Equal Doesn't Mean Identical
When I'm discussing the merits of equally shared parenting with others, a particular issue comes up every so often. This is the issue of genderless parenting, in which the gender (or perhaps more accurately, the individuality) of the parents is no longer valued. Opponents of equal parenting have used this issue as a reason to promote traditional male:female roles and also to belittle the notion of equality. I would like to point out an important flaw in this argument - the fact that 'equal' and 'identical' have two different meanings in any dictionary I've ever consulted.
In equally shared parenting, we mean exactly that - two parents who are truly considered equals. They are equal contributors to each of the four domains of the household (breadwinning, childraising, housework and recreation time). They have equal respect for each other's contributions in these domains. On the other hand, identical parenting would be dull indeed. Here, we would have two parents who think alike, act alike, and simply fill in for each other without their children even noticing the change of guard. Yuck!
Equal parents are fully unique individuals. They can have totally different interests and can even divide tasks along traditional gender lines if that is what suits them best - as long as the tasks come out even time-wise. Their very differences are one of the joys of this lifestyle from the children's perspective - the kids get an equal dose of two unique parents with two different sets of talents and interests.
Equally shared parenting does not mean identical parenting or genderless parenting. It lets us all be ourselves and still have a chance at balanced lives.