My Husband Takes Care of the Kids When I’m Gone: Why Is That So Shocking?

Rant 13

marriageFor the last week, I was out of town traveling on business. Upon my return, the number one refrain I have heard from mothers and fathers alike was this: Who took care of your kids in your absence?

The answer is easy: my husband. Last I checked, I was married to a man who also has a busy and demanding career, but who allows me to do the things I need to do (and want to do) for work because my career is important to him, too. Of course, the question is so much more complicated. Why is this even being asked?

Never once in all the years we have had children has anyone ever asked my husband on a business trip who is taking care of his kids. It's assumed that I, his wife and the mother of our children, am at home, toiling away with the babes. So why don't I get that same expectation?

The reality is, even in the most enlightened marriages with full equality, most people think the mother takes the lion share of childcare responsibilities. But, um, not in mine. Honestly. My kids would probably rather have my husband than me on any given day. Is that really so shocking?

My husband and I truly split the childcare (and other) duties. He often takes snow days, sometimes even sick days, and we try to divide up drop-offs and pick-ups in an equitable way. While this might be unusual, I know we aren't the only ones who live this way. So why is it so shocking to imagine he MIGHT be able to hold down the fort in my absence?

The reality is, I am no better equipped to care for my kids or do anything else around the house than he is. A friend recently gave me the best marriage advice I could imagine: "No two people can stand up in the boat at the same time." This was referring to two career families, but it applies to everyone. When one person is standing up, the other has to do their best to hold the base and keep it steady.

THIS is a good marriage. This is a marriage of two partners and it's the marriage we should assume everyone is in. Otherwise, how depressing is that? Why should one person bear the brunt of all the home life while the other can do whatever they want. It doesn't work that way and it isn't healthy.

At best, marriage is a partnership between two equals. Anything less is unfortunate and shouldn't be assumed to be the norm. So, the person who is taking care of our kids? Is their dad. He isn't a "babysitter." He is their parent. And he is just as capable as I.

Do you ever get asked this question?




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redK8... redK8blueSt8

I think the question is asked because today more than half of the kids born to women 30 and under go to bed every night with out their father. Single never married mothers are becoming the majority, and so it is no longer naturally assumed that they have dad at home to take care of them, it's assumed that they don't.

I also am irked by referring to daddy care as "babysitting". You don't babysit your own kids!

jalaz77 jalaz77

Yea it's a stupid question. Dads still get treated like a moron when it comes to raising kids, why? My hubby is very capable of caring for the kids.

nonmember avatar valerie

A-freakin-men! My husband works all day and still comes home and takes over most of the kid duties until they both go to bed. I couldnt deal with a man who would do any less! If they are going to share half of your DNA, then they need to be half (if not more) your responsibility. I have a friend on fb who goes on and on about her husband 'babysitting' and not changing diapers, it takes all that i have to just roll my eyes and keep scrolling.

nonmember avatar Ashley

My husband is going to be a full-time stay at home dad for about two months after my maternity leave until I finish my work contract. People think it's so strange, but who better to leave him with?

Halfa... Halfadozmom

I hate it when moms are all "wow the house is still standing and he had the kids for weekend while I was gone" if he's so incompetent why on earth did you A) marry him and B) have children with him?! He's a fully functioning adult.... Oh. But he never learned how to change a diaper, give a bath, cook, etc etc... Well he was also never taught how to use an iphone, yet he managed to overcome that hurdle!

Choco... Chocodoxies

I can see why people assume that Dad can't hack it. Of all of my friends, only one has a husband who is actively involved in taking care of his children. Just today I invited a friend over for a coffee and she said she couldn't come since her husband got home from work and wouldn't watch the children. This is the same friend constantly complaining about how lonely she is. My other friend can't leave her children with her husband to make a run to the grocery store for a missed ingredient in dinner. It is ridiculous to me! My husband asks our 5 yo if she wants to go with him to the store, and he watches the baby if I make a run out of the house for any reason. I think it falls on the women who deal with that crap. 

nonmember avatar stephanie

I use to get it all the time. People were always shocked that my husband took care of "our" kids while I was at work. He would prefer to stay home with the kids and have me work instead. I am very thankful for my husband. More men need to stand up and be fathers to their children.

nonmember avatar citykitty

The reality is, I am no better equipped to care for my kids or do anything else around the house than he is.

Except when it comes to making the bed, doing laundry, cooking etc. (your words)Can your articles be any more contradictory?

nonmember avatar melmcl

My hubby stayed home for 3 months after I did the initial 3 months. The number of ladies who had to pick their jaws up off the floor when they found out was pretty much everyone who asked where my baby was when I started working. He did a great job, still brought him to me every lunch to nurse, and created a bond with his infant son - best decision ever for all 3 of us!

Zack Shubb

I'll never forget when my first son was about 6 months old and I took him to Trader Joe's with me, and an older woman came up to me and said it was so nice that I was giving mom a break from taking care of the baby. I know the woman meant well but I was very insulted at the implication that my wife must be the one who does all the child raising work, and I was obviously taking on those duties for a short time by taking my son to the market.

I love this article and think when we are "surprised" when fathers are equal partners in child raising, we give too many fathers the excuse to not be equal partners.

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