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

Monday, February 25, 2008

No Time for Golf?

Today, Leslie Morgan Steiner's On Balance blog and the WSJ's The Juggle blog both covered a recent NY Times story about the decline of golf. Less people (that's essentially less men) are golfing these days because it takes so much time to play. The reaction to this news on 'On Balance' was elation, riding on the assumption that men are valuing time with their families over hours and hours on the golf course (sans cellphone coverage) every weekend. 'The Juggle' just questioned whether other parents report giving up or cutting back on hobbies to be with the kids.

Two thoughts come up for me around this topic. First, if men are driving (pardon the pun) this trend because they truly desire to be at home more than they want to be golfing, we've got a winner. This serves to equalize the childraising domain, and perhaps the housework domain, between moms and dads. A nice tribute to the involved father, and to the quest for ESP.

My second thought is about those who truly love golf and are sad to give it up. Maybe they work 50+ hours a week in high pressure careers, can only really see their kids on weekends, and no longer have time for a hobby. That's unfortunate. We all have only 24 hours in a day, and we can either divide up those hours in a way that makes us feel balanced or we can lead lopsided lives in which we're defined by where we spend most of our energy and time. With ESP, balance is the goal. That means making all aspects of our lives fit proportionally into those 24 hours - downscaling as needed in order to make the math work. ESP parents spend ample time with their kids every week. And because they do, they don't feel guilty heading off for a round of golf on occasion if that is what makes them happy.

With equally shared parenting, balance is achieved in two ways: balance between two parents so that each one had approximately the same amount of time for each domain (breadwinning, childraising, housework, recreation) each week, and balance of the four domains within each individual parent. Golf, at least in moderation, remains a viable option - as long as our partners get an equivalent amount of time for their own passions.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still don't get how you two actually have time for hobbies. We're either asleep, working, chasing the toddler, or trying to keep up minimally on housework, and that's pretty much it. That's with flexible jobs and childcare 3 days/week. I'm starting to get suspicious that you guys skimp on the sleep ;)

9:10 AM  
Blogger chicago pop said...

I saw that article too, and it made me jump for joy, mostly because I think golf is ridiculous (please don't hate me!), but only until the reasons for this trend were laid out. Then I sobered up.

There's obviously the work/play time crunch, which you mention; there's also the high cost of this sport, which is a deterrent as people's incomes stagnate. Perhaps most surprising to me, and therefore disturbing, was the way the downward trend in golf-playing (if I'm getting this right) correlates directly with a downward trend in all outdoor activities. So for whatever reason, and probably linked to the fact that we're all sitting here having virtual note-passing conversations on our computers, we're not doing stuff outside as much.

Golf is, after all, an outdoor sport. And all sorts of data are coming out that we, and today's kids especially, don't spend as much time outdoors, or in nature. In fact, how we're coming to think of "nature" is changing rapidly. More abstract concern (realization that climate change is a serious issue) coupled with less intimate knowledge (what kind of tree is that?)

Suddenly, I'm worried that golf is declining...at least, if it's for this reason.

Time to throw the pup in the backpack and go walk along the lake -- gotta make sure he knows the joys of time spent outside. And it doesn't have to cost a thing!

5:15 PM  
Blogger Marc said...

chicago pop you sound like my kind of guy. Although my hobbies have varied over the years, I am cultivating the free, outdoor variety these days. I got in two separate bike rides with my 2 year old son today. We sat by the waterfall and had fun honking at the geese.

9:31 PM  
Blogger chicago pop said...

2 bike rides -- I'm impressed!

5:24 PM  

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