to her partner as "daddy daycare" when she was going back to work. I would never diminish my partner's involvement in our daughter's life that way. This is beautiful. Many thanks. I think my fiance needs to read this article. He works from home and I work 3rds. I know sometimes he feels isolated because he works from home and takes care of our 2 year old daughter on the days she is not in daycare or when I am asleep. I get pissed off when people who watches her while I am at work and I tell them her daddy. What a great post! I'm always so proud to get to answer "her daddy" when people ask where Nola Jean stays during the day. I work full (FULL) time for a non-profit and he is self-employed as a commercial photographer…so she's with him most of the time. And the better for it! So many girls don't get the support they need from their dads; it was such a blessing to me and I hope will be to our baby girl! I like the way you phrased the "flipside of feminism." We must not only expect and trust our male partners to care for our children, we must also create a society where men are expected to do so. We must teach our sons as well as our daughters to be nurturing and responsible so that they will grow up to be equitable parents. All too often, boys are left off the hook and grow up believing the myth that women must be full-time caregivers. This is awesome. My husband is just finally coming into his own as a SAHD, since he was unemployed prior to our having our son, and my job was too lucrative not to go back. He used to be upset about not "having a job" and I had to keep explaining to him that taking care of our son WAS his job. I think he's getting used to it now, but it shows how ingrained it is to NOT expect men to be caregivers in our society. We are choosing to have my husband be a Stay at home dad. It was really the most logical choice, I love my 9-5 office job with benefits. He does not thrive in office situations at all. I also go a little batty if I don't leave the house all day, he is perfectly content to be at home all day. It will take some cutting corners, but I really don't want our child in daycare before 2-2.5 years old if we can help it. He will take the time to work on writing a book, but I also know that stay at home parent is a full time job. I am glad to see this pop up again. We are just a few months from our child arriving and I CONSTANTLY get asked "are you going back to work after the baby" When I say yes, but my husband is staying home, I often get the response of "oh, you'll change your mind about that" especially from people who don't know us that well. It irritates the hell out of me. My husband's personality is much more suited to being at home with a child than mine. I have no doubt I will absolutely ADORE my child, and I will miss her while I am at work, but I feel lucky that we have the opportunity for him to stay home. I'm sharing this article with my man who co-hosts a feminist talk radio show. He was a stay-at-home dad for a while and now works part-time while I work full-time. I like your point that handling the outside the house and inside the house stuff is not an either/or arrangement. We're a team, we have a common goal of caring for our family, and we share all the work of reaching that goal based on our abilities and the family's needs–not our genders. Our daughter isn't due until March but over Christmas my husband gave me tickets to a concert in June and his mother immediately put it in her calendar…to come over that night to take care of the baby. I was flabbergasted at the idea that she didn't think that my husband (her own son) could take care of his three month old daughter for a night while Momma went out on the town. I was a little insulted FOR him! I'm a stay at home mom and my husband goes to work, which works for us, but I am also irritated by the "babysitting" comment. I think it's especially harmful since my husband is the one who is gone at work all day. When he comes home I want him to feel like he is an important part of raising, teaching and nurturing our children, not that he's just the guy who signs the checks and occasionally has to change a few diapers when mom wants to go out. "Babysitting" is a word that creates distance and using it only in reference to him kind of implies that our kids are more mine than his. I appreciate your comments about the flip side of feminism! I am so glad this article popped up on OBM. My husband and I are expecting our first baby any day now and we have planned from the beginning for him to stay home and me to go back to work for at least the first year. Being a hair stylist, I see people (mainly women) all day long and have been so judged by our decision. I've been told I would regret it, that I am "spoiling" my husband and that I should be careful because after he stays home with the baby he will never want to get a "real job". WTF is wrong with people?! Since when is taking care of your child not a "real job" and how on earth would me "letting" him stay home with our son spoil my husband?! Sometimes I just want to smack people. I used to get this too; I went back to work early, then was a full-time student, and people often asked me who was watching my son. Um, his dad? Duh? Ryan has always wanted to be a stay at home dad, and I've always wanted to work and we're trying really hard to make this a reality, even though it's the opposite now that Gabe is older. When I read this I had to laugh- I am guilty of asking this question. However, when I see a father I know alone in public, I also ask HIM if the mother is at home with the baby. This has been met with very strange looks, maybe because I "should" be assuming that the mother is home with the baby? It's sometimes difficult to know what to say to new parents, not having children of my own. Sometimes people aren't passing judgement when they ask "who is watching the baby?" For me, it's just a way to make small talk, inquire about the parent that is not present, and get a glimpse of how your life has changed with the new baby. So maybe some new parents out there (in your endless amount of free time, of course) could write a post on the "top ten things acquaintances should NOT to say to new parents"? Comments are closed.