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

Friday, April 29, 2011

Good Enough Is the New Perfect

"A balanced life is often ridiculed as impossible - a goal that many have abandoned because it makes us mere mortals feel bad when we can't achieve it." That's the opening line from Chapter 3 in our book - the chapter that describes the idea that balance is one of the two foundations of equally shared parenting (equality being the other). And it's true...we have long since lost count of the number of times we've heard or read or seen others making fun of 'work/life balance.'  Or read about cute, perky tips touted to cure imbalance - perhaps breathing deeply for 5 minutes a day or checking email only once each day or not making the bed or scheduling fake appointments to steal time for yourself or buying the latest time-saving gadget. These things may help for awhile, but then, well, they don't really make much of a difference.

Hollee Schwartz Temple and Becky Beaupre Gillespie don't laugh at balance, and they don't advocate short-term silly fixes either. They are the authors of the newly released Good Enough Is the New Perfect: Finding Happiness and Success in Modern Motherhood, a book which advocates redefining success instead. As they explain in their book, their definition of "good enough" doesn't mean settling for mediocrity or tricking ourselves into thinking that a crummy situation is a good one; "good enough" is your own definition of a great life set against the backdrop of society's definition. Our culture has a rather narrow idea of smashing success, typically involving a corner office or world-expert status in some field or a top-5% paycheck with all the material trimmings. But neither happiness nor worth come from any of these achievements, and one size fits almost nobody.

Hollee and Becky's book is mom-focused because they have chosen to write to mothers - mothers who typically do have to make the career/home decisions more often than fathers and do end up with more of the home management work than men in our current culture. But their message works just as well for ESP fathers. And, as a bonus, Marc and I are featured in Chapter 4 (The Good (Enough) Wife) describing how equal partnerships can lead to fun lives; our mentor, Francine Deutsch, is also featured in this chapter with a really nice quote (she's reminiscing about Halving It All: How Equally Shared Parenting Works): "When I was writing the acknowledgments for my book, I wrote something like, I don't have to thank [my husband] for sharing equally because he got to have the kind of relationship with my son that I have. Who would trade that for anything?"

If you'd like an upbeat, encouraging read about real balance, check out Good Enough Is the New Perfect!

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