Equitable Parenting Moms or Dads? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 11-19-2010, 12:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I haven't seen any threads or tribes out there, but I am wondering if there are any other natural, intuitive and/or AP parents out there who are also committed to equal parenting. I thought it might be nice to have a place where we could discuss the various challenges that arise when you try to share parenting totally equally with your partner.

 

DH & I are fully committed to equal parenting but I know it's (a) sometimes hard to let go of a "mother's instinct is best" mentality and (b) also hard to parent equally when DPs simply have different professional situations and/or goals.

 

We are also thinking of entering into a situation wherein DH would be SAHD. Is it possible to parent equally then?! I'm a student now and have a (relatively) flexible schedule so I'm at home more than DH... is that equal parenting?

 

Attachment to both parents is really important to us, so I think it'd be nice to connect with other parents facing similar challenges!

 

Maybe you can chime in with a description with your own attempts at equal parenting & we can go from there?

 

Thanks & hope to hear from some of you soon!


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#2 of 12 Old 11-21-2010, 12:08 PM
 
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Equal parenting is important to us. It's been less than ideal so far - I'm a grad student and DH is working for now, but we hope to have me with the flexible but demanding academic gig and DH as a SAHD. So far, we've dealt with it in a variety of ways, but it's been complicated some factors such as DD not taking expressed BM from a bottle and DH at times having to work alot. Right now, he is on an extended leave of absence from work, while I finish my dissertation. So he is with DD during the day, though I still BF and put her down for naps. He does all the hanging out in the morning, changing of diapers, feeding her. While I take over after the afternoon nap. We've found a good way for him to participate every night in the bedtime routine - he does the bath, I do the nursing and then he walks her around and sings to her. These next months are sort of our chance to even the scales of an uneven situation that neither of us is happy with... love to hear other people's thoughts. 

 

 

 

 


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#3 of 12 Old 11-23-2010, 07:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, we are in a very similar situation, Tatooed Hand! I'm finishing law school while DH works full time. I have a job that will start next fall & DH might SAHD at that point (or work very part-time, possibly evenings).

 

I feel like we've been doing a good job at the equal parenting thing lately because DS goes around saying mamadada a lot & it's clear he's really attached to his dad. But it's frustrating as well. DH has particularly been frustrated lately because he cannot get DH to go to sleep or help with nighttime parenting in the last week or so. We've tried hard to offer different forms of nighttime comforting, but DS goes through phases where he'll have nothing but the boob. I can't imagine, Tattooed Hand, if DS hadn't taken expressed milk from a bottle!

 

The need to BF so often will fade eventually, but I think the biggest challenge moving into this next phase will be parenting as equally as possible and respecting each other's personal/professional interests/goals. It's a tricky balance.

 

I read this article in the New York Times a while back & I really found it interesting and inspiring. However, I don't think we're in a relationship where it would be helpful or healthy to count the hours each of us spends caring for DS or doing household stuff. But maybe I'm just justifying the fact that I think I do less these days as I enter the busy period of my semester!


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#4 of 12 Old 11-23-2010, 07:20 AM
 
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We try to think of equal parenting as an attitude and something that plays out over the long term.   At any given moment, one of us is probably doing more/spending more time with the kiddos.  Previously, that's been me.  Right now, though, I'm in a demanding graduate program (and working part time) while my husband works full time from home.  He's definitely doing more parenting than I am right now!  How that will shift once I'm done with school, we're not entirely sure yet. 

 

The key things for us are that we both want to be highly involved with our children's lives, and that the person who has more demands outside the home at a given time takes the opportunity to 'take over' as primary caregiver when s/he is at home (which helps give the other parent a break, for one thing!).   As opposed to the person who has the primary parenting responsibility continuing to maintain that primary responsibility even when the other parent is available.

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#5 of 12 Old 11-24-2010, 09:18 AM
 
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I would say DH and I are pretty equal when it comes to DD. He actually does the night time parenting and has since she was about 15 months. He works 4 days on and get 5 days off. So he is home more than he works. We share the responsibilities and discipline pretty equally and our DD def. knows we are on the same page.


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#6 of 12 Old 11-27-2010, 08:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ugh! MDC just erased my post... I'll try to quickly recreate & maybe add more later...

 

Glad to see other mamas committed to equal parenting with their partners! Maybe there are still others out there?

 

Wanted to raise something for discussion: biology. Seems like I hear biology or nature used a lot in AP circles as a way to explain why it's better for mamas to be the primary caregiver... I actually feel like a bit of an oddball with a lot of AP-ish folks I know. And I don't quite have a good way to respond. I think it's worth thinking about (i.e. breastfeeding is biologically-driven & often creates challenges for me & DH has equal parents) but it's also infuriating when used as an excuse for reinforcing traditional gender roles or making mamas feel bad about leaving LOs with their male partners (who clearly have no "maternal instinct").

 

Anyway, just a little vent... Not sure if anyone's encountered the same or has a good response for why equal parenting feels "right" for them.


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#7 of 12 Old 11-27-2010, 09:21 AM
 
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I'd like to join this thread now, though I won't have our baby until late March/early April.  I am deeply, deeply committed to having an equal parenting/equal partnership relationship with my husband of almost 10 years.  I know it will be a negotiation, and actually I use the word "equitable" because I know "equal" is a tricky word that a lot of people dance around.  I don't think partners are "opposites," but neither are they really "equal" in a quantifiable way, especially when it comes to men and women in heterosexual diads (which is what my experience is in, but of course not the only sort of relationship out there).  Based on my personal experience and studies, I'm so convinced that neither men nor women are inferior, superior, or inherently the "other." This includes recognizing that while the role of a "mother" who is a woman can be different than a man who is a "father," "mothers" are not more valuable than "fathers" to babies -- and when you talk about roles and stereotypes that have been assigned to genders, these need to be flexible and inclusive.

 

The bottom line is that I want both my husband and me to feel as fulfilled and satisfied as possible -- in parenting, in ourselves as individuals, and in our relationship to each other.  It's going to take a LOT of work.  We have very different jobs, hobbies, social needs, physical needs, etc.  But we're really trying to work it out.  And I know things will change and develop over time, as we figure out what's right for us.

 

My husband currently works from home as a freelance artist and designer (and has for about 6 years).  His income and hours change constantly.  I work 30-35 hours a week outside the home at a low-paying (for NYC) job, and the health insurance we enjoy comes from my employment.  My schedule is a little flexible.  I don't think either of us will be able to be a SAH parent and keep paying our rent, nor does either one of us want to stay at home (at this point; I know that may change after the baby is born).  We have a goal to share cleaning and household upkeep duties equally and already do pretty well at that.  Our current (read: incredibly loose and up in the air) plan is to each work 4 days a week, and balance our 4 total days off (3 for each of us, 2 of which would be the weekend days, which we'd share) with some sort of nanny share or babysitting coop situation (infant day cares in NYC are few and expensive). 

 

-------

 

In reply to the previous post, I think biology is a factor in human development (and parenting), but I do NOT think that it is such a strong factor that it outweighs sociological ("nurture," as opposed to "nature") factors.  Also, I think a lot of things people THINK "are biological" are actually socialized so deeply that we have become lazy and mistaken about them, unthinkingly reinforcing stereotypes we may think are natural.


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#8 of 12 Old 12-02-2010, 02:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neuromancer View Post

I'd like to join this thread now, though I won't have our baby until late March/early April.  I am deeply, deeply committed to having an equal parenting/equal partnership relationship with my husband of almost 10 years.  I know it will be a negotiation, and actually I use the word "equitable" because I know "equal" is a tricky word that a lot of people dance around.  I don't think partners are "opposites," but neither are they really "equal" in a quantifiable way, especially when it comes to men and women in heterosexual diads (which is what my experience is in, but of course not the only sort of relationship out there). 

...

 

The bottom line is that I want both my husband and me to feel as fulfilled and satisfied as possible -- in parenting, in ourselves as individuals, and in our relationship to each other.  It's going to take a LOT of work.  We have very different jobs, hobbies, social needs, physical needs, etc.  But we're really trying to work it out.  And I know things will change and develop over time, as we figure out what's right for us.

...


Welcome! And congrats on the upcoming birth!

 

I really like the idea of using the term equitable instead of equal! That sound so much more accurate to the family situations that have been described here so far. And I also think that equitable invokes the idea of appreciating and understanding each partner's (different) role instead of parsing out "duties" that someone has to take care of one way or the other... Does that make sense?

 

And I think that the second part bolded ^^ is really what drew me & DH to equitable parenting (see... I'm totally adopting it!). We both wanted a family (though we had really been indifferent about it for a long time) but were unwilling to totally give up our individual identities. Fostering our own pursuits would absolutely be impossible if it weren't for equitable parenting. Plus, I think that we've really been able to rebuild our relationship (which of course changed after baby came along) with each other in a way that wouldn't be possible if one of us was moving in the direction of being 100% in charge of child rearing & the other was charging full steam ahead on doing his/her own thing. We are both dealing with a similar balancing act & we can really relate with each other and support one another that way.

 

I think for us one of the hardest things in the beginning was dispensing with the myth that a mother's instinct was always right, which meant letting go on my part and just trusting DH. We knew that we wanted to pursue equitable parenting from the start, but that myth is way more ingrained (at least it was for me) than I expected it to be. I won't lie, I think that after carrying LO, giving birth, and nursing most of those early days I really took "ownership" of motherhood, and it would have been easy to stay on that path. But once the hormones calmed down, & I let DH take over on his own terms, he just automatically just stepped up and we haven't looked back (well... I'd say we probably criticize each other's choices equally now winky.gif).


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#9 of 12 Old 12-16-2010, 12:25 PM
 
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I'm not sure how much my husband and I qualify, since he works full-time as a cube monkey and I teach online classes at home and watch our 3  yr old during the day, but we are committed to equal input, at least. And when my husband was laid off and I went back to school, he was the primary caregiver -- and it worked well for us.  

 

I think it's important for our daughter to be parented by her father and to know that he is just as caring and capable as I am.  Not to mention that I need a break! ;)  

 

For his part, I have to say that my husband is the most hands-on, involved father I know, short of a couple of stay-at-home-dads.  Since I work in the evenings, he takes her pretty much full-time from when he walks in the door in the evening until bedtime.  He bathes her, reads her to sleep, supervises dinner, etc.


Part-time WAHM. Live with my workaholic mother, my over-worked husband, and wonderful daughter born in '07.
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#10 of 12 Old 12-30-2010, 09:12 AM
 
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I think dh and I might fit in, sort of... we've enjoyed an arrangement for the last two years that allowed dh to be home with dd three days out of the work week, and me home the other two.  We mainly did this out of necessity, as he was in grad school and I was working part time.  We're not really interested in that as a long-term plan, because it made it difficult to implement a routine for dd, which I think will be increasingly valuable as she gets older.  But whenever our work situations change, we do want to hold onto the balance that we had that gave us both so much time with dd.

 

My dh is a natural with kids, and I have to be much more intentional about putting down my to-do list and focusing on my daughter.  I say that to make the point that even though dh and I have gotten nearly equal time with dd so far, the quality of that time has not been equal.  This is not at all an issue of dh not doing his fare share of the chores -- he probably does more than I do -- but I just tend to stress more over what needs to be done, and that affects my focus throughout the day.  I definitely see this as an area where I need to grow, but I also feel like it shows me that I need more time at home than dh does in order to have the same quality of relationship with our children.


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#11 of 12 Old 01-30-2011, 10:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Welcome, Laura & Courtney!

 

Haven't been on for a while, but it's nice to know there are others out there struggling with this careful balancing act!

 

I think it's been so interesting to see that most of the folks on her have some day-to-day set-up that, from the outside, might not look "equal," KWIM? I don't think it means that you don't "belong" here at all! Quite the contrary, I think that's been the struggle (at least for me)... How can parenting be equitable, how can both parents contribute to the family dynamic in a way that fits & supports everyone's needs? And I think that as a modern feminist, I've never really sought equality per se, but rather a healthy and balanced relationship that's not based on preconceived notions of gender roles. I don't think that any inflexible model will work... this is the sort of thing that can only be accomplished with lots of flexibility and generosity.

 

And I totally can relate, Laura, to how you feel about the difference in the quality of the time you spend with your LO compared to DH. When DH is the one home, it seems like they take care of so much & have exciting adventures. When it's me, I feel triumphant if I make it to the grocery store & have time to play some with DS before nap time!


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#12 of 12 Old 03-01-2011, 09:39 AM
 
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I am absolutely committed to equal parenting.  DH is a SAHD, and I'm the breadwinner.   I work 50+ hours a week, and I love my job.  It works for us.

 

It's a challenge sometimes to be careful of "because I said so" as a reason for parenting decisions.  We make all parenting decisions together.  We research separately and come together to discuss everything (once a week on date night when DS is with his Grammy!).  If one of us feels really strongly about something, we try to give that parent the benefit of the doubt.  Sometimes it means I have to hold my tongue and trust that he is 100% parent, just as I am.   

 

Working together makes us stronger people, a happier couple, and I think better parents.

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