Imagine actually having it all: staying at home with your kids, having your career, and getting free time just for you. Across the country, couples are joining forces and getting on board with equally shared parenting.

The concept is quite simple but mutually beneficial. Parents can work full-time opposite schedules, reduced hours, or work from home. While one parent works, the other cares for the children and the home. This includes grocery shopping, dishes, laundry, playtime, and homework time. In addition, each parent gets a certain amount of free time each week.

There is a lot to consider, including how established your career already is, how willing your boss is to work with your schedule, and how agreeable you and your spouse are to living a bit more simply. It may not work for everyone, but with some hard work, honesty, and dedication, equally shared parenting could benefit your entire family.

Benefits for Mom

Mom finally gets the best of both worlds without the guilt of having a career or the sometimes isolated, often under-appreciated life as a stay-at-home-mom. Equally shared parenting allows mothers to stay at home with their children half of the time and build a rewarding career (complete with grown-up conversations) the other half of the time.

This means there won't be a missing chunk of time on her resume, she won't fall behind on the newest technologies and ideas in her chosen occupation, and she gets to keep her kids at home and raise them. In addition, Mom gets a predetermined amount of free time to have a girls' night out or head to the gym for an afternoon.

Benefits for Dad

Husbands of stay-at-home moms often feel a great amount of pressure. As the sole breadwinner, there's a lot of energy focused on how much money he is making and how quickly his career is advancing. But even when both husband and wife work, dads often feel that they are missing out on their children's lives. They often arrive home from work in time to eat and put the children to bed, leaving only the weekends to spend time as a family while also trying to fix any problems the house may have.

Fathers still get to be providers with equally shared parenting, but they also get to participate in the day-to-day activities of raising children. They are able to feel like a parent, rather than a money generator. As a result, they are able to enjoy life more and take pride in watching their children grow, knowing that they took part in raising the amazing adults their children are becoming.

Benefits for Children

Children love spending time with their parents. When both parents are equally available to them, children are able to build a trusting relationship with each of them. According to sociologist Arlie Hochschild, a growing number of parents face time conflicts. The more time a parent spends at work, the more hectic home becomes, making them want to "escape" to work. Work then becomes home, and home becomes work. This shift can negatively affect children who can begin to feel as if they are a burden rather than a joy to their parents.

With equally shared parenting, home life can stay calm because there is always someone there to take care of the home, the children, and any problems that arise. It is the parents who teach the children everything from using the potty, learning the alphabet, and tying their shoes. There is always a parent at home to care for children and spend one-on-one time with them to talk and bond. There is always someone at their games and concerts, and always a parent available to pick them up from school, help them with homework, or stay home with them if they are sick. Since there is no conflict for the parents over whether to be at work or be with the children, the children ultimately win.

Equally shared parenting can be tricky to figure out, but once you do it, it can make a big difference in the happiness of your entire family. It can reduce stress and guilt while creating a peaceful life with more time for fun.