The Meaning of 'Equal'
When we chose the name Equally Shared Parenting to describe our specific parenting lifestyle, we struggled with whether or not it fully described our philosophies. In truth, the term 'egalitarian marriage with children' is more accurate, but not nearly as catchy or easy to remember. 'Shared parenting' is dominated by the world of custody arrangements post-divorce. And terms like 'parenting together' or 'role-sharing parenting' are not descriptive enough.
And so we embraced Equally Shared Parenting as the best all-around, easy-to-say, generally descriptive term. But every so often, we encounter objections. One objection is to the word 'equal'. Objectors say 'but we're equal parents too, even though we have a traditional arrangement'. I think the confusion here is in the way 'equal' is meant. We certainly don't mean that partners in other types of marriages are less equal as humans. In our chosen terminology, 'equal(ly)' comes before the word 'shared'; we want to convey that Equally Shared Parenting means the parenting is equally shared between two people.
Even so, our term can still be misleading. We mean so much more than equal sharing of parenting. We mean equal sharing of breadwinning and housework, and recreation time, too. And equal involvement in the overall health and well-being of the family. All of this is connected, of course, to equal regard for each other as parents, partners and individuals...but this equal regard is also what we hope happens with any type of parenting lifestyle - be it traditional or equal sharing.