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Hey Dominos, Dads Don't Babysit, They Parent!

Photograph by Twenty20

When I first saw that Domino's had launched a pizza-centric baby registry, my first thought was one of honest admiration for the beloved chain.

Finally! I thought to myself. Someone is getting down to the heart of what parents really need in their lives—someone to buy them pizza after they bring a baby home.

Because really, what more do you need in life than the gift of pizza and perhaps the occasional pizza onesie? Forget the wet wipe samples and someone petition the hospitals to send pizza gift cards home with every new parent.

But as I was perusing through the many pizza-themed offerings and packages that Domino's is offering, from "Hormonal and Hangry" to "Sleeping Through The Night," I was shocked when I saw that they were proudly displaying a prominent package near the bottom of their "essentials" page that listed: "Dad's Babysitting - AKA Mom's Night Out."

The "Dad's Babysitting" package, which costs $30, proclaims to assist apparently hapless father "make dinner as easy as pizza." You know, because dads are incapable of doing any real parenting.

I have to admit, I thought that surely, the "Dad's Babysitting" package had to be a joke. Surely, no real employee at Domino's thought that was a fine idea to market, did they?

I thought by now we had all gotten on the same page that "joking" about dads babysitting their own children was definitely not funny anymore. I mean, it was never particularly funny, but it's especially unfunny in today's culture, with more parents working full-time, treating parenting as a shared responsibility, and breaking many types of gender-specific norms—both in their dynamics and family structure.

But nope, the Dad's Babysitting package is live and there and it's hard to believe we are still making this same parenting "joke." And listen, I'm all about Mom's Night Out and I'm all about making dinner easy, but let's get one thing straight: assuming that moms are the primary parental figure in charge and responsible for such adult things as healthy dinners is not OK.

Sure, it's fine to let Mom out of the house for a little while, but let's not get carried away. Someone has to make "real' dinner after all, right?

I mean, the implication is clear here, right? When Mom's away, Dad and kids can play. And that's just downright hurtful and offensive to families everywhere.

Not only is it implying that dads aren't capable of doing more than keeping a kid alive and ordering pizza—so essentially no more than the 15-year-old who gets a few bucks to babysit—but it's implying that it's all basically survival until Mom gets back to her rightful place in the home.

Sure, it's fine to let Mom out of the house for a little while, but let's not get carried away. Someone has to make "real' dinner after all, right?

It's so frustrating, not only because such a stereotype completely ignores all the different types of families out there, from gay parents to single parents, but it also reinforces that tired stereotype that moms are the "real" parents, responsible for such tiresome tasks like ensuring kids eat their veggies and do their homework, while dads are there to just show up once in a while and do fun things like order pizza.

Yay, dads! Moms are sooo boring!

And just to be clear: not all moms cook. In our household, I'm much more likely to be the one to suggest springing for pizza because—shocker!—my husband, our kids' father, AKA not-the-babysitter-but-an-equal-parenting-partner-which-makes-sense-considering-he-made-them-with-me, cooks the majority of the family meals.

So no, Domino's, a mother leaving her house to escape her kitchen, where apparently you think she lives, does not result in the household falling into complete and total disarray of a father caring for his own offspring with no idea of how to feed them. Dads don't "babysit" and they don't order pizza from the $20 bucks their wives or partners leave clipped to the fridge next to the list of emergency numbers.

Dads, just like moms, parent. And all parents love a night "off" once in awhile. Maybe next time you'll remember that and get a few moms on your side to order in some pizza too.

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