Equally Shared Parenting. The very title is enough to cause working moms everywhere to drool. Imagine life where your husband contributes an equal half of the effort required for keeping up the house and parenting the kids, and you get an equal share of time to relax on the couch. Sign me up! More importantly, sign my husband up!
Then comes the explanation of how some families are approaching it -- www.equallysharedparenting.com. Spreadsheets. Time charts. Long discussions. Intense negotiations. The very words are enough to make me break out in hives.
It reminds me of an episode from my college days. Six of us lived together in a suite, and one day 3 of the girls decided they were going to post a list of "rules" for the common area, without consulting the rest of us. It went down like a lead balloon -- we just ignored their demands. They didn't post a cleaning schedule, but that would've been the logical next step, and equally ineffective.
Sitting my husband down to create a shared parenting spreadsheet would be just as disasterous. I imagine that is true for most guys. But the funny thing is, we've evolved into our own version of equally shared parenting without all the intricate planning.
I don't have a snappy title for our division of labor, maybe we could call it the Two-Thirds Solution. His primary two-thirds contribution is working full-time outside of the home, plus he takes on one-third of household and childcare duties. My two-thirds contribution is being the primary parent and point person for the household, plus I earn one-third of our income from part-time software contracting from home.
We didn't have any long discussions to get to this place, we just each quietly picked up duties and made them our own. My husband started cooking dinner every night. I set up a software package to create and manage the budget. We pay for biweekly cleaning. There is minimal scheduling involved. In a future post I will relate how we got here and what works for us.
I'm very happy with this arrangement. Yes, I have taken a back seat in my career (for now) in exchange for a life I enjoy more. My two-thirds solution is a result rather than a cause of this choice. It's a path that isn't available or right for everyone, but it's right for us, right now.