We are fond, as you might know, of reduced hours careers for both parents while the children are young. Not because this is a requirement for ESP, but because it is simply easier to balance one's life - having enough time in the alloted 24 hours per day for kids, jobs, home and recreation - if one isn't working 40+ hours a week. The world of possibility really opens up when neither partner has to work full time, and we are huge fans of this option when it can be arranged.
But ESP is absolutely possible when full-time work is the only - or preferred - choice. Even if both parents have relatively demanding jobs. Take this couple showcased in Lisa Cullen's 'Work in Progress' Time.com blog today. With two children in elementary school, this pair has finagled their work hours around the school schedule and still enjoy challenging high-profile jobs. She works 6am to 2:30pm and he works 8:15am to 5:30pm. He handles the morning routine and school dropoffs and she does pickup and has the afternoon with the kids. With any luck, everyone can be around the dinner table every night. Both parents have ample (and approximately equal) alone time with their kids, and there is plenty of opportunity for family and couple time each evening.
Both parents also work from home, which eliminates commuting time and lets them make school dropoffs and pickups without cutting into their workdays. But with a bit of additional creativity, I don't think an outside job in decent proximity to home would be a stumbling block to this arrangement.
When both of our kids are in elementary school (less than 3 short years from now), this is the type of schedule Marc and I aspire to have. I love that an arrangement like this couple's is also coveted in Time.com.