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Moms and Dads Created Equal?

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Fans of "equally shared parenting" believe moms and dads can split the work.


The cover story of The New York Times Magazine celebrates the "equally shared parenting" movement, and the couples featured in the piece work hard to split parenting, wage-earning and household duties 50-50, no matter what.

According to, started by Marc and Amy Vachon, the definition of the practice is "the purposeful practice of two parents in an intact home sharing equally in the domains of child-raising, housework, bread-winning, and recreation time."

This article comes hot on the heels of a survey that found that 37% of working dads said they are willing to take a pay cut to spend more time with their children; 42% would take a pay cut of 10% or more.

"More and more men want to be more involved in their children's lives," says psychologist Joan Reese. "Many modern-day parents are getting tired of the traditional setup, where either the man is the breadwinner and the woman does the majority of the household and childcare duties, or both the mom and dad work, but the woman is still expected to do more at home than the man does. This dynamic typically leaves both partners feeling stressed, and it's the kids who suffer for it."

That's where equally shared parenting -- where both partners work less and participate more in childcare -- is the answer. "You and your spouse are a true team," Amy Vachon claims on her Web site. "You are both leading lives in balance. Equally shared parenting truly is half the work, and all the fun." But opponents of equal parenting call it "genderless parenting," and say it erases traditional male-female roles and confuses children.

We love the idea of moms feeling less expected to do it all -- because, we gotta tell you, most of us are exhausted trying to do the impossible day in, day out. And dads pitching in more sounds good, too. But let's be realistic, how many bosses will go for employees working less, especially in this economy? And do guys really want to take on bake sales, doctor appointments and homework? 

Tell us your thoughts on equally shared parenting.

next: Get Fit in Minutes: Day 2
4 comments so far | Post a comment now
Charli June 17, 2008, 10:02 AM

My husband and I do share some responsibilities, He cooks while I clean and take care of the kids. But that is the extent of it. He does bring home the bread. But that is just how we do it. I know that he does wish that he were able to be home more to watch our kids grow.

SugarPlumFairy June 17, 2008, 12:43 PM

It definitely makes things too hard when things are not split down the middle. A woman can’t be expected to work a 9 to 5, come home have a Betty Crocker inspired meal on the table by 6:30, tuck in the kids like June Cleaver and have sex on top of it all at the end of the night. It just ain’t possible.

Kelly June 17, 2008, 5:19 PM

Shouldn’t we be TRYING to erase “traditional male-female” roles? I know I don’t want my daughter thinking she can only grow up to cook and clean and my son to think his wife will just put up with that! Not much of an argument for those opposing this…

Angela June 18, 2008, 11:54 AM

I don’t undertsand what is so wrong with choosing to stay home with your children.My daughter is very aware that she can grow up and do whatever she wants to do.I make it clear that it is my choice to stay home and take care of my kids.My husband works but he is very much an active parent.From the minute he steps in the door he is hands on,plays, helps with homework, does the baths and bed tuck ins.It takes two people to make a baby so it makes sense that it takes both of them to raise one.

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