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

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Getting to 50/50

I just finished reading the new book Getting to 50/50: How Working Couples Can Have It All by Sharing It All by Sharon Meers and Joanna Strober. Sharon (former managing director at Goldman Sachs) and Joanna (managing director of a private equity firm) are two moms with a strong message about equal sharing as a means to juggling work and family, and their book speaks to many working mothers who want reassurance that their chosen path will neither hurt their kids nor their spouse (and can even be the best option for their marriage).

Much of Getting to 50/50 centers around the breadwinning domain - why it is important for women to stick with their careers after they become mothers, why two careers make for happy partners, why outside childcare is not harmful to children. But they also cover many of the benefits to sharing the housework and childraising too, with lots of quotes and anecdotes from working moms and stories from their own marriages.

One thing I especially like about Getting to 50/50 is that it provides the reader with lots of data to support an egalitarian marriage and describe the state of American families - something our own forthcoming book will not focus on but is important to understand. At times this book feels like an argument against stay-at-home motherhood - which, of course, doesn't mesh with an equal relationship unless both parents don't work at all - but it makes these points in the context of partnership with one's husband rather than in a vacuum (avoiding one of the faults of so many other parenting books). Also, the book feels rather weighted toward full-time careers - not uber-power ones that the authors name '24/7' careers, but regular 40-hour jobs nonetheless - although examples of meaningful reduced-hours careers are sprinkled throughout.

In Getting to 50/50, Sharon and Joanna have offered themselves up as a cheerleading squad for women who want to believe that their careers should be equally valued and their role as mothers can be remolded to fit the vision of equality at home. Ditch the guilt! Embrace your partner as your equal and ask that he do the same for you! Stay on top of your game at work despite the odds! You can do it!

Overall, we are thrilled to see Getting to 50/50 enter the scene. It will appeal most to women who desire equality and a shot at high-level careers for both partners. It skillfully portrays highly accessible equality for the career woman, and does so in a manner that is respectful of men. The fact that it lists ESP.com in the back as an online resource is a bonus, of course. We'll be adding Getting to 50/50 to our Resources section as well.

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