Book Review: Baby's Here! Who Does What?
This book review may be a bit unfair to all of us here in the USA. Baby's Here! Who Does What? was published in the UK last month and we do not know of a purchase source over here yet. But that is not a reason to skip reviewing this little gem. It is what we would call the first ESP graphic handbook (a bit like a graphic novel, but nonfiction) - a mere 136 pages with large font type and tons of comic-like drawings and speech bubbles. But even with this seemingly lighthearted approach to the topic, it packs in all the right stuff.
Baby's Here! Who Does What? is by Duncan Fisher, who also writes this equal parenting-focused blog and is the former Chief Executive of the UK's Fatherhood Institute. He is active in campaigning for equal rights for all parents and for the support of children and families over on his side of the pond, and we have enthusiastically followed his writing for quite awhile. Duncan is married to Clare, and the father of two daughters.
Inside the pages of Baby's Here! you will find a solid, tight argument for equally shared parenting in its full depth. Despite the chored-focused title, this book really lays out the advantages of sharing the home, the children and the breadwinning for both parents, and adds in short, manageable lists of questions to ponder as a couple over your morning coffee. No big task charts or complicated scoresheets (imagine that :-)) are included. Duncan's objective is to open up the full parenting discussion to both mothers and fathers, wresting it away from simply being a woman's issue to being a joyful and - yes - challenging life adventure for the couple to tackle together.
He emphasizes the importance of taking time to nurture your relationship as a couple above all other things - and that this decision will also be the best one for your kids. Chapters cover the real possibility of sharing, the cultural and workplace norms that typically stop couples from doing so, and...my favorite just because it is a bit different from what is found in other ESP-like books...a whole section devoted to how humans have evolved from sharing paradigms rather than from our more recent divide-and-conquer family structure.
Yes, fathers are fully up to the task of sharing equally in all that it takes to run a family. Yes, it is natural and right. Yes, let's give this ESP thing a chance and see what it can bring us. These are Duncan's messages.
We happily add Baby's Here! Who Does What? to our list of Resources, and hope that many of you do get to pick up a copy for a great shot of encouragement and sensibility.