Stop belittling dads and mums. It isn’t “daddy daycare” – it’s parenting!

Dad and son at park. Plane

The other day my brother posted a cute photo of himself at the beach with my adorable nephew. It was a Sunday and his mama was working at her retail job. I was about to ‘like’ the photo of them in dorky hats with sun cream smeared noses, when I stopped.

Someone had commented with the two words that make me cringe:

“Daddy daycare?” They asked playfully.

Now I ‘m not a ranty person. Truly! In fact I’m more of a ‘see things in shades of grey’ than a black and white opinionist, but why oh why, do people think that dads taking care of their kids is a form of daycare?

I get that the ‘daddy daycare’ alliteration is fun to say, and I love a play on words as much as the next person, but I think this annoying phrase just has to go! Maybe you agree with me?

FFS, it’s just parenting!

First up, how is looking after your own kids a form of daycare? No one calls a mum a babysitter when her little one’s dad is at work. But if she’s enjoying a latte at the hairdresser? “Oh, you must have the hubby on daddy daycare, bet you’re enjoying the time off,” the foil-hared lady in the next chair will quip.

I get that many of us (me included) use actual daycare when we have to work, but it’s paid childcare. My kids’ dad taking them out for a babycino while I do the week’s shopping or even just kicking a ball to them at the park because they needed to get out of the house, is NOT daycare. It’s parenting. And in 2018 it isn’t just a mum’s job if she has a parenting-involved partner or ex.

Dad at shops. Baby carrier

Daddy daycare is devaluing what dads do

I think the reason I despise the term so much is because it belittles dads. It shifts the important role they play in raising their kids to be good humans to that of babysitter, one who is only on duty when mum isn’t. And what about all those stay at home dads, or the working dads who tag team looking after the kids with their partners so they can both work? Are they daycare workers, or just parents? 

Daddy daycare isn’t a favour to mums

Of course the other reason it annoys me is because it implies that dad spending one on one time with his littlies is somehow doing us mums a favour, like cleaning the house. Daddy daycare gives mum a break, a chance to get some sh#!t done and we now owe them for it. Well sorry, I don’t think we do. If you are lucky enough to have a partner who shares the parenting load, and I get that not all of us are (and hats off to single parents everywhere!), then it isn’t daddy daycare, it’s just family life. And good dads/partners get that.

Dad pushing kids on swing

Dads aren’t ‘acting parents’

By strangers complimenting a dad on “giving mum a break” it implies they are just the ‘acting’ parent until the real primary caregiver is back. It’s demeaning and it negates the depth of relationships dads have with their kids. It also kinda insults actual daycare workers who are teachers and more than just babysitters, too. 

As for the comment

I did something I never do. I engaged in an online confrontation. After ‘loving’ the photo on Facebook, I commented meekly: “It’s not daddy daycare, it’s parenting.” So far it’s had three likes. I know, SO brave of me!

Does the phrase daddy daycare annoy you too? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page.

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