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, February 23, 2009

For the 300th Time

Now Italy has taken up the topic of equal sharing! A few days ago, this article appeared in the Italian paper, Repubblica, as a follow-up from the Guardian article the day before. Not being able to read Italian, we called upon our ESP friend, Melissa, to translate it. Thanks, Melissa!

The article appears to be an introduction to a new movement in Italy toward men becoming more nurturing - a good thing! And it paints ESP as a huge American movement - that's nice! But Amy and I appear to be profiled as the couple who divides household tasks exactly 50/50 in rigid military fashion - using daily lists of everything we could possibly think of to divide.

Nothing about how sharing the duties and joys of parenthood and homemaking brings balanced lives to both partners. Nothing about how walking in each other's shoes can enhance intimacy, empathy and fun.

We're happy to read an article about men stepping up to nurturing, and we don't mind so much that a journalist might want to use us figuratively as those crazy people who take ESP to an extreme (that comes with the territory of being spokespeople, we know), but we hope the article doesn't turn off the true would-be ESP couple from exploring the truth.

This is our 300th post, by the way. So I'll say it again for what feels like the 300th time:
  • ESP is not 50/50 equal chore division. It is about sharing each of four domains of your life approximately equally so that you both experience the joy and share the work in all areas, and enjoy balanced lives.
  • ESP is not done explicitly for fairness or in worship of feminism. It is fair, and it is directly in line with feminism. But it is chosen by couples who practice it because they believe it allows them to live their best lives. Both of them.
  • ESP is not about lists (we've met very few ESP couples who make them, and we certainly don't). It is not a life of rules or discipline. It is teamwork.

I'm sure this isn't the last time we'll address this topic. Perhaps it makes for interesting journalism to continue to report that equal sharing means humorous rigidity. So we'll keep at our mission to correct that convenient image. 'Fifty-fifty' is not what we're going for; in fact, the more we focus on nitpicking the details, the farther away we are from our goal - and the closer we are to driving each other crazy.

Come on, Italy! We'd love to have you on board!


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