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, February 07, 2008

Is the Payoff Worth It?

My fellow ESP friend Lisa sent me this classic Mom's Rule email chain letter today because she knew I would get a laugh out of it (thanks, Lisa!). You've probably seen it before, and I've blogged about its ilk in the past. Here it is, in all its glory:

Mom and Dad were watching TV when Mom said, "I'm tired, and it's getting late. I think I'll go to bed." She went to the kitchen to make sandwiches for the next day's lunches. Rinsed out the popcorn bowls, took meat out of the freezer for supper the following evening, checked the cereal box levels, filled the sugar container, put spoons and bowls on the table and started the coffee pot for brewing the next morning. She then put some wet clothes in the dryer, put a load of clothes into the washer, ironed a shirt and secured a loose button. She picked up the game pieces left on the table, put the phone back on the charger and put the telephone book into the drawer. She watered the plants, emptied a wastebasket and hung up a towel to dry. She yawned and stretched and headed for the bedroom. She stopped by the desk and wrote a note to the teacher, counted out some cash for the field trip, and pulled a text book out from hiding under the chair. She signed a birthday card for a friend, addressed and stamped the envelope and wrote a quick note for the grocery store. She put both near her purse. Mom then washed her face with 3 in 1 cleanser, put on her Night solution & age fighting moisturizer, brushed and flossed her teeth and filed her nails. Dad called out, "I thought you were going to bed." "I'm on my way," she said. She put some water into the dog'' dish and put the cat outside, then made sure the doors were locked and the patio light was on. She looked in on each of the kids and turned out their bedside lamps and TVs, hung up a shirt, threw some dirty socks into the hamper, and had a brief conversation with the one up still doing homework. In her own room, she set the alarm; laid out clothing for the next day, straightened up the shoe rack. She added three things to her 6 most important things to do list. She said her prayers, and visualized the accomplishment of her goals. About that time, Dad turned off the TV and announced to no one in particular. "I'm going to bed." And he did...without another thought. Anything extraordinary here? Wonder why women live longer...? CAUSE WE ARE MADE FOR THE LONG HAUL..... (and we can't die sooner, we still have things to do!!!!).

Phew! Martyrdom at its finest - with all of its shallow perks. By doing all of the housework and household remembering, we gain admittance to a club of martyred, burdened mothers. We get control over how everything is done in the house. We get sympathy without a solution. But we don't get to complain. No - we earned our misery. We're no victims.

With equally shared parenting, we give up the payoff and we recognize that it isn't all that special anyway. We stop acting superior under our heavy burdens and decide to share the burdens instead. We let go of controlling everything and, together with our perfectly capable husbands, we create a team approach to all these little chores so that both of us can get to bed, get everything done, and die without someone else's responsibilities on our to-do list.


Blogger (chandelle) said...

i hate that crap. it dismisses men and promotes a patronizing (and patently untrue) image of women. i believe this through and through: sometimes the harshest oppression women receive is being put up on a pedestal. and that silent, long-suffering martyr mother image? that does a disservice to her husband and children both. thanks for pointing it out.

5:43 PM  
Blogger (chandelle) said...

one more comment: this reminds me almost word for word of an email i've received many times, though it makes me sick every time. it was posted and discussed on this blog:


(it's a blog for feminist mormons; i enjoy participating there and promoting the ESP ideal, though i'm not mormon anymore.)

5:46 PM  

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