Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Shared Parenting

One of my colleagues posted this link on her facebook page. It's definitely worth a read. In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that my husband (at least right now) does more of the housework than I do. Of course, I pay most of the bills and I'm pretty much in charge of feeding our adorable daughter right now, but he's the clean one without a doubt. Even before Cady came along, Chad did most (as in, almost ALL!) of the cleaning. I don't mind the cooking or the grocery shopping or paying the bills, but dishes...YUCK!

When Mom and Dad Share It All

Here are just a couple of parts I found intriguing.

She goes on to suggest that the perception of flexibility is itself a matter of perception. In her study, she was struck by how often the wife’s job was seen by both spouses as being more flexible than the husband’s. By way of example she describes two actual couples, one in which he is a college professor and she is a physician and one in which she is a college professor and he is a physician. In either case, Deutsch says “both the husband and wife claimed the man’s job was less flexible.”

I can really relate to this next part and have even mentioned it to Chad on occasion. Of course, he doesn't think I should care so much about what other people think, but then again they're not judging him :-)

Women, she says, know that the world is watching and judging. If the toddler’s clothes don’t match, if the thank-you notes don’t get written, if the house is a shambles, it is seen as her fault, making her overly invested in the outcome. Many women will also admit to the frisson of superiority, of a particular form of gratification, when they are the more competent parent, the one who can better soothe the tears in the middle of the night.

Seriously, give it a read. It's a good reminder that sharing responsibilities whether in a friendship, marriage, or in parenting is not easy. It takes work and lots of communication. AND, sometimes it still doesn't quite "fit" your situation so there's always a little negotiating to find what works for you. For Chad and me, however, I hope that shared parenting is something that we can keep working toward. I love that Chad is just as willing and capable to get up in the middle of the night to change a diaper as me and that he already loves reading to our little girl just like I loved his willingness to attend one of our childbirth classes alone because I had a meeting. I find it really fun (and challenging!) to share the roles of wage earner and parent.


Abby said...

Well said!

I'm always shocked when co-workers and friends (of all ages, I might add) ask me, "Who's keeping the baby?" when they know I'm going out of town without her.

I always say, "Well, Bart." Then in turn they are shocked.

Bart does EVERYTHING I do. Minus the nursing. Feeding, bathing, diapers, Dr's appts, dropping off and picking up...and I love him for it!

Co-parenting is the way to go!

Abby said...

Oh and I read an article about situations where couples think that they are sharing everything but the "emotional/social details" are still left to the sending out Christmas cards, scheduling Dr's appts, birthday parties, thank you notes, and school picture day etc.

Now that IS true in my household. I do see to all the of those details. Not that I mind most of the time but it would be nice to have a break every now and then. I think that is the last line for men to cross in order for things to be TOTALLY even at home.

ashlynn310 said...

Cady is so blessed to have two wonderful parents who share joyfully in the parenting process!

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