IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

We're not babysitting! Dads speak out in TODAY's fatherhood survey

The dads who took our Father's Day survey say they want more respect, and for people to stop commending them for babysitting.
/ Source: TODAY Contributor

Ask Dad what he wants for Father's Day and you may be surprised to hear that while those new grilling tools are nice, what Dad really wants is some R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Nearly 500 dads responded to TODAY's un-scientific survey about fathers and their role in society, and the results were clear — almost two-thirds of the men who answered our poll feel that society does not respect dads enough for their contribution to their family.

Thankfully, partners are doing their part to make dads feel appreciated in their homes. Two-thirds of dads said they feel respected by their mates for their parenting role.

Chris Cate, host of the ParentNormal Comedy Podcast, says this could be because the person you co-parent with understands the parenting challenges you face better than anyone.

"Parents usually have respect for each other, but if you haven't been awake at 3 a.m. holding a toddler covered in vomit who needs to see you smile and say everything is going to be all right, then you can't really understand everything moms and dads do 24 hours a day," Cate told TODAY Parents.

Chris Cate
"I don't think anybody who knows me would view me as babysitting the kids," said Chris Cate. "But most of the people I know these days are other parents."Chris Cate

Take the survey now: Where do fathers fit into the modern world?

More than 70 percent of dads say they struggle to find a good work-life balance, a number that is unsurprising in light of the fact that more than half of the dads surveyed indicated that they do not feel they receive enough support from their employers in their role as a father.

Jon Murray, who vlogs with his family on their YouTube channel, says his job at a church has been helpful in balancing the demands of work and family.

"It can be hard to balance everything as I do have to work, but I believe my responsibilities are to God, my family, and then to my work," said Murray. "Luckily I've been able to find work that is understanding of that and therefore helps me support my family in more ways than just monetarily."

Jon Murray
Murray, pictured with his four daughters, says he's found work-life balance to be easier to achieve since finding a job that allows him to spend time with his family, enabling him to "support his family in more ways than just monetarily."Jon Murray

Cate adds that, when it comes to juggling work and family, the important thing is to spend quality time together whenever possible.

"I have three kids and work full time, so I don't think it's possible to balance everything every day," said Cate. "I think the best thing to do is try to make the biggest impact you can in the moments you have with each other. If you only have an hour after work to spend with your kids or spouse, make sure to talk to them and make that hour meaningful rather than just be in the same room with them."

Dads also agree that when they are spending time with their children, they do not consider it "babysitting." Nearly 90 percent of the dads who took our survey agree that they are fathers, not child care providers, while nearly 60 percent of dads say that they have had an outsider commend them for "babysitting" their kids while on solo outings.

Seth King, who posts hilarious notes excusing his kids' tardiness to school on his Late Notes Instagram account, says it takes time for society to change its views.

Seth King
Seth King says fathers today are looking for ways to support their partners and families more than ever. "In 30 years, it'll be interesting to see if these questions are still something that are asked about fathers or if we will have evolved to a point where it's a non-issue," said King.Seth King

"People do call it babysitting when I am alone with the kids. I don't, but people do," said King. "I definitely don't feel like I am babysitting. I might call it 'Dad time' or 'Wrestlemania' or 'Don't-tell-mom-we-did-this' or 'Dadpocalypse' or something similar, but never babysitting. I'm their dad, not an unrelated third party."

TODAY also asked moms whether or not they think their partners get enough respect from society. Nearly 70 percent of moms agree that Dad deserves more respect on Father's Day and every day.

Penn Holderness, who creates parodies and videos with his family on their YouTube channel, says he feels that dads today get more respect than his father's generation due to factors like less traditional jobs that make it easier to spend time at home. Still, the father-of-two has been called a "babysitter," something he admits to being guilty of calling himself in the past.

Penn Holderness
"Dads need to be dads and do things babysitters don't," Penn Holderness told TODAY. "Hug them so hard they can barely breathe, stay up with them later than they are supposed to, eat off the floor, swing them until they are dizzy, encourage farting...that kind of stuff."Penn Holderness

"I used to call it that, and (my wife) was like, 'Stop saying that. You are their father. You are not a babysitter.' I didn't realize that ticked people off, but it makes sense," said Holderness. "Dads need to be dads and do things babysitters don't — hug them so hard they can barely breathe, stay up with them later than they are supposed to, eat off the floor, swing them until they are dizzy, encourage farting...that kind of stuff."

"However, our babysitter is so incredible, I feel like calling me a babysitter is an insult to babysitters, not an insult to me."