A 'Dads' T-Shirt Starts a Conversation on Parenting
'Aww, it's so nice of you to babysit' doesn't go over well with male primary caretakers
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 28, 2016 11:39 AM CDT
Al Ferguson of The Dad Network models the shirt that started it all.   (The Dad Network)

(Newser) – The message may seem so obvious as to not require stating, but a photo of a shirt that reads "Dads Don't Babysit (It's Called 'Parenting')" has sparked a larger conversation about parenting on Reddit and beyond. The man behind the shirt, Al Ferguson of The Dad Network, posted the shirt-with-a-message a while ago, but it surfaced again on Reddit just this week and has more than 3,000 comments, many from fathers sharing their own stories about how tired they are of being called a "babysitter" while watching their kids. One in six dads now stays at home with the kids, reports the BBC, yet dads still regularly hear comments such as, "Aww, it's so nice of you to babysit and give mom a break" or "I guess you got stuck with the kids today."

The shirt itself is available on Teespring, and doesn't just come in men's sizes. (Kid versions read, "My Dad Doesn't Babysit (It's Called 'Parenting')." All proceeds go toward a scholarship fund that helps low-income fathers attend an annual at-home dads convention put on by the National At-Home Dad Network, reports the Huffington Post. The dads-as-babysitters message isn't just harmful to fathers, reports ATTN. As Ellen Kate wrote for Everyday Feminism in 2014, "We continue to have overall lower expectations for fathers than for mothers. The result is that mothers continue to be viewed more critically than fathers, who are often given credit for simply showing up." (Check out this dad's "feminist father" shirt that went viral in 2014.)