I’ll pick up the megaphone once again: We don’t “babysit” our kids, we raise them.
It’s far to typical a response from men who haven’t fully taken a hold of what being a father means. They are still trying to live a single life (or at least childless) life and passing off the day-to-day raising of the kids to their wife. Not only is this not fair to their wife, it’s not fair to their kids! I hear it all time, “Sorry, I can’t hang out tonight, I have to babysit the kids”. How do we think it feels here that as a child? Do they feel cherished? Do have dads undivided attention? Dad has “better things to do”. This has to end. We don’t “babysit”, we are an active role in the upbringing of our children. We should look forward to the time we have with them when mom is away! It’s a time to get on the floor and play with them. It’s a time to get to know who they are becoming, to find out what makes them tick.
I am grateful to have a relationship with my father now but after my parents divorced I felt like an inconvenience when my sister and I would visit. I didn’t want to go to dads because I felt like he didn’t want me there, like he would rather not be involved in my life. At 10 years old I needed him there. I needed answers to what was going on with out now broken family. I needed to know it was going to be okay and that he was always going to be there for me. Instead I looked to everything under the sun for that assurance and found myself abusing everything I could to numb the questions I had. It wasn’t until I was in my 20’s that I started to find those answers and began to repair the relationship with my father.
I’ve said it before, you can raise your kids in any way that you want. You don’t have to follow the examples laid out in front of you. You can be a better parent than you had. You can develop a new legacy but it has to start with you making a conscious decision to drop the excuses and be the father/husband your family needs.