Equally Shared Parenting - Half the Work ... All the Fun

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Here's where we keep you updated on news about parenting as it relates to division of responsibilities, career versus home decisions, work/life balance, and legislative and grass-roots movements toward equality or better choices for families. We'll also throw in our opinions of life as equal parents in a nonequal world, regardless of what's in the news.

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Equality Blog

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Snow-Day Scramble
It happens to all of us - plans foiled by a blizzard (or a feverish child) on a Monday morning. No preschool today. And for a working parent, that usually means no work that day either. Unless one of you stays home full-time, you've got to figure out how to get yourself out of this type of jam, and your child safely cared for, in a hurry.

This problem is humorously covered in Paul Nyhan's Working Dad blog from 11/28's Seattle PostIntelligencer. But how does equally shared parenting make it any easier to handle? The answer is in the predictable division of who stays home. In our house, there is only a 2 in 7 chance one of us has to deal with the problem at all; our reduced hours mean that outside childcare is only needed on Mondays and Wednesdays. And since we split things 50:50, we each take a day for which coverage may be needed. I've got Mondays - anytime one of our kids can't make daycare on a Monday, my employer knows I'll be out. Ditto with Wednesdays at Amy's workplace. The beauty of this arrangement is that I will NOT be out any other day but a Monday and my employer knows that too.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Balance is the New Cool
According to this article written on 11/22 by Linell Smith from The Baltimore Sun, Gen Xers (born from 1965 to 1980) and Millennials (born from 1981 to 2000) are seekers of balance rather than high salaries. These younger workers have watched their parents climb the corporate ladder as workaholics, and they'll have none of it.

Smith writes that 'Apparently, Gen Xers and Millennials aren't interested in earning as much - not if it intrudes too heavily on their personal and family lives.' An industrial psychologist is quoted at the end of the article as saying, to our delight, that 'Today a person is more admired for their work/life balance, for how well they handle everything in their lives'. Yes!

One glitch in this rosy picture, however, may be the trend for Gen Xers to change jobs often. Smith depicts them as being loyal to their career rather than to their workplace. This may make for fast-track 'success', but it doesn't help any one employer want to take a chance on them if they ask for reduced hours or other flextime options to be home with their families. Be careful, Gen Xers...don't jump ship just to get ahead and regret it later!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Equal Parents do 'Let's Dish!'
So, the other day Amy and I decided to try one of those new dinner prep services. You know, those places where you sign up to make a bunch of dinners and then show up and scoop out all the ingredients into baggies and freeze them for quick meals on busy weeknights. Where we live, the dominant chain is called 'Let's Dish!' and so off we went. We got my parents to stay with the kids, so it instantly felt like a date of sorts.

The whole experience was really fun. Not for everyday, since the cost of meals is still more than if you bought regular groceries. But entertaining, well-run, and reasonably priced compared to take-out or a restaurant meal. However, as we donned our aprons and head scarves, I began to notice that I was the only guy in the place. As the 'date' progressed, I also noticed the bold, friendly signage that made fun of men and their inability to cook. Then, several other patrons started to make me feel...let's say, unique. 'I wish my husband would come here with me' or 'My husband wouldn't leave the TV to come here' or (to Amy) 'He's cute - and he cooks too?' were some of their comments.

We had a great time - and Amy got to be reminded of my talents and great beauty. But this little event reminded both of us that there will be times and places that make an equally sharing guy a bit uncomfortable still. I can't blame the store for marketing to its target audience - women - but I can take one for the team and forge ahead through their doors to do my stereotype-busting part. I think I'll be back...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Working Mother Magazine Picks a New Tagline
Have you seen Working Mother magazine lately? We noticed something particularly special about the last two issues, starting with the October annual 100 Best Companies offering. It is the tiny tagline under the magazine title. Previous issues have sported the catchy The Art of Making It Work phrase. But now, Working Mother has made a change to The Only Magazine for Balance Seekers. We take this as some pretty serious evidence that Balance is trumping Successful Juggling. And balance is what equal sharing is all about. Thanks for the refreshing change, Working Mother!

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