Dads are not "babysitters"

The situation starts like this: I was the last one eating (I had spent most of the meal dealing with a runaway baby) and as I start eating, we realize that our little girl needs a nappy change. No big deal. My husband grabbed her nappy bag and whisked her off to find the change room. Only he couldn't find it.

When he asked the management, he was told that the only changing space is in the ladies rest room! We were horrified and angry. Frankly we were offended. Why are men not expected to change nappies? Is it that they can't or that they won't?

The fact is that most dads can and will! After I had finished throwing a tantrum about this (and after I had changed her in the restroom) the response I got was "you can't really expect them to put a change table in a men's room." Yes I can and I do! Why wouldn’t I expect it? Is this not the 21st century we live in? At the very least I expect a genderless spot for parents to change their babies when the need arises.

I can't tell you the amount of time I have been told how impressed someone is that my husband changes nappies/carries the baby/feeds the baby/looks after the baby – in other words, acts like a real dad. I hear people talk about dads babysitting their children. No, it's called parenting. We both do it, all day and every day. Babysitters get paid by the hour; we get paid in baby giggles and dirty nappies. I've never been told how impressive I am when I'm wrestling a wriggling baby down to change her nappy - because it's expected of moms. Why is it that this is not the same for dads?

What about the involved dads?

To be honest, I find it offensive on behalf of involved dads everywhere. Why do they not get the same perks and attention that moms do? Maternity leave is three months for moms but 3 days for dads; you get moms and tots special parking and mommy clubs. Mommy bloggers get free nappy samples; invited to events and all sorts of free stuff, but daddy bloggers hardly get a mention.

Perhaps it is because I am married to an incredibly hands-on dad (even saying that sounds wrong - no one describes mothers as hands-on mothers). My husband and I are equal parents and we share the ups and downs of parenting - equally.
What I'm saying is this: let's stop this practice of seeing dads as baby sitters and give them a bit of credit where it’s due. Most of them deserve to be considered as equally involved parents as that’s what they are.

And while we’re about it - how about praising us moms for doing the mundane sometimes? Or does society just feel that we are doing our jobs?

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

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