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

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What is Equally Shared Parenting?

Imagine a life without having to choose between a meaningful career and enough time with your children.  Envision that while you are at work, your wonderful children are safe, happy, healthy and growing in the care of someone who loves them just as much as you do.  At home, you spend many hours with them each week to connect with and nurture them.  There is plenty of time for yourself and your favorite hobbies as well, and you never have to do more than half of the housework.  The burden of earning the family’s income no longer falls on just one of you.  You are fully competent as a parent rather than an understudy or manager to your spouse, and you have an energized marriage with a fun and happy partner.  Are you laughing at this unrealistic dream?  Or are you thinking 'please help me get that'?  If it’s the latter, you’ve come to the right place.

We call this equally shared parenting, and it is practiced by a growing number of couples.  It stands in sharp contrast to the traditional marriage with children, in which the man works and the woman stays home, or the ‘supermom’ marriage, in which the man works and the woman tries to balance a career with the lion’s share of the childcare and household tasks.  Equally shared parenting is more than an extension of feminism; it is more than simply what is fair.  Equally sharing the care of your children with your partner is about balancing your life, balancing your family's collective life and sharing equally in the joys of raising a family.

Our definition of equally shared parenting is this:  The purposeful practice of two parents sharing equally in the domains of childraising, housework, breadwinning, and time for self

Equal sharing doesn’t just happen.  It can be hard earned and hard kept.  Our society does little to encourage it, and many workplaces are not yet well prepared to honor it.  It usually means living more simply, establishing yourself in your career before children arrive, and having the utmost respect for your partner.

It is, however, a real option.  We know this lifestyle is not for everyone, and we have no intention of trying to convince you that equal sharing is better for every family than another parenting model.  Some parents have no choice, including most divorced, widowed or single parents.  We are not here to judge anyone, nor do we feel we have The Answer to all that ails American parenthood.  But we do have An Answer.

Working toward equal parenting in each domain leads at first to small changes in happiness.  But, when both parents are fully competent in all four domains, an exponential change is possible.  Suddenly, life is fun (and if it ever starts to get not-so-fun, your partner is ready to step in), whether you are at work, changing a diaper, snuggling with your preschooler, golfing, or washing the dishes.  You and your spouse are a true team.  You are both leading lives in balance.

Equally shared parenting truly is half the work, and all the fun.

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