Why Dad is NOT a Babysitter

Good Parenting

I’m a military mom who’s just come off of one month of duty. This will mark the third year that my husband has had to handle our children without me for the duration of my spring tour. And he does it like a boss. And that’s not including all the months I spent at boot camp and A-School.

My husband’s name is Jason. He homeschools our children and runs a furniture business out of our garage. Since becoming the full-time stay-at-home parent four years ago, he has run this household to its fullest potential. And yet I still get asked what my husband does when I tell people we’re a Navy family. Or we get a puzzled look when we clarify that Jason stays home full time.

“But what does he… do?” they’ll ask.

I don’t know. Only everything.

Jason is a good example of husbands who are demolishing this rhetoric that dads are just babysitters until mom — the “real parent”— comes home. When I told him I was writing this article, I asked him what it was like parenting solo for so long, juggling two kids, their schedules, and a furniture business.

“Whack-a-mole,” he replied almost instantly.

“Whack-a-mole?” I furrowed my brow. “What do you mean?”

“Have you ever played Whack-a-mole?” He asked, pulling an example up on his computer, showing the images of the old arcade game in which a player will take a mallet and try to whack the random moles that pop out of their holes. “As soon as you address an issue,” he explained, “there’s immediately another one that pops up. You’re talking about over a course of weeks. It’s not like in a few hours, you’ll immediately have support back, you know? It’s the difference in prolonged single parenting.”

When he said that, I knew my hubs had thought about this extensively. It’s a tough job and it takes an incredibly loving, tough person to do it without losing their minds. That “babysitting dad” mentality? It’s always wrong (dads are always parents, all the time, not babysitters,) but it couldn’t be more wrong in our household.

So, I urge you, this Father’s Day, hug the dad, the friend, the parent, the significant other who helps keep you sane, who is there when you or your child needs them, who helps calm the storm and whack the mole. Life wouldn’t be the same without them.



About Maia Rodriguez

"Military Mom" Maia Rodriguez was born in Cleveland, Ohio, but that was about twenty homes ago. After graduating from Syracuse University with a BFA in Musical Theater, she traveled just about everywhere in the country, lived in a green turtle-like tent for 6 months, toured and slept in the back of her van and even worked in Japan for a year. Then she met her husband who tamed her (ha!) and they embarked together on the adventure of parenthood in southern California where she worked as a professional pirate. Now, two children later, the family currently resides in VIrginia, where she sings for the US Navy as a vocalist. When she’s not mothering, she’s writing music for "Evernight," singing and writing for the Baby Bullet Blog.


  1. Missybosa says:

    May be true for your family, but in my personal experience more dads than not are part time babysitters. And crappy ones at that. I’m a member of several different mom groups and the most recurring theme is “men are so lazy/dumb/clueless/etc” bcuz their so’s don’t do even 1/4 of their share in caring for their kids. It’s pathetic and I’m embarrassed for the females. They’re taking care of entitled, good for nothing little boys. And they’re excused bcuz they’re “men.”

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