When it's your kids, is it really babysitting?

This is thankfully not a problem in our little home, but it is a topic among a lot of the new parents that I am getting to know.

Is it really considered babysitting when a person watches after their own offspring?

Sometimes it’s the dad complaining of this, sometimes it’s the mom, I’m not picking sides here. But it is MHO that watching your own children should not be considered babysitting.

In the interest of enlightening myself a bit more on this subject I ask all of you, what do you think of this?

[sub]Another topic altogether is the one about who gets to do the majority of that offspring overseeing, work schedules not withstanding. [/sub]

I have noticed that this term is more often used in conjunction with the father taking care of the kids “solo.” When the mom does so, no special term is used, it’s just normal parenting.

I don’t like it–it’s an annoying reminder that too often society works against 50-50 parenting. It’s subtle, but it bugs me. Among the parents we know, we’re quick to correct each other if we make that slip. I never say my husband or anyone else’s husband is “babysitting.” We also work hard not to raise eyebrows or express surprise or ask stupid questions like “Who is watching the kids?” when we’re out together as women.

A similar peeve is when the men’s rooms don’t have changing tables. I can’t tell you how many time my husband has gone to change my sons diaper and had to bring him back because there is no changing table except in the women’s bathroom.

On a similar note, my son’s godfather is the father of five. He has spent one too many Sunday mornings changing his daughter on the floor of the men’s room foyer, so he told his priest his gift to the church this year was going to be two changing tables for the bathrooms. The priest said “Why two? We only need one, for the women’s restroom.” Sigh.

My opinion on the subject is that, in my experience, more and more people are having children, simply because it’s “the next step”. Not because they actually WANT children. Children are like a side project to their normal lives. As such, when the parents have to spend time with the children…time they could/would be doing something ELSE…it is seen as a chore. So, to them, it IS babysitting.

Maybe my response belongs more in the Pit than here. I’ll try to keep this from rant proportions. My answer to the OP is NO! It is not “babysitting” when a parent stays home with his/her own child. It’s PARENTING! Staying home with the kids you manufactured is just what you DO.

Like Cranky, I have most often heard this term used for men who ordinarly woulnd’t be home with the child at the time in question. Which always irritates me to no end, because I find it sexist and feel for the children involved. I certainly didn’t grow up feeling like my dad was “babysitting” me, i.e., doing an extra “chore” while he was hanging out with me, using my Easy Bake Oven or taking me fishing or playing softball with my sister and me. My dad worked full time and he was glad for every spare minute he had to spend with us.

My MIL always says that my husband is “babysitting” if I go out and he stays home to care for HIS OWN children.
Excuse me, but taking care of your own children is not babysitting.

Like Cranky said, many times we’ve been out and I had to be the one to take the baby to the bathroom to change a diaper (not lately, thank goodness!), because the men’s room didn’t have the changing table. :rolleyes:

What about when older siblings watch kids? I have a brother who is 11 years younger than me (I’ll admit, that’s a bit extreme), but I never felt I was “babysitting” him. Maybe because I never got paid.

I watch China bambina perhaps more than my wife does. I use the term baby sitting all the time in reference to myself. hey guys, gotta run, I am baby sitting tonight. I suppose I could say I’ve got child duty, or parent duty or something but baby sitting seems like a pretty useful term to me. Heck, I usually say I have a hall pass when I get out to the local bar with my homies.

I have never seen a public changing table either. But then again in China one does not get discriminated for the crime of having a child (although too many kids can be a problem), so you can change your kid right there on the restaurant table and no one bats and eye.

One of the many, excellent reasons I’m a divorced woman today is that my ex considered being in charge of his son ‘babysitting’ and needed more instructions than the average sitter. (where’s the extra diapers? did you fix a bottle for him? where’s the wipes? I mean fercryin’ out loud, that was not only his child, but at the time, he lived in the house!)

Did I consider it sitting when I did it?


and, after the divorce, the way I looked at it, referred to weekends was “Oh, good, I get to see Ben this weekend”, while his father would say such things as (yes, in front of our son :mad: ) “oh good, that means I don’t have to have Ben that weekend”.

Wring, you want we should gang up and beat that man for you? :wink:
Easy e, I do consider watching my younger sibs, or my nieces and nephews as “babysitting”. But not my own child.

I’d think that for health reasons I really wouldn’t want to see people doing this in any restaurant I was eating at. I can’t imagine how it is sanitary to lay a kid on a table cloth and proceed to change a diaper full of lunch without exposing said table to e. coli and other bacterias that are contained in waste.

It’s not ‘punishment’, it’s a public health issue. I expect you to wipe your own butt in the bathroom, so I also expect you to wipe your kid’s butt in the bathroom.

I think this will be more appropriate for IMHO, so I’ll move it over there.

I do NOT think taking care of one’s own kids can be considered babysitting and either does my husband. One of the reasons he is my husband! I know a woman whose husband not only considers it babysitting, but insists he is not a babysitter! He never takes care of his kids alone. Even when he is out of work. Which is a lot. My husband claims this man is his hero, but I know that he’s just kidding.


My thoughts exactly. I actually started a thread a while back after I saw a woman in a restaurant do exactly this - she changed a diaper on a restaurant table. WTF? Do you use the toiled seat to eat lunch on? Restaurant and kitchen tables should NOT be used as changing tables.

Babysitting is something you do for pay or as a favor. Therefore,
taking care of your own child isn’t babysitting. It’s just part of being a parent.

In regard to easy e’s point-- I think it just depends on the circumstances. It is part of your responsibility as a family member to watch the younger sibs at times. But if your parents ask you to go above and beyond what would normally be expected, I suppose that would qualify as babysitting–you’re doing it as a favor (even if you really can’t say no.)

Well, now, that’s a slightly different situation. You didn’t have anything to do with the decision to make/have/keep your little brother (aside from the possibility that you maybe once asked for a little bro for your 4th birthday). You were not his parent, and he wasn’t your responsibility (in a general sense).

Kudos to you for apparently enjoying the time with your little brother (so that it never felt like babysitting).

However, as a person who often struggles to stay afloat in the Sea of Family Obligations, I am sort of against forcing siblings to be responsible for each other (perhaps you saw my Pit rant several weeks back about how my mother expects me to pay for life insurance for my older sister’s kids) based merely on the Sibling Factor.

Yeah, easy for me to say, because I don’t have any kids, I know. And if I do have kids one day, I may be singing a different tune. My feeling, however, is that if you had nothing to do with bringing the little rugrat :wink: into this world, you shouldn’t be forced into taking care of him.

Ironically, I also feel like refusal to do an occasional favor for your parents (who presumably took care of you pretty well, kept you from getting rickets and bought you that Barbie Townhouse you wanted) or for your sister (assuming you’ve recovered enough from the Lip Gloss Wars enough to feel love for each other) is kind of selfish and assholic (here I will also echo *Green Bean’s point about how being a part of a family comes with certain responsibilities towards all other members thereof). . . But I don’t believe parents should use you like a work mule, either (not to say that yours DID… I’m speaking mainly to expectation, here).

Soooo, aenea, does this person get paid for watching their child? I assume they get refrigerator privileges.:slight_smile: Do they go home at the end of the night? Would they get in trouble if they invited their boyfriend over while the kids’ parents are out?

NO, it’s not baby-sitting if your taking care of your own child. It’s being a parent!

What about step-children?
My soon-to-be ex-husband always referred to it as babysitting when he cared for my daughter (while I worked), even after seven years of marriage.
It always irritated me that he said that, but at the time it was the least of our problems so I kept my mouth shut.
Oh well, just add that one to the “thank God…” list :slight_smile:

Babysitting is caring for someone else’s child. Caring for your own child is parenting.

Um, lay off China Guy. He didn’t mean that NOT being allowed to change diapers on your plate was a punishment.

He’s describing a very different culture. I mean, little kids wear split pants so they can cop a squat anywhere there. Don’t get all weirded out.