Equal Shared Parenting: Gender Nirvana or Painful Psycho-babble?

Punditdad likes to raise hell as much as the next blogger and that’s why his well trimmed eyebrows (thanks Patrick the Barber!) raised when he read this article in the NY Times Magazine this Sunday.

I’m a bit of a schadenfreude-ist when people’s high and mighty ideals come crashing down to the earthly domain of reality. It makes me think they haven’t thought out their ideals. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love it when pioneers in our society break gender-specific roles, bring down misogyny and crush stereotypes (remember, I stay at home and I am a man)! But the reality is that although we parent with the best of intentions, we live in a world that we didn’t create and ultimately it is how we deal with that difference that defines how we live and the lessons we impart to our children.

The parents in this article want to create a different paradigm that better reflects the values they hold. They want to work when they want and parent equally when they want. Is that possible? Sure, but our society doesn’t reflect it. Will it in the future if enough people demand it? Sure. But no matter how you slice it, when you put two people together and they have a baby, either one person or two people is bringing in income and time with the child is a commodity. As a result, the type of parenting possible becomes narrowed regardless of personal ideals. The narrowing of those possibilities is where most of us middle class WASP’s live. So, despite the fact that I may have a gripe with Mommy about who does more housework in a given week, it’s how we work out that gripe that matters MOST to our parenting and our relationship with the Bean, NOT who actually does more! The reconciliation of roles and time management and humility are the lessons to be learned, not color coding and time stamping Excel sheets.

But how do your reconcile your ambition and desires, whether its your drive to succeed with a company as the VP or whether its making sure you spend every waking hour by your child’s’ side in their formative years? You can’t do both. But you can be a parent who accepts their own limitations and uses that as a starting point for their own parenting.

Let’s face it, Punditdad, is seemingly allergic to cubicles at the moment, and feels a distinct pleasure in calling his “own” hours at the moment and therefore feels no anger, resentment or allergy to the to-do lists and projects that may be set before me. I may be prickly with Mommy’s approach on the lists but that is because I haven’t learned schadenfreude with myself! Remember, the longest journey begins with the first step Punditdad!

One Response

  1. Here here, pundit dad! I was repulsed by this piece on Sunday. I haven’t had a chance to blog on it yet but will probably get to it tomorrow. First off – what was cover-story and NYT Magazine worthy about this piece? Granted, I had to break out reading it in three different periods of time, so I might have forgotten a few things – but which of those featured families actually participate in equal shared parenting? I think none! They all eventually entered reality and realized that life happens and one parent does more – and we play to our strengths when balancing workloads. Get over it people. Who has the time and energy for excel spreadsheets and keeping track? And how does that create a healthy marital relationship rather than a one-upmanship and room for fighting? I am super fired up about that dumb, worthless, idiotic article.

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