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There is actually a great meaning behind these 'Dads don't babysit' t-shirts

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Picture: Imgur/carlinha1289

A picture of a t-shirt has led to a political debate about a man's role in the home.

Let's explain - an old picture of Al Ferguson from The Dad Network was reposted to the r/pic subreddit.

The image, posted to Imgur, read:

Dad's dont babysit. (It's called "parenting")

View post on imgur.com

The image sparked an engaging debate about parenting stereotypes.

Ferguson told BBC Trending:

I've had people ask me 'Are you looking after the kids today?' Or 'I can tell you've dressed the baby today.

It's just out of date. The modern dad is more active in their family life than they were historically. It's out of date to assume the mum is the primary caregiver.

Reddit users shared their own experiences in the comments, one user wrote:

It hurt really bad when I was a new stay-at-home dad and people would ask about me babysitting… It really made me almost cry sometimes because it was like they couldn't see me as a caretaker.

Others criticised the ongoing sexist trope that fathers are incapable parents, as crd3635 did:

Reminds me of all those ridiculous commercials where they make it seem like dads don't know how to take care of their kids while mom is away. They make a mess, kids go crazy, they don't know how to cook, clean, change a diaper... where's all the outrage?

Another user wrote:

I do not have children, but I've heard this complaint tons of times from friends/family that do. Basically, a common thing heard by fathers when they're out with their kids in public is 'Aww, it's so nice of you to babysit and give mom a break', 'I guess you got stuck with the kids today', or something along those lines.

It's a mentality (whether intentional or not) that diminishes the role fathers play in the lives of their kids. They're not seen as an equal in parenting, they're the 'babysitter' who only steps in occasionally when mom needs a break or something.

Others pointed out that some fathers use the babysitting line to act like their role as parent is a favour to the other parent:

It goes the other way too. My husband will occasionally say that 'You owe me for babysitting last Saturday'… You are their father, you were parenting!

What do you think about men's role in parenting?

Let us know in the poll below and in the comments:

Thankfully, Reddit being what it is, there were also some humourous responses amid the debate, from the obvious t-shirt dig...

I wish I had a shirt for every message I wanted to get out on Instagram and twitter.

...to a whole new term for 'babysitting'...

When I was a newborn, I was sat on by my dad. Does it count as him babysitting then?

...to a misinterpretation...

Hear that neighbor?! When I watch your little rugrat, I'm their new father!

...turned world domination plan:

We Are the Family. You Will be Assimilated. Resistance is Futile.


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