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Who Wears the Pants?

Did any of you read the article in the New York Times Magazine last week titled: “When Mom and Dad Share it All”? It’s about ESP — Equally Shared Parenting. Everything is 50-50. Parents share equal responsibility for running the house, taking care of the children, and working outside of the home, even laundry duty. In one of the families they profiled the husband was responsible for washing the darks, the woman the whites.

I’ve never thought about writing down a plan, but still feel Commuter Dad and I have a pretty even split; we share responsibility for Commuter Girl. Sure, I am probably on “Commuter Girl-duty” more weekends than Commuter Dad, but I don’t mind. I really don’t do anything for the dog, Commuter Dad does the walks and feeds him every day — and likes to do that. Commuter Dad pays the bills (from our joint account to which we both contribute), I do more housekeeping/de-cluttering than he does (and, we learned early on in our relationship that paying a housekeeper to do the cleaning did wonders for our marriage). He makes Commuter Girl’s lunch; I cook dinner. It seems pretty even to me, and I’ve never felt the need to create a formal 50-50 plan. In fact, if you have to break out a spread sheet and calculator to split your parenting, is there some other problem going on, perhaps? Yet, I do wonder if we implemented ESP, would parenting guilt be eliminated? Would I no longer feel guilty going out with the girls because, with equal time for socializing, I would know Commuter Dad would get his turn too? Would I no longer get annoyed when I’m playing with Commuter Girl while Commuter Dad spends an hour on the computer rather than having family time with us? If so, maybe it would be worth the energy to divvy it all up. If not, I think an imperfect split may be just fine…plus, when Commuter Dad does the laundry I end up with a toddler-size wardrobe.

One comment

  1. Anonymous June 19, 2008 at 11:26 am

    My husband and I are probably more like “balanced parenting”. It’s a give and take – I don’t think you need to create a spreadsheet or documented plan to work out a balance. Some weeks are probably heavier on me and others on him….it all balances out in the end! Except the laundry — I keep that of course – it’s cheaper than buying a new wardrobe every week.

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