Equally Shared Parenting

A damn good idea. And now there’s even a blog about it. From their mission statement:

The number of web resources available for parents is overwhelming. There are wonderful websites for fathering, working moms, stay-at-home moms or dads, parents in general. There are rants and eloquent webzines on the problems with motherhood in American society. There are hundreds of parenting blogs. What doesn’t seem to exist, at least until now, is a website devoted to true equal sharing from a couple who practices it. In fact, if equally shared parenting is mentioned at all on most other parenting websites, it is usually in the context of its impossibility – as a utopian dream.

I haven’t had time to look at it thoroughly, but do go check it out– and let me know what you find. (Thanks, HA!)

10 thoughts on “Equally Shared Parenting

  1. I’m wondering about their “both spouses are equal breadwinners and parents.” (from the site Jender’s linked to)

    Aside from the impossibility of only one sharing equally, I’m wondering about the equal breadwinners part. The reason concerns the kinds of compromises that a couple might make so that one of them can have a tenure track job (or any comparable decision in various professions). The other might accept a lesser position (e.g., non-tt and rather poorly paid lectureship). Would they not be sharing equally?

  2. jj, i think the idea would be that, overall, they would work to achieve equally in their professions. so, sometimes one would sit back while the other plowed ahead a bit. i suspect?

    i was pleased that they flagged this difficulty with the idea:

    “For fathers, equal breadwinning can mean another challenge. Men face more pressure from peers and superiors if they so much as take their allotted paternity leave. Never mind the father who leaves work every other time his child is sick (with his wife doing the same), who eats lunch with his toddler every day at the onsite daycare facility, or who turns down a promotion because he doesn’t want the responsibility that comes with it? What a wimp, a loser, an idiot? Equally sharing parents must face these situations all the time.”

    this is something that’s been on my mind a lot in my family situation. as poorly as the workplace is suited to a woman with childcare responsibilities, there is *no* accommodation, so far as i can see, for a man who has them. it seems clear to me that my partner–who does take up roughly 50% of the childcare…possibly more (i hate mornings)–is at a real disadvantage compared with his colleagues…even his colleagues with children, because of course, most of them don’t do 50% of the childrearing. and i don’t think any of his colleagues are sitting round saying ‘it’s the 21st century, we can’t look down on him for doing what he needs to do to look after his child’. i think they’re sitting round saying ‘[mr lp] isn’t so productive these days. he’s going to have buck up if he wants promotion’.

    i was let down, however, by the section on difficulties with shared parenting. the only real difficulties they listed were ‘extra need for communication’ (which is quite right; daily ‘what do you do when he does that?’ chats are tedious and necessary), and ‘mother needs to let go of some control’ (which, i have to say, i found offensive). they didn’t even mention the fact that dad will have to actively fight to even be *seen* by any community person involved in the child’s upbringing.

    our gp’s surgery; our health visitor; the nursery school; and on and on all only talk to ME. they only have time for mum. they don’t even ring out home (shared) number: they ring *my* mobile. with nursery, i got in the habit of saying ‘i’m sorry, i don’t handle this sort of thing [didn’t matter what sort of thing it was], so you’ll need to ring my husband’, and they did eventually sort of get the picture. from the health visitor, dad taking baby in for his weekly checks resulted, first, in questions like “and where is mum?” and eventually with health visitor ringing my mobile and demanding to visit me and baby at our home. my child is older now, and so i’m braver, so i’ve instructed mr lp that the next time he gets an “and where is mum?” he must reply “at home watching football on the telly with a big cold can of lager in her hand”.

  3. elp: that would be brave but SOOOO good!

    Also: do they have a ‘tell your story’ bit on their Equal Shared Parenting website? Or at least a feedback bit – maybe you could flag up (or at least copy and paste!) these other difficulties for them…

  4. … and now I think about it… you know, a perfectly truthful alternative answer that mrt elp could give, you being a philosopher and all, would be ‘thinking about infanticide’.
    I guess that wouldn’t go down so well….!

  5. i actually asked him to answer “drunk”. but he refused on grounds that it would surely be annoying to have to fight off social services. the football on telly reply was a compromise.

  6. a related but irrelevant aside: my child has taken (who knows why! maybe he sees how much attention i pay to it) to carrying round tooley’s _abortion and infanticide_ and referring to it as “mine black book”.

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