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

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Aren't We Forgetting Something?

We hear all the time about how so many moms are stressed to the point of breaking. Trying to juggle too much, be too many things to too many people, be perfect mothers. And because they can't do it all, they yell, forget important things, make horrible mistakes and cry a lot. Now, I know that most of us with partners actually do remember that they are capable of taking on some of the things we're doing. But somehow that rarely gets mentioned.

Take a recent Dr. Phil show where super-stressed moms were advised to fix their problems by breathing deeply, reciting mantras, smelling flowers and listening to music. All lovely, really, but what about partnering with their husbands to share the load too?

Over on The Oprah Show last week, moms were lamenting how they have harmed (or nearly harmed) their own children because they had too much on their plates to notice the kids were in danger. But at least here, the conversation did turn to dads: "We are all trying to do this on our own," said Oprah's mom guest. And her expert balance guru responded with words that made me cheer: "The husbands should be sharing all these burdens exactly equally." The gist of the conversation wasn't quite what I'd want for ESP - it focused on moms asking their husbands for 'help' but presumably still being in control - but at least men were included in the solution.

I'd love to see a show where women and men figure out the joys of equally sharing before anyone snaps from stress. ESP works best when it is implemented proactively, by two people who are fully motivated to share everything. It is far more than a rescue mission that bails out a miserable mom; even the most selfless man may not eagerly sign up for that!

So, happy breathing, chanting, sniffing and listening. But happy letting go so that you and your partner can equally share the load too.


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