Equally Shared Parenting - Half the Work ... All the Fun

ESP The Book


"Parents and the brains behind EquallySharedParenting.com, Marc Vachon and Amy Vachon describe equally shared parenting (ESP) as the "purposeful practice of two parents sharing equally in the four domains of child rearing, housework, breadwinning, and time for self," resulting in each partner doing only half the work, owning half the responsibility, and getting half of the power. The authors do an outstanding job of arguing against the model of Dad as apprentice parent and the assumption that mom does child rearing best, acknowledging that the cultural standard of maternity leave and the realities of breastfeeding start off most new parents on an inequitable path. This is not a theoretical piece for burned-out moms seeking more help with the housework, but a working document that motivated couples can turn to for guidance in designing a more balanced relationship. Somewhere above, Betty Friedan is cheering. This columnist is shouting from the rafters. Brilliant!" - Library Journal, 12/17/2009 (starred review, named one of four best books of 2010 in the Parenting category)

"Far from the color-coded chore charts and endless family meetings I had envisioned, it turns out that the Vachons spend a lot of time enjoying one another....  They do the obvious: Spend less than they make, divide chores according to aptitude, and plan, plan, plan. Amy does not "manage" or critique Marc's domestic contributions and Marc doesn't "babysit."  But that's not the heart of the arrangement. I daresay what makes it work is their joint dedication to making the world fit in around their family, vs trying to stretch their time and budgets far enough to meet all of the obligations the modern family is pushed to take on.  By my read, they stick with it not so much because it's fair, or virtuous as because they are happy.  They don't just spend time tackling equal chore lists, they spend it doing things they as a family truly value." - Minnesota Parent, January, 2010

"Engagingly written and packed with real-life examples...these parents of two make the case that it is possible to break traditional molds that require both parents to work at a breakneck pace to pay for child care or ask one parent to take a career dive.  Instead of one person opting out...both parents op in, allowing all parties to "have it all." - Austin Statesman, 1/23/2010

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