A warm aloha from Hawaii!
I read about equally shared parenting in The New York Times and laughed
when I realized that's exactly what we do. I waved the paper at my
husband, Darrin, saying, "This is us! This is us!" and he just rolled
his eyes and said, "You mean there are other crazy people doing this,
too?" He was getting all three kids to sleep so he was a bit grumpy,
but when I read the article to him, he agreed, "Yep, that's us."
That's us, all right. We’ve been living these "crazy" lives from the
very start of our adventures as parents. And we couldn't be happier.
We're former management consultants from the Bay Area who moved to
Hawaii right before the birth of our first child (two months before, to
be exact). We sold everything and took a huge leap of faith--we had
zero job prospects and hardly any money in the bank (by the way, that
wasn't necessarily the best way to do it, but sometimes it's the only
way) but it felt really important to us to be here in Hawaii. We
absolutely felt the "call to Hawaii" as many of us like to put it.
Three children later (M is 9, E is 3 1/2, and L is 16 months), this is
our life: we homeschool, we're co-parents, we're co-breadwinners, we're
co-everything. Darrin founded an innovative golf academy that focuses
on the mental game and just last year was listed among the top schools
in America by GOLF Magazine. He published two books based on his
methodology with a fabulous publisher, Stewart, Tabori & Chang: I
write novels under the pen name Mia King. My books are selections of
the Doubleday, Literary Guild, Rhapsody and Book of the Month clubs and
my publisher is Berkley Books (Penguin USA). He's my first reader and
I'm his first editor. He'll watch the kids when I'm on deadline or
doing a book event (which he'll usually attend with the kids and vice
versa when he has an event. We also do a lot of joint book events with
the kids). We cook, clean, change (and wash) diapers, and everything in
between. Neither of us does one thing predominantly though at times the
balance will shift (i.e., if I'm on deadline or if there’s a lot of
business at the golf academy), I'd say that at least 90% of the time
it's equally shared parenting at its best.
I have to say that the only thing we don't get enough of is time to
ourselves (though we carve it out for each other frequently--we just
want more). I think it's more a function of having young children, and
I see it shifting as they grow up. The beauty of equally shared
parenting is that it's fluid. We can get creative and are able to move
things around. We wouldn't trade our life for the more conventional
approach to parenting or family life, though we get plenty of raised
eyebrows from friends and families who think we've gone off the deep
end. Equally shared parenting is not just great for our kids but great
for us because it allows us to do more of what we love as individuals
and creative people.
Some more background about us: Darrin has his BA in Psychology from
UCLA and an MBA from Northwestern. I attended Wellesley College and
graduated with a BA from Rice University in Political Science. I'm 41
and Darrin is 42. We're Chinese American. We've been married 10 years.
Our equal parenting lifestyle plays a significant role in helping our
marriage stay solid through the rough parts (and there were lots,
especially in the beginning!). All I can say is: it is worth it.
Equal shared parenting helps you maintain responsibility, which in turn
makes you be truthful to yourself. It allows us be honest about what
we're feeling and what we want, and especially what we love. We love
our kids, we love being creative, we love new experiences. Equally
shared parenting works wonderfully well in the world we live in. I
don't think either of us would be published or have this amazing golf
academy if we hadn't started out with equally shared parenting in
mind. I believe if more people understood the benefits of equally
shared parenting it would change not just the quality of their lives,
but the quality of the lives of the people around them. The funny thing
is that equally shared parenting puts YOU first, not just your spouse
or your children, and whenever you put yourself first and address your
needs it almost always bodes well for everyone else. There's no feeling
of resentment, of missing out on something, of feeling like you can't
do what you want. It's a joy to validate the fact that, as people and
as parents, we have a lot of choices available to us, and that equally
shared parenting gives us that freedom.
©Copyright 2009 Marc and Amy