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

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

ESP: The New Babymaker?

A Psychology Today online columnist asks an interesting question of women: "If your partner took on more of the housework and childcare, would you consider having more children?" The question is likely tied to the recent NY Times Magazine story about the declining birth rate in some European countries (although this story is not referenced), with its theory that this trend is inversely related to father involvement in childcare.

The Psychology Today column attempts to connect equally shared parenting with a higher willingness among women to have more children. Hmmm....interesting theory, although I'm not sure we ESP families can (or want to) back it up. Remember that ESP has equal challenges for women as it does for men - in letting go and in staying equally involved in breadwinning. At the very least, I would modify the connection to one between the satisfaction of both partners with their current family arrangement and their interest in adding extra work to their lives in the form of caring for and feeding additional children.

It comes down to whether what you've got is working for you. If it isn't, you would be wise to see the red flags waving you to pull over and halt baby production. We all know that insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. But if you're happy, well, you may or may not want to add to your family, but at least you've got a decent level of satisfaction from which to start the discussion. Happy and willing parents make babies, and babies born into happy homes are off to a good start.


Blogger Nicole D. Johns said...

Being parents of one child, we are including a list of other factors in our deciding if and when to add to our family: income, longterm family goals, short term family and personal goals, where we live/school districts, our son's feelings/needs, etc. I know lots of women who are the primary caregiver and would want lots of children, if only they could afford it on their husband's salary.
My desire to go back to work and continue my education are two of the factors affecting our decision.

7:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am always fascinated by the variety of ways we all decide (or do not "decide") to have children. My husband and I have three girls, from four years old to one year old. Deciding to have each child was this blissful, emotional, "ooh, let's have another one - look how cute she is!" thing. We both knew we wanted a few kids (never said how many, still not certain if we'll have more) and we started a bit later, so we knew we didn't have lots of years to string it out. But for us, it was really about wanting one more of these precious human souls in our lives, running around our house, coming home from college for holidays, and maybe, if they so choose one day, bringing their little babes to our house for visits. We knew we could provide love, support, healthy food, safe and secure housing so we didn't have those basic human needs concerns. For us, the other practical questions (can we handle it, can we give them each enough attention, where will they go to school, can we afford college) are just too hard to answer. The fact is, it is really intense having babies - especially this many teeny ones at once - but the long vision of our family life together is so beautiful (as are many of the moments we experience now, in the midst of the complexity) that we just held that vision in mind as we "decided."

The details - we figure them out as we go. It's not pretty sometimes, but seeing our girls play together, or spending an afternoon date with one of them, or sharing a family visit to the park affirms our decisions over and over.

I'm not necessarily recommending our process - just sharing the experience.

11:27 AM  

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