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, July 21, 2008

Going with the Flow

We are just back tonight from a few days visiting my family in Michigan, and I have a moment to post up something I thought about on the plane ride home before I head off to bed. We were on a packed plane, with two seats in row 23 on the left and two seats in row 24 on the right. A few very good natured passengers endured Marc and me passing stuffed animals, a laptop, snacks and other items over their heads for the duration of the flight. Two tired, somewhat cranky kids who were sad to leave their grandmother and cousins made it through with the help of this juggling.

As I settled down for the last half hour descent, I thought about one of the things ESP means to me. It means I don't have to spend one minute thinking "I'm stuck doing more again" - even if I might actually do more on any given day. If I was a SAHM, I might not think this either - I'd hopefully be settled into the idea that it was my responsibility to do all the childcare most of the time. But if I was a mom who hoped for a partner who pulled his weight and was disappointed time and again when I was left with the bulk of the childcare, I would probably be mumbling this under my breath frequently. With ESP, all of the sharing is built into our lives - the daily schedules, the planning, and the natural way of relating to each other. Not because we nitpick every task so that it comes out equal (I can hear the Greek chorus starting up its chant of scorekeeping); just because we both want things to be generally equal and both assume they will be.

With ESP, if I find myself doing the majority of the childcare for a stretch, my first reaction isn't annoyance with Marc. It's more likely to be annoyance with myself for not cherishing the time I have with the kids while they are still young. And to me, that makes it a lot easier to go with the flow.


Blogger max said...

Wow, that really hits home: "it's more likely to be annoyance with myself for cherishing the time I have with the kids while they are still young." I feel that way a lot -- and while it's healthy that I'm mostly not irritated with my spouse for kiddie issues, why don't I treasure the time more? (Nevertheless, I do, for the most part, feel like I enjoy time spent with the kids.)

10:38 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

I think it goes with the territory of being a parent to wish we were enjoying every minute but failing miserably at that. Perhaps if you really did treasure every second with them, this might be a red flag that you're not spending enough time with them to make it real! Just a thought to ease your guilt - we're all right there with you.

9:10 PM  
Blogger Angela V-C said...

That hits home for me, too, Amy. I'm grateful that I don't feel resentful if D. works late or goes away for a conference. Because we share the care-giving and housework responsibilities pretty equally, I just get to be supportive of her when she's in a crunch time at work. I know that next week things we'll be back to normal and that some time in the future, D. will have my back when I can't put in 100% at home.

And mostly I really really love it that I don't have to feel angry over being stuck in just one role that I can't get out of.

7:52 AM  

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