Since Baby P was about 3 months old, I’ve returned to my weekly dance classes. It’s only a couple of hours and provides me with that bit of me time and enables my husband to have that all important quality time just him and her.
I’ve also done a couple of keeping in touch days at work and he’s booked time off work to once again have some time on his own with little P.
I think it’s important that he gets this time, it helps little miss P learn that although mummy and daddy come as a package, she sometimes has one without the other. She learns that we will leave but will always come back and that both mummy and daddy can tend to all her needs. It’s also nice for us to both enjoy our own time with her, to develop our own little private rituals that maybe we wouldn’t do in front of each other. Like when I sing and dance with her to the radio on an afternoon, I’ve not done that when my husband’s been around, it’s our own little thing we do whilst he’s at work, that and other little quirky songs and games we’ve developed together. Not that I can’t play and sing like that with her in front of him, I do, it’s just that we’ve fallen into a pattern of our own little games and playtimes that are just ours, mummy and daughter time and I know my hubby does the same when he’s looking after her, just like his bathtime routine we have our own special moments where we’re in our own parenting bubble with our daughter.
What has surprised me though is when people have asked, “who’s babysitting” when I’ve gone out without baby P. My response is obviously that she’s with her dad, but people have still referred to him as a babysitter and he’s not, he’s her dad. I’d like to think that in this day and age we are past the whole 1950’s housewife, mum stays at home to look after the house and kids while the man goes out to work. I’d like to think that parenthood is seen as just that, parenthood and that either one of the parents can stay at home with their children and that it’s not babysitting, it’s being a mum or dad.
If he were a babysitter then is babysitting what I’m doing at home everyday whilst he goes out to work? If so should it be called babysitting leave rather than maternity leave? I believe that both of us are just being parents and spending time with our daughter and that it doesn’t matter when, how often or how long for one leaves the baby with the other, we’re being parents, not babysitters.