Wednesday, October 08, 2008

I don't babysit ...my daughter.

Another confirmation that the roles of men are slightly twisted in society.

I was pushing Isella in the cart up to the man checking out groceries (and no we don't use the super duper cart covers)

and had the following interaction:
Man at checkout: Hi who's this?
Me: This is my daughter, Isella.
Man at checkout: Oh, is daddy babysitting today?

Me: No, I'm just spending time with her as my wife's away right now.

I guess I felt a little off put. I don't babysit my daughter, ever. When it's just me and her, I'm spending time with her one on one, not babysitting. I didn't say anything because I didn't want to be defensive and I'm sure this guy wasn't trying to be insulting whatsoever but it made me wonder about his perspective. Here's where I psychoanalyze.

I don't like the assumption that if mom's not around that dad "just babysits" Nothing against babysitting, but a father needs to be much more than just a short term, temporary caretaker.

There are assumptions of fatherhood. Wrong perceptions of a dad's responsibility. That's why this post is so important. Is this just because many dads aren't seen with their kids or it's assumed that dads don't spend time with their kids ? Or is it just more common that moms/women and kids are the ones shopping? Either way, it just struck me strange, and I felt a little sad because of it.

What I would have rather heard: "Oh is today a a daddy daughter day?, or "Great, some special one on one time with daddy and his daughter. That's great to see."

Bottom line for me and my children, I want to be a very loving and present father who is engaged in their life.

Am I too sensitive or analytical?
Is this a true perspective as seen in our society, (why/how)?
Should we use the cart covers while grocery shopping?

4 comments:

Candice said...

i think it's great when i see you and isella together. or when i see wendy and isella...or the three of you. what a blessing to spend time together as a family or as a parent and child. you guys are great...

elise said...

i think it's awesome when you spend time with isella. it's so encouraging to see you as a father desiring to spend so much quality time with your daughter, and to see you appreciating your wife so much. thank you for expressing those things to us!

and i think those cart covers are silly.

Ed, Sarah & Sophie said...

Tony,

I think you nailed it! This is how society views, but sadly enough how some men view their spending time with their kids....right on! Enjoy your time with her..it goes by way to fast!

Matt Nightingale said...

Just so you know, I always read your blog even tho I don't often comment. I'm a lurker, I guess. I'll answer your questions in reverse order.

Should we use the cart covers while grocery shopping?

No. I've always thought they were silly. But I'm sure she looks very cute in it. A little frou frou for me.

Is this a true perspective as seen in our society, (why/how)?

Yeah, for sure. I hear it too. I'm turning into a big "house husband" since my schedule is so much more flexible than Lu's. It's funny. I volunteer at the library at the kids' elementary school, and during the orientation, the librarian kept talking about the "moms," and then she would look at me and get all flustered and apologize. It happens a lot in school volunteer stuff. Even the letters the teachers send home talk about stuff like "We need moms to..." Maybe it's a Southern thing. I can't imagine them actually sending something like that home in CA.

Am I too sensitive or analytical?

It's really good to think about and point out, so no on the analytical. But maybe too sensitive. As you said, he certainly didn't mean to insult you. And it's not your job to correct just general people on the street who are trying to be friendly. It's kinda like those people who say "Merry Christmas" like it's a weapon whenever anyone dares to say "Happy Holidays" to them. :) My $.02