Does equally shared parenting work for all families?

June 16, 2008

Picture from the New York Times online

Picture from the New York Times online

The cover story for the New York Times Magazine last weekend was, When Mom and Dad Share It All, a story about parents who share all parenting and home-related duties from laundry and meal preparation to thank-you notes and paying the bills. This is not the story of the stay-at-home dad and the high-powered career mom or the stay-at-home mom and the really involved and helpful dad; this story is about couples who are trying to shatter parenting gender stereotypes of all kinds. Both parents pull back on work hours, and discussions are about who will be home with the children, who will wash the darks and who will wash the lights, and who will plan the children’s birthday parties this year.

At its core, the story reminds us of the importance of ongoing communication with our partners and figuring out what will work best for both us and our children. As the article shows with its example families, equally shared parenting doesn’t work for everyone, and what is most important is to figure out what works for your family, regardless of what society says it should look like, which is perhaps the hardest part of all.

What does the division of labor look like in your home? Are you happy with that balance or would you change it if you could? Is there a way to be equal partners in the home without sacrificing career advancement and monetary gain? Will equally shared parenting ever be the norm?

– Karen

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