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, September 07, 2009

Can We Say "Enabling"?

Oh, no! Mom is going away on a business trip. How will Dad ever make it at home alone without her direction? Will the kids go hungry? Eat only junk food? Leave for school unwashed, uncombed and in badly matched outfits? Be abandoned at the end of the school day because Dad forgot to pick them up?

These are the worries of a female work/life balance expert in a recent Working Parents blog entry (a parenting blog we usually love). To combat her fears, she suggests that moms plan ahead before boarding that plane. Start with a well stocked pantry - one full of fully prepared meals rather than individual fresh ingredients so that your hapless spouse can simply heat them up. Then, make sure you've got plenty of paper plates and plastic utensils on hand, because God knows a man can't be expected to wash dishes and feed the kids. Next, leave out explicit instructions about when each child needs to be where every day. Add in emergency contact numbers because, well, he surely should not be expected to know or find these on his own.

Then, prepack the diaper bag and kids' backpacks (he would never do this right). Wash the kids' clothes so, heaven forbid, your poor kids won't be without their T-ball shirts on game day because your husband couldn't possibly be expected to think ahead for this responsibility. Then, and only then, you'll have a shot at relaxing during your business trip - knowing that the kids are okay because once again you held up their world.

The blog author actually forgot a few useful tips. She should have filled up his car with gas, laid out her husband's outfits for the week, called his work colleagues to make sure they reminded him to get to the office on time each morning, left him messages explaining how and when to brush his teeth, and alerted a neighbor to stop by the house each day to make sure he's moving his bowels.

Pardon me...the lack of subtlety in the Working Parents blog entry carried me away for a minute.

This work/life balance writer seems proud of her tips. I'll bet she also hopes for an equal partner in raising her kids. Yet she sabotages her chances at such by treating her husband like a child so that she can relax on her business trip - because she remains in control. She takes on a huge amount of extra work, but the work is easy compared to the discomfort of letting go and actually allowing her husband to take on any decent parenting responsibilities.

I'd be embarrassed to be treated this way.


Blogger scarymelon said...

I just returned from a weekend trip, taking one child, but leaving 3 behind. The house was clean and the kids were great when I walked through the door. I didn't need to prep or prepare my husband at all - he took care of everything as capably as I would have if he had left instead (well, they did eat top ramen, which probably wouldn't have happened if I did dinner).

9:43 PM  
Blogger Amanda Shankle-Knowlton said...

Exactly. Just as men have had to learn to let go of the idea of being the sole breadwinner of the house, women should learn to give up a bit of control (more like half!) over every aspect of their children's lives.

9:20 AM  
Blogger Sarah Loyd said...

It infuriates me when women write about work-life balance, and "letting" their husbands take on some aspects of parenting... especially when they are clearly having so much trouble trusting the kids' father to be a good dad. No wonder their lives are so out of balance!

10:24 AM  
Anonymous Noble Savage said...

I find it infuriating when the same women who would do this kind of thing have the gall to complain about how their husbands don't do their fair share. Do they not see how they're just perpetuating the cycle? Sigh.

12:15 PM  
Anonymous Dennis said...

That was one of the most insulting things I've read in a long time. As others said, I'm sure she's right up front complaining how her husband doesn't do anything around the house. If my wife had an attitude like that, I wouldn't do anything either. Heck, we'd be divorced.

6:19 PM  
Blogger Jen and Steve said...

Just read this as I'm preparing for a business trip and it made me glad I'm not her - that sounds exhausting! All I have to do before I leave is pack my suitcase. Hooray for Equally Shared Parenting. :)

8:19 PM  
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9:53 AM  

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