Equally Shared Parenting – Why It’s a Good Idea for Everyone

Time was that the mother stayed at home and looked after the home and kids, and the father worked outside the home and brought home the bacon, never lifting a finger to change a diaper or do chores around the house. It was proscribed and clearly set out; unambiguous.

However we now live in more enlightened times with men and women playing very varied roles in society. To then continue to view gender roles in such narrow and chauvinistic terms, or to let gender determine what and how much one should be doing in the home, is neither acceptable nor is in the interests of the family.

Parenting can and usually is very demanding in terms of the sheer amount of work involved on a day to day basis. An unequal balance in the household where one of the spouses is left to do most of the work and the other expects to be picked up after can cause resentment to say the least.

Research has shown that sharing of chores around the house means that couples feel better towards their partners and happier about their relationship overall. It is best for all concerned if parents who work outside the home spend equal amounts of time at home, taking equal responsibility. Here no one spouse’s career takes precedence and both are equally involved in everything that has to do with parenting.

Sharing chores around the home sets a good example for the kids

One spouse doing all the work around the house or picking up after the other; with the other spouse not pulling their own weight can set a negative example for the child. The child may grow up thinking that it is OK for one parent to be constantly doing something around the house while the other thinks it is OK to put their feet up and take in a game.

Tips to share chores

This article speaks of tips to end the chore wars among couples with the help of some simple tips: The chores should be appropriate – if a person is good at something or they enjoy say gardening more than the other, they can take up that chore. However this doesn’t mean that one or the other person gets all of the ‘easy’ ones either and the sharing should be equitable.

Compliment rather than nag. Showing appreciation is important in any relationship. Begin somewhere, even if the list of chores is overwhelming. Make chores a fun activity for the whole family, so that it is less of a ‘chore’.

Don’t keep scores

The New York Times parenting blog makes an interesting point that it is futile to keep tabs on who did what and important to stop complaining or comparing. The aim of the exercise should be to have balance in life so that each partner in the relationship feels happy and fulfilled; with each having the time to do what is important to them.

Don’t look upon the other parent as an adversary or one who has to be competed with; but a partner to be helped and shared with – surely this is in the interests of all concerned.


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