When my twins first came home from the hospital, I attempted tandem nursing my always hungry babies, which seemed to occupy nearly every minute of everyday. My husband and I agreed that he'd take on the responsibility of middle-of-the-night diaper changes and soothing of babies back to dreamland while I got some much needed shut-eye. Around that same time, hubby began pitching in more and more, preparing meals, washing and folding laundry, even grocery shopping and ensuring the dishes got done. Three years later, he still gets up with the kids overnight, if necessary. He makes breakfast every morning but Saturday, he mostly does the dishes and accepts responsibility for a majority of the laundry.
Yes, I'm astoundingly lucky. But, I'm also part of a team whose goal is to create a happy, healthy environment for our entire family, so I do my part, too. Unbeknownst to me, we're apparently part of a movement called Equal Parenting, the focus of a recent NYT article.
Apparently, though, this trend isn't so popular or feasible for others. Some fear resentment if one spouse contributes more than the other or that there is some form of scorekeeping, perhaps to be resurrected at a later date to compare and even up both honey-do's. For us, we operate under a shared understanding; I bare responsibility as primary caregiver for our kids, which is hard. Very hard. I do what I can, but I need help, too. And, if my husband unloading the dishwasher allows me to sneak in a workout at the gym, he's willing to do that. I'm thankful this works for us, but I understand it may not for everyone.
There seems to be an assumption, too, that we who practice equal parenting are somehow exist, as Nicholas Bakalar of the NYT puts it, "as some sort of model relationship" which couldn't be farther from the truth. Mr. Bakalar's statement perpetuates the same flaming that fuels the Stay at Home vs Working Mom arguement, and is useless in the debate. In presenting this form of parenting and co-habitation, the NYT simply demonstrated an option and a method that works for some of us, not for others.
Bottom line is this: more important, debate-worthy issues exist. War, Phalates, Oil prices, and our next president to name a few. What's the harm in sharing some household chores and relying on each other to pick up the slack when the other needs it. None, if you ask me.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to empty the dishwasher while my husband gets to bed early.