PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — “…I’m not the babysitter. I’m not just their playmate. I’m their dad. And looking after them and guiding them and caring for them is my responsibility. And I love it – with all of its challenges….”
That May 9 Facebook post by Jeremy Martin-Weber has now been shared more than 1300 times, featured on ABCNews.com and sparked a bit of a national conversation about the role dads have — and their perceived role — inside families.
But it’s nothing new to Jeremy and his wife of 20 years, Jessica Martin-Weber.
“What (people) say to me is a lot of ‘Wow, he’s staying with the kids.’ or ‘Who’s with the kids when you’re here?’ while I’m traveling for work or at a meeting,” Jessica told KOIN 6 News. “When I say, ‘Well, their father, their dad, the other person I parent with because we’re privileged to be a 2-parent home, that’s something we do. We take that seriously. That’s the job for both of us.”
The couple — Jeremy is 40, Jessica is 39 — have 6 children between the ages of 18 and 5, with another on the way. They run a home business, but about twice a month Jessica travels.
That’s when they get the comments.
Jeremy said he made that Facebook post because he “kind of wanted to beat people to the punchline, because I knew they were coming anyway. … I’m not babysitting. I’m going to just take care of my kids.”
He decided to do it that day as they were headed to PDX. They were joking about all the comments Jessica was going to hear.
But Jeremy said he doesn’t need any special praise for taking care of the kids.
“If I were to go out of town for a couple days she would pick up the slack, and actually in our family, because our kids are old enough, we all pick up the slack.”
He wanted to educate people and challenge people “to think differently about dads that stay home with their kids. And I’m not even staying home. My kids are at school. I’m still working.”
Jessica said in Portland this is “normal already for most of us. It’s not a big deal.” But on social media and in other parts of the country it still feels like “this is extraordinary, an unusual thing.”
They’re both surprised at how viral the Facebook post has gone. But Jessica is looking ahead.
“Hopefully this won’t go viral in, like, 10 years. It will be so not a viral thing,” she said. “We don’t need a standing ovation for feeding our kids and for making sure they get to school, hopefully, on time.”