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

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Equally Shared Holiday Shopping

One of the strongest bastions of female control is the holiday shopping. We make the decisions about who gets gifts and what to buy, keep tally of the to-do's, run around like crazy to the stores, wrap everything, and bestow it on our victims (I mean, loved friends and family). All while our spouses watch - maybe even offer to 'help' - and we complain.

Well, this is the stereotype anyway. And even in my house, it comes close to the truth if I don't make ESP adjustments. The problem is that I have a really hard to time letting go of my hold on Christmas shopping. Marc often has to witness my frenetic list-making and force me to stop long enough to unload some of the mental and physical work on him. And even when he does, I secretly still think I can pick better gifts than he can. So much for equal sharing!

I can sidestep inequality if we can manage to preplan our division of tasks and remember that procuring all these presents is so NOT what Christmas is about anyway. This year, Marc took on buying all the gifts for his large family and decorating the house. I took on buying gifts for my small family and our kids and making the cookies (which I give as gifts to co-workers, teachers, others). We both took turns wrapping gifts - Marc one evening, me another.

As we are now heading into the Christmas home-stretch, we re-evaluated our to-do list to see what was left. A special gift for my mom. Marc took that on even though it was my original responsibility, and I was nervous. My mom is an artist, and I feared that picking out an artsy gift for her was...well...maybe not Marc's strong suit. But I decided to trust and it paid off. Marc arrived home from the conquest and said "Do I know my mother-in-law or what?" He did. His gift was perfect - or so I feel safe assuming she will love it (and love that Marc bought it for her). I won't say anything more since, of course, my mom does have a tendency to check in on this blog.

It is the magical combination of me trusting Marc and Marc owning the task that makes equally shared holiday shopping possible.


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