Friday, January 9, 2015

Tips for equality in parenting

Describe the workload involved in being a parent. Are you listing out the physical tasks you help your child with (getting dressed, brushing teeth, reading bedtime stories)? Or are you thinking about the mental workout (worrying about them when they are away at camp, remembering their measurements, sizes and all their friend's names) as well? Did you remember to list all those ancillary chores that keep the household running smoothly (laundry, cooking, mowing the yard) and gives them a healthy and safe environment to play?

It's a lot of work. For anyone. And while it is duly documented that women (even full-time working women) have handled the bulk of this workload, I appreciate that men are trying to step up more than men of previous generations. (Is it still equal? No.)

But then, I sometimes come across an equal parenting study that is incredibly insulting to women. For example, there is this recent Finnish study which discusses a group of working men who are willing to move meetings to pick children up from daycare and turn down advancements in their careers to consider the family unit as a whole.

As if either of those tasks pushed anyone over the bar for "equal parenting."

And then there is this line:
The study does not explore the subject of how much leeway mothers give to the fathers for participating in an equal share of domestic chores and childcare.
Let's just move on.

I've written previously about my distaste of using the term "active" to describe fathers, but I've never given advice on how to make parenting tasks more equal. So here we go:
  1. Make sure both partners understand all the tasks/chores/responsibilities within the household (everything covered in that opening paragraph.)
  2. Let the partner who isn't doing enough try more chores.
  3. The other partner stays silent.
It seems simple, because it is. You can ask your partner to do something, but you can't then give them instructions on how to do it. The best way to learn how to take on more parenting chores, is to just do it.

What parenting chore do you wish your other half would do more of? Tell me all about it in the comments.

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