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 05, 2009

Our Government to the Rescue

We'll admit that it isn't always easy to find two flexible-enough jobs that fit together to allow for ESP - equal breadwinning, childraising, housework and recreation time. And once you've actually snared these prize positions, an economy like we have today will make you wonder just how long it will take before one of you is out of work - like I was until last May - and now in search of the ever elusive flexible job once more. And we want these jobs to be rewarding and fun too, right?

Yet ESP couples do it. They manage to find/create/negotiate these jobs and excel at them. Sometimes they work tremendously hard to earn them, and sometimes they are in the right place at the right time. It is their drive toward equal partnership that makes most of them weather the sacrifices; many ESP couples can't imagine living any other way. They, we, are the pioneers.

But help is on the way for less driven couples who still want to reach for ESP - maybe. President-elect Obama has announced the formation of a White House Task Force on Working Families, headed by VP-elect Biden. Among its 5 goals is "improving work and family balance." Now, this goal could take many forms - some of which (like expanding childcare options or maternity leave but not paternity leave) don't help ESP-interested couples at all. But other actions, such as anything that gives workers of either gender more negotiating power to create their own family-friendly work schedules, or that allots parental leave to the father in a use-it-or-lose-it policy, just might be the push these couples need to give ESP a try.

And once couples taste the benefits of ESP (beyond the mundane splitting of tasks)....


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that government support for equally shared parenting is key. I'm a Canadian (a Quebecker in particular) and my husband and I have benefited from policies that allowed both of us to take leave after the baby was born and allowed us to share the parental leave after that.

Our approach to equal breadwinning isn't to be equal each week though. As you've written about here and elsewhere it can be hard to find jobs that you can do part-time. Our approach instead is equal over the years. There will be years where I work more and he works less. There will be years when he works more and I work less. We make these decisions jointly and it balances out over time as we each make career transitions that will benefit the whole family.

1:06 PM  

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