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

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Family Men

There is a long article in USA Today yesterday detailing the increasing number of men requesting flexible work options so that they can spend more time with their families. It is packed with statistics, some of which I find hard to believe because they are so much different than those I've read anywhere else. Take, for example, the stat that almost 70% of fathers in a Monster.com survey said they would consider becoming SAHDs if their finances would allow it; this is in stark contrast to the data from a recent Pew survey saying that very few men would want anything but full-time jobs. But anyway, that's not the reason I am writing about the USA Today article.

I love the article because it makes it seem completely acceptable and normal for men to downsize their careers, just as women have been doing ever since they had careers to downsize. It heralds the new age, in which it will be as likely that men will reduce their hours or take parental leave as a women will after they become parents.

ESP takes this trend a couple of steps further, perhaps more afield than the average man or woman has yet contemplated. With ESP:
  • Men (and women) can downsize their careers in order to create balanced lives for themselves, and not just because they need to do so to care for their children.
  • Both partners in a couple share family responsibilities equally, so that it is not necessary for one spouse (woman or man) to step too far off the career track and risk being left too far behind. Both partners get a great mix of career, kids, housework and fun.

The USA Today article states multiple times that men are requesting work that allows them more family time because more mothers are working longer and more demanding hours and earning higher pay. In other words, someone has to be home with the kids. This feels like a pendulum shift to women as primary breadwinners and men as semi-breadwinners. But what about a solution that balances everyone's life? Let's stop the pendulum from swinging altogether with ESP.

Someday, perhaps we'll see those men lining up for flexible work schedules because they simply want to have unharried, balanced lives.


Blogger Devra said...

I also blogged about the article, but I wasn't so positive. I agree the points you've extracted were made in the article. And they are the good ones to focus upon.
My issue with the article is the positive points of the article were reported as secondary to the sensationalized headline declaring tensions in the workplace are to be expected if dads ask for flexibility. I really wanted to like the article, but I became way too pissed off about the inclusion of the term "Daddy Wars." I wish the article had focussed on the positive points you drew from the article instead of requiring the reader to hunt and peck for the key elements.

I love what you have to say, I just wish USA Today said it like you did. Make sense?

11:14 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Makes perfect sense, and I also agree with your take. I'm very, very tired of the media spinning parent issues into 'wars' or doom-and-gloom. There is a lot of possibility now for parents to lead fun and balanced lives, but the media still feel it is sexier to stick to complaining. I'm with ya!! I want to see stories of parents and companies who have made things work, instead.

1:56 PM  

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