Dads: Caring for your own child is not babysitting

Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 8.08.13 PMba·by-sit bey-bee-sit]  verb, -sat, -sit·ting.

verb (used without object)

1.

to take charge of a child while the parents are temporarily away.

If a babysitter is someone who watches a child whom they are not the parent to, why do I hear so many fathers say they are going to babysit their children?

“Can’t come out, babysitting tonight.”

No you’re not, you’re taking care of your offspring. You are doing the responsible thing. You are doing not only what is ethical but also what society and nature expects of you. You are not doing the mother a favour, you are being a dad.

At first hearing things liked this would make me mad for the mother, like it were such a great thing for the father to watch his own child/ren. But as I write (I’m only about 100 words in and I’ve switched) I’m mad that guys say these things because it degrades their work as fathers.

If you are a responsible father who cares for your children and takes the time to care for them, don’t downplay that. You’re playing an important and necessary role.

I write other stuff too! Check out HillaryDiMenna.com

Passive-aaaaaaaahgressive baby voice

Go tell someone to “fuck off and die,” in a high pitched baby talk voice. Go on, go ahead I’ll wait.

Now grab a tissue for that bloody nose of yours – because that’s what you deserve, a bloody nose. You probably hurt that person’s feelings, even if you spoke those words in your best soprano.

Saying something aggressive in a sugary sweet voice does not cancel the aggression out. And the way this tactic is used in the situations I am about to tell you are absurdly illogical. Absurdly!

Buy a car! And dress me less ridiculous! I’m a baby!

Like when Patience’s grandmother told my lil three-month-old that, “You have to tell mommy that she needs to buy a car.” How on earth is the baby going to tell me that.

A baby?!

And why would I let that baby boss me around like that, I’m a million times bigger than her.

A million!!

Patience was asleep the majority of the time when she was that age, as if she cared that we had a car or not. Using a ridiculous baby voice is not going to give a baby magical powers to do whatever their grandmother tells them to do.

Also, I am right there! Why would you make a poor baby learn how to speak and become wise beyond their years to realize the importance of a vehicle when I’m right there? That is so much stress on a baby.

Her other granmother still uses that voice, and while I am there, to tell Patience to tell me to dress her differently. Firstly, I have wicked style; the kind Gwen Stefani writes songs about. Secondly, I’m right there!

Using that annoying voice doesn’t make the words you are saying true. If it did we as a people would have been overthrown by toy dogs.

I really want a pomeranian princess puppy.

I write other stuff too! Check HillaryDiMenna.com

A bittersweet change

microscope
Under the microscope/ Image from phys.org

I went apartment hunting yesterday.

Well, I looked at one, and really liked it. It was when filling out the application and putting down the names of the family members whom Patience and I currently live with that it dawned on me: they should be aware of my moving out.

How do you explain to a family that you are going to take their granddaughter from their home?

In my case, I walked in their room nervously and rambled on about how the decision wasn’t based on a disliking of them but my need for personal growth and a closer proximity to downtown Oshawa.

Truth is, it kind of is them, not that the above statements aren’t true and the majority factors of the push.

There are many pros to living with your child’s grandparents. We’re talking free babysitting, extra supervision, food, shelter. Luxuries!

But the cons are undeniably existent too. Two big issues for me: A lack of respect for my parenting skills, resulting in issue number two, feelings of mothering inadequacy.

In my case it is especially hard because their daughter has a son just a year younger than P and a parenting technique reminiscent of her parents’. She has their same values, such as being an active member of the church. I love who she is, she is a sister to me, and her parenting works for her and her own child. Why can’t this open mindedness be applied to me instead of a constant comparaison?

I don’t appreciate being told that I deserve a smack when letting her use my cell phone because of incomplete studies on the damage they may cause nor am I OK with her being played church songs all day without so much as consenting me.

And quotes such as, “Mommy is wrong,” or “Mommy had a bad idea,” are sending her a message that her mother is a downright moron. Not to mention I receive that message loud and clear while sitting in the next room.

How am I supposed to grow and parent her efficiently when I live under a microscope?

I do not mean to paint a poor picture. This family literally took me in from the streets and saved my life. However, there needs to be a line drawn on who her actual parent is.

An article by Ellen Gibson was on parentcentral.com Dec. 6 called When Granny is Nanny.

These issues seem to be common and I suggest for anyone in similar situations to create clear ground rules now before areas become to gray. This will eliminate resentment from either party down the road.

I appreciate what they have given me and they are my family. They were there in a time where I needed to get back on my feet from a messy separation. But now I’m standing pretty.

I am excited to have my own space again. I’m thinking Hello Kitty … everywhere. And I will visit them always.

I write other stuff too! Check out HillaryDiMenna.com

Free-Range Kids

Free-Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy

When I say her name people begin to tell me about Lenore Skenazy’s show, Bubblewrap Kids. Others who know more of her career know her as ‘America’s Worst Mom’ or the woman who let her nine-year-old son ride a New York subway on his own.

Skenazy’s book is a little frightening for two reasons:

One, though she tried, she could not pursuade me that things like a little Patience riding the subway alone is OK. That stuff is scary.

Two, it’s a shame we may not let our children live based on media and fear.

Love her or hate her, she is right in saying things get blown way out of proportion in the media. Bottom line, fear sells. A teacher in my journalism course spoke of a newspaper that only had happy news, and it failed. You twisted people love scandal!

Skenazy writes of the good old days of fun playgrounds, playing outside, and Halloween Trick-or-Treating. I did all these things, you probably did too (except for my England readers- sorry you missed out!)

You know what’s sad? I’m really scared of Patience playing outside or walking to school one day. I’m not immune. Skenazy herself admits to her own fears, a refreshing candid approach.

Though crime rates are not rising, it seems that way since we are surrounded by 24/7 media. It’s kind of like how sharks get a bad rep because we hear the one time they attack a human as opposed to the years that go by with no shark attacks at all.

I may not be laid back enough to allow my kiddo to do some Free-Range suggestions, but I’m open minded enough to suggest you all give this book a read, it’ll be worth your time and may just comfort you in some situations (Like it did me when I lost Patience in a department store for a whole two minutes)

Free-Range Kids blog

I write other stuff too! Check out HillaryDiMenna.com

Misfit TV Guide

Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 7.29.27 PM

Parenting shows that aren’t a whole bunch of bleached smiles and cardigans (Not the cool cardigans, really boring castrated cardigans that would frown if they had mouths).

If you have any suggestions let me know!

Crash Test Mommy : A mom and a know-it-all jerk trade places for the weekend – ha!

Bubble Wrap Kids : I had the chance to talk to the host Lenore Skenazy, host and author of Free-Range Kids, yesterday actually. She is really funny 🙂 This show helps a scared parent loosen up and let their children have a childhood.

I write other stuff too! Check out HillaryDiMenna.com