I Don’t Babysit. Mercier Wellness & Consulting

For the last four years now, I have been home with my kids off and on. Recently, my work has allowed me to spend more time at home with my family. I have learned a lot about myself and a lot about myself and a lot about people in general.

While I am not an at-home-dad exclusively, on average I am home two or three days a week. On the days when I am home, I will sometimes engage in a ritual performed by much of our species: grocery shop. I load the kids in the minivan and we head off to gather food and supplies. Since I began taking my kids with me, I have become somewhat of an attraction. While collecting navel oranges and bananas, I notice stares and hear things like “Ooo” and “Oh my”. On occasion, some observers have been brave enough to cautiously approach me and my bunch and ask questions.

On one occasion, I had this exchange with a lady:

“So mom needed a break, huh?”

“Excuse me?” , I replied.

“That’s nice,” she said as she walked away.

This is pretty much how it goes when we are out in public. The conversations and comments are pretty much the same. It doesn’t matter if we’re at Target, CVS, Costco, or the library (story time is no joke!).

One morning I was once again engaged in my ritual of gathering food when a gentleman began to circle us. I thought perhaps he wanted to get to the strawberries we were collecting. I looked up to see him watching us. He smiled and asked,

“So you’re babysitting?”

“Excuse me?”, I replied.

“That’s good. Good for you,” he said walking away.

As a father of three, it is my responsibility to care for my children and spend time with them. Truth be told, I enjoy their company more than some adults I know. I find the notion that men who are home with their children are babysitting to be beyond ridiculous; not to mention ignorant. Since when were fathers expected to babysit rather than care for their children? Furthermore, society says they want fathers to be present and involved. Yet when they are, these men are regarded as strange. Why do people turn their heads when they see a father pushing a stroller or changing a diaper in the men’s room?

The challenges of being a parent are tough enough without having to deal with other people’s issues and expectations. So next time you see us in our family wagon or in Publix picking blueberries, don’t stand off in the distance staring and taking pictures. The flash hurts our eyes.

In case you missed it, I don’t babysit. I am a father.
Mercier (92 of 158)Jameson is a father of three beautiful children, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and professor in Fort Lauderdale, FL. He works with families and individuals in the areas of self-improvement, relationships, and more. Jameson also consults with businesses and organizations seeking to improve employee relationships and build team morale. For more info, visit www.jamesonmercier.com or email info@jamesonmercier.com. You can also follow us of Facebook at Mercier Wellness & Consulting or via Twitter@JamesonMercier.

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