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.