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, March 29, 2007

Assigning names to parenting lifestyles and work/life concepts is a media pastime of late. There's a whole vocabulary of words and acronyms now that didn't exist so long ago - SAHM/D, WAHP, helicopter parent, on-ramp, opt-out, and the like. Most of these need no explanation. But the real lives of parents often don't fit the definitions. What do you call a father who works compressed hours and cares for his kids alone two days a week? He's not a stay-at-home dad, and yet describing him by his worklife alone doesn't cut it.

This leads us to the issue of naming the lifestyle to which this website is devoted. 'Why even give it a name?', we've been asked. Does equal sharing really need its own moniker? It does. When something has a name, it can be explained quickly. It took us 521 words to describe the concept of equal sharing in our essay 'What is Equally Shared Parenting?' and 22 words to define the term. A name grounds something. Or, as friends of ours who practice equally shared parenting told us recently, having a name is a relief; it gives them a starting point for conversations, and an easy way to describe themselves.

Isn't it easier to talk about professional football rules, players, teams and lineups because the term 'pro football' exists? What about 'stock market', 'cable TV' or 'Microsoft Vista'?

In reviewing all the literature written about family models close to this lifestyle, several terms have been used - equal parenting, egalitarian (or egalitarian-leaning) marriage, shared parenting, etc. Until now, there has been no universal term to describe a lifestyle of equally sharing the family breadwinning, childraising, housework and recreation time. So, yes, we did have to name it - Equally Shared Parenting (ESP) will do for now.


Blogger Dylan T said...

Hey guys, glad to see your website is going strong. I've been a fan since you launched. Keep up the good work!

I've been using "equally shared parenting" but it is a bit of an awkward phrase, especially in conversation. My new favorite is "partnership parenting."

11:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Dylan! Similarly, we're a bit smitten with Balanced Parenting, since it really focuses on being parents with balanced lives and balancing the parenting responsibilities between the two parents. But we also don't think it is descriptive enough to stand alone. You are very right that Equally Shared Parenting is too long and awkward. Nothing absolutely perfect yet...keep thinking along with us! -Amy

8:58 PM  
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