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