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

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Square Peg, Round Hole

Welcome, Guardian readers!

Imagine our surprise when we clicked over to this article in today's Guardian (UK) that proclaims us the 'poster parents for a new American ideal' and the 'Obamas of the parental blogosphere.' Wow! But we didn't have much time to enjoy our new monikers as we read on.

The article chronicles the adventures of journalist Viv Groskop and her husband Simon as they attempt to follow the 'rules' of ESP for a week with their two young children. I'll give this couple kudos for not portraying Simon as a bumbling dad; he seems to be fully up to all the tasks given to him during the week. But thumbs down to their focus on exacting equality without making the necessary adjustments to each of their lives that would have made this equality not only sustainable but fantastically enjoyable.

During their ESP week, Simon attempts to squeeze all his extra home tasks into an already full life (he works full-time), and Viv fumes (she works part-time, from home). The couple then resign themselves to practicality. Of course it just makes sense for Viv to be the one to drop everything to take the kids whenever an emergency strikes, for example. Right? They chalk up the experiment to a lesson in how ESP is not sensible, adding that it also destroys a couple's time together.


If there's anything that we know about ESP couples, it is that most of them value time together - and have it in abundance. They also value balance, and many of them specifically choose this lifestyle because they think it simply makes the most sense to them - it is about as practical and sensible as anything. But take a couple who tries to create equality in an instant, without building it into their schedules and without a shared commitment to doing so in all domains, and you're bound for trouble. This article illustrates that quite nicely, really.

All of this leads to one conclusion for us: ESP is not a reality TV show. It's a practical, sustainable option that takes time and commitment to build. It takes two willing partners. Want to know more? We're glad you're here - please make yourself at home and check out what real ESP couples look like in our Real Life Stories.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Amy and Marc,

Just wanted to peak in to say that we read the article and had a discussion over the "fifty-fifty lifestyle". We've never considered it as such as it takes 100% commitment from both of us to keep the balance.

Aaron and Jenn

12:10 AM  
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12:35 AM  

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