SAHMs vs. WAHMs
Through an equally shared parenting lens, a SAHM who strives to embrace her involvement in the career domain would seem like a step in the right direction toward equality in breadwinning participation and then full-out ESP. However, a recent Parenting.com piece on this trend rubbed me the wrong way.
See if you can spot what bothered me about how some of the stats were reported in this article:
"A 2007 Pew Research Center survey shows that more at-home moms today (48 percent) consider being home full time the ideal situation than they did 10 years ago (39 percent). Inversely, just 21 percent of working moms say working full time is ideal, down from 32 percent in 1997. "
I haven't seen anything similar to this in quite some time. Do nearly 50% of mothers really believe their ideal lifestyle is to be a full-time SAHM? Maybe this is true IF their partners are mostly absorbed in their careers AND it is assumed that "this is how it should be." However, there are more options today than even a few short years ago. The same technology that is allowing some moms to work from home is - believe it or not, Parenting - available for men to work from home too.
What if her husband had this same reaction when he first held their new baby daughter? Does he have the right to opt-out of the career domain just because he's in love? Does he have the perogative that society hands to women to saddle his spouse with 100% of the family paycheck responsibilities because he's smitten?
I think a reasonable approach is to optimize the best part of all parenting domains for each parent - breadwinning, childraising, housework and recreation. Since we are all adults, this will of course also include sharing the responsibilities for each domain as well. In other words, let's use that all-important work-from-home technology to help us get to equally shared parenting rather than to further entrench stereotyped gender roles!