From the Trenches
Just wanted to share a comment that Michelle posted recently at Work It, Mom!, in response to the Software Mom blog entry I mentioned last week. If you recall, Software Mom was wary of ESP because she felt it consisted of spreadsheets, time charts and intense negotiations. I hope Software Mom doesn't feel too picked on because I'm writing about her twice - no ill intentions! But this comment by Michelle is so worthy of repeating:
"The conversations that we have about parenting are not overwhelming, horribly time consuming or really all that complicated. In fact, we both greatly enjoy the level of detail we each get about the others' day with our three girls because we both want to be a part of the nitty gritty of caring for them. Our schedules (and we do use a calendar) keep us updated on what is going on in one another's lives in ways that are meaningful outside of the girls (e.g. I know he had an important quote to do yesterday and he can see that I've had quite a few client meetings this week). This helps us give each other extra room when the other needs it and just adds to the connection in our relationship. We do have our areas of expertise - he does most of the car stuff, for example, and I do most of the meal planning. Nobody "sits [the other] down" to have a long, intense discussion. We both WANT to share caring for our girls equally and we WANT to share domestic duties and we WANT to do meaningful, engaging work outside of our household responsibilities. So, it's not a burden. On the contrary, it is a great pleasure to have these conversations. And because we do them relatively effortlessly, they are actually far less frequent than the conversations we get to have about things totally unrelated to our domestic situation. I really do respect the choice not to do equally shared parenting. I would never try to convince anyone to use this approach who wasn't compelled to do it by their own interest. I can also say, though, that of the (quite a few) equally shared parenting couples I know, there are NONE who are wishing they were parenting some other way."
I could not have written this any more accurately or eloquently. I love the idea that sharing a calendar the way Michelle describes brings added closeness to her relationship. And, yes, it is the mutual wanting that makes the difference. Way to go, Michelle!