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

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Smitten and Entitled

Hundreds, thousands, perhaps millions of babies each year derail their parents' plans for joint breadwinning. You've probably heard stories like this many times:

"We had planned for me to go back to work after my leave was up. I always believed this was the most sensible thing to do, and my baby would be fine in daycare. But from the first time I held her, my life changed. I gazed into her innocent eyes and fell deeply and completely in love. The rest of my leave was spent in her constant presence, and caring for her became the most important thing I ever did. When it was time for me to go back to work, I told my wife that I would be staying home instead."

Well, it sounded familiar up until that last sentence, right? And I don't mean a lesbian couple in this example - I mean the child's father told his wife that she'd be the sole breadwinner. How does this make you feel? Mixed up, right?

What would happen if both parents wanted to stay home in the name of 'loving their baby'? What then? Men in our society don't get this privilege, but women feel entitled to invoke it as necessary. I'd like to think that neither parent gets to unilaterally decide which family model will be chosen, and that together they choose what is right for everyone. Someday, I hope ESP is an option that comes easily to mind.


Blogger mom said...

Well, here's to that. Even more, the workplace needs to adjust to family life in the 21st century. I don't know about you all, but in my house I know we would both love to work 3/4 time -- each get to spend more time withthe kids, yet also have a meaningful career. Right now so few part time options exist that offer any opportunity or fulfillment. It's very frustrating, and it bifurcates the family. ESP is PD hard when you end up with one at home and one at work, often needing to work longer hours to be financially stable on one income.

Change is slow, but until womens and mens wages are equal, not only do we have a cultural bias agains SAHDs, we have a real economic disincentive for many couple sto go this route.

Thanks for your great blog/site. Great. Great. Great.

12:02 PM  
Blogger Marc said...

Thanks for your comment. We are optimistic that the workplace barriers will erode in the near future for more and more couples. With Generation Y demanding work options that allow them to have balanced lives, those elusive part-time jobs may become plentiful. Our fear is that the cultural biases might not be weak enough when this happens, and we'll see mostly women take these new opportunities. Hopefully not!

7:37 PM  

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