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, April 29, 2008

The Evolution of Balance

Whenever our culture shifts, the changes send off ripple effects and cause whole industries to rebuild themselves - sometimes in small ways, sometimes with complete makeovers. Just like with physical evolution, sociological evolution requires our species to adapt or perish.

Today, I believe our society is in the midst of a work/life balance evolution. Its been a long time coming, and we have decades ahead of us before it is anywhere near complete. But we have evidence of it now, measurable evidence. Generation X/Y is demanding balanced lives in all sectors of business, and this outcry is forcing careers to change trajectory and corporations to make changes in how they employee these young and talented workers.

Take this story in today's WSJ on how young physicians are rejecting the 24/7 dedication of their profession, and how medicine is changing to accommodate their wishes. While some (usually older) doctors are complaining about the younger generation's work ethic, others are applauding how this change could actually improve medicine by assuring alert and focused clinicians who can care for patients with a team approach. Medicine is becoming increasingly electronic - portable access to full electronic medical records, for example, with fully updated problem lists and medication lists - which facilitates multi-person care teams. Physicians are becoming more reliant on subspecialists for up-to-date evidence-based patient care - not just other physician subspecialists, but highly trained nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and (to Amy's delight) clinical pharmacists. All of this not only allows, but supports, physicians who want to practice excellent medicine and still have balanced and happy home lives.

Growth is always hard. Naysayers will balk. Tipping points will require action - evolution will happen. Balanced lives are becoming possible in so many professions previously only open to those who couldn't be involved fathers (or mothers). No more. Let's get out there and tip over some more bastions of imbalance...they're already teetering....


Anonymous Anonymous said...


I would also add midwives to this list. Especially those that work with homebirth. When you plan a homebirth together, you go through a major process that honors the transition to parenthood in a very special way for both father and mother. There is acknowledgment that its not only the birth of a baby, but the birth of a family, and that you will have to learn to negotiate some new things.

It is very interesting to me to see the difference in the equality relationship post baby for many homebirth parents. In my friends circle, the women and men found it to change the way they saw themselves and they seem to carry that over into their work and home relationships as well. Its a joint enterprise, from learning more about the birth process, to trusting that process and each other, to learning how to work with your lives and your new little one.

Not that this can't happen in a hospital. But since homebirth is so rare, I think that it has been overlooked as a vehicle for shared parenting.

Of course as a caveat here, the couple generally has to have a bent towards ESP to start with, as in most cases.

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