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, November 09, 2008

It Ain't Perfect

We created this website for a couple of distinct purposes. First, we wanted to bring the idea of ESP to all parents - to make equal sharing a fully doable option amid other, more common parenting lifestyles. Second, we wanted to create a community of like-minded parents. And third, we wanted to outline, in practical and philosophical terms, exactly what it takes to create and sustain ESP amid a culture that doesn't often make it easy.

In our attempts to fulfill these purposes, we've focused our writing on the positive - the 'how to' rather than the complaints about how something isn't possible. This approach contrasts with a lot of what is written in blogs and articles about parenting or household labor division. It is cool to be edgy. To write in an f-you style about how hard it is to be a parent and how keeping the house clean and keeping your sanity are overrated. To offer 'life sucks' mentality rather than solutions.

We've been accused from time to time of excessive perkiness. Occasional readers may wonder, "Who are these people? It can't be all that perfect." Blogger Penelope Trunk even labeled the NY Times article on ESP as 'mommy/daddy porn' - her phrase for writing about picture-perfect parenthood when we all know that raising children is crazy-hard.

So, here's the newsflash. We're regular people - we fight, we pout (well, I do), we tune each other out (that'd be Marc), we act in ways that don't make either of us very proud. We struggle with ESP all the time. Why just this week, I got mad at Marc for leaving T's clean laundry in piles on the floor of his room rather than putting it away as we'd agreed...how petty of me. And we get unbalanced despite our quest for balanced lives. Again, earlier this week, I got so overwhelmed with my to-do list that I literally cried when a rude car-wash manager wouldn't do what he'd promised (give me a donation to T's preschool fundraiser) after I'd driven all the way across town.

We could fill the blog entries on this website with the trials and pain of the Vachon household. We could spend hours writing about how we fail to live up to perfection. Occasionally we do think it is useful to share with you how we've seen the light on some new aspect of equal sharing, or gotten through a tough spot in our own equality.

But rather than turn ESP.com into a hip-mama/funky-dad ode to the trenches of bad parental living, we're more interested in offering up a real alternative to a daily life in those trenches. A model that can be dissected and analyzed. For us, and for many other families, equally shared parenting is transformative. It is a real, practical, sustainable way of life, and we focus on writing about it rather than about our own daily lives.

Complaining isn't really our thing. It is actually not very common among other ESP parents either - a group we find to be rather principled and grateful. We're far from perfect, but we're pretty happy most days. So if you've come looking to be entertained by sarcastic, edgy, sighing prose, you've definitely clicked over to the wrong place. If, on the other hand, you want to build a hard-won but fantastic life as a parent (complete with imperfection), we hope you'll hang with us.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, I LOVE this, Amy! Thank you for the words, the tone, and the in-your-face but not ugly message. I so identify with what you say here. We do a private family blog, just photos and stories for our families who are all far away, and we often hear things like, "Is your life really as happy and organized as it looks and sounds? Are you all really always laughing and playing?" Of course we're not - we argue, we snip at each other, we use that annoying annoyed tone of voice with each other and the kids... sometimes. But, we really try not to. We really ASPIRE to be happy, free, loving and fair with one another and our kids. We do a good job of it a lot of the time. And it's fun to tell stories about stuff that works in life. So, keep telling us your stories, please - in all the ways you tell them. We're out here listening and appreciating them, even when we don't write (as I haven't for a while.) Thanks!!

2:03 AM  
Blogger Lisa @ Corporate Babysitter said...

Amy, well said. I'm tired of all the hipness. Keep doing what you're doing.

8:52 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

Thanks, guys! This post was brewing inside of me for quite awhile. Having you both behind me means the world to me.

9:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just wanted to peek in to say that we discovered this website right around the time of a major career change for my husband. This site has been so instrumental in helping us both achieve balance in a new, way less stressful lifestyle. He works almost half the hours that he used to and I continue to give up my over possessive control freak ways. :) Thank you for sharing an alternative that really embraces team work.

3:24 PM  
Blogger aztec-rose said...

Thanks Amy. I hadn't realised I had this aversion to the hip/funky empty blogs until you voiced it. I know because, although they are popular, and I've been tempted to put them on my blogroll, now I know why I haven't. Keep up the great quality guys, and I like your positive, problem-solving tone.

7:39 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

Thanks so much for writing. I can't think of a better reason to keep writing than you've given. Congratulations to both of you on taking big steps to a great life!

Judy (Aztec-Rose),
Always great to hear from you! Yes, keep that blogroll clean...:-)

10:13 PM  

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