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, January 12, 2009

Daddy's Home and the Family is Lost

I'm not sure where to begin commenting on a NY Times article from last Friday called "Daddy's Home, and a Bit Lost." It's a sad commentary on the traditionally successful couple in which the executive dad is the sole breadwinner and the stay-at-home mom controls the rest. The article spotlights one such couple after dad loses his job. Here's a sampling of the text :
  1. The Berrys have been at this long enough to make light of the well-worn nature of their disagreement. "It goes like this," Scott said. " 'How can you complain about me not earning an adequate income, when you can't control your spending?' " On cue, Tracey chimed in. "And I say, 'How can you complain about my spending when you don't have an adequate income?' "

  2. At times like this, a big house helps. "We go to separate corners," Scott said. "I have a big glass of wine and watch TV for couple of hours or do a sudoku puzzle to clear my head."

  3. "The danger is that we'll have saved enough money for our retirement, but I won't like him enough to want to spend it with him..."

  4. "My job was to run the household and the children's lives," she said. "His job is to provide us with a nice lifestyle." But his bonus has disappeared, and his annual pay has dropped to $150,000 from $800,000 a year. "Let me just say this," she said, "I'm still doing my job."

The article also covers some standard knee-jerk commentary on dad not doing his share around the home, mom ramping up her breadwinning to help out the family finances, and mom having to deal with a bumbling man around the house.

Shudder. This story is sad on so many levels that I don't even want to jump on board and kick these poor souls when they're down. But it does give me a chance to say that ESP is just about the opposite of what is going on here. The heart of ESP is teamwork, prioritizing time over money, respect for your partner who walks in your shoes every day, weathering layoffs and other storms of life together, and not nitpicking about who does what.

Even before the featured father's income plummeted from $800,000, I wouldn't want his life for one minute. Ruled by his wife at home, barely seeing his kids, pressured to keep his end of the bargain as a money machine....

Is it really any wonder that guys don't live as long as women? Is there really any doubt that ESP can appeal to dads as much as it does to moms?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had a totally different perspective after reading the same article. I felt not enough importance was given to the wife. The article is a real lesson in the class system in America. They are both spoiled people and the reporter makes the sacrifices seem noble - what a joke. I don't shop at wal-mart not for class or elitism, but for their unethical business and labor practices. Most people will never make $150,000 ever; welcome to the real world.

2:25 PM  
Blogger Marc said...

urbanartiste makes another good point. There were so many problems with this article. My main point is that this couple seemed to marry a person who solved a problem instead of marrying a partner.

9:10 PM  
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4:13 AM  

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