“I don’t babysit,” I replied, perhaps a bit more haughtily than necessary. “I parent.”
This led to a short conversation, the gist of which was that I’m an unusally good parent because I spend time with Abby and Esther when I’m home and when Callie has to go out. I appreciate the compliment, but I don’t see how this makes me a good parent. If anything, I’m doing the absolute minimum of parenting – other dads don’t have to spend four nights a week at law school and weekend afternoons and evenings doing homework. I miss the girls like crazy during the week, and I cherish the time I get with them in the mornings and on weekends. But I know it isn’t enough.
I’ve heard this before, though, the concept of “babysitting” my own children. It’s a little insulting, even if it’s not meant that way. It implies that I’m not cultivating a truly parental relationship with Esther and Abby, but merely holding down the fort until Mom gets home. So if you ask me a question about babysitting them, expect me to make the same correction.