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Here's how to achieve 50-50 parenting
By Sandra Beckwith

Just watch “Desperate Housewives” to see why many women complain that they do more of the parenting than men do. Some say that fathers only do the “fun” jobs – going to the park, sledding, playing games – while others say their husbands are skilled at avoiding the dirty jobs, like changing messy diapers. The secret to 50-50 parenting is to share the responsibilities from the very beginning. Don’t let either partner feign incompetence – you’re learning this together! Here are some tips for success:

  • Spend equal time with your baby beginning at birth. Take turns feeding your child in the middle of the night, changing diapers, going to the pediatrician’s for check-ups.
  • Schedule regular time alone with your children.
  • Dads: Remind your wife that she should not impose her standards on you when you are with the children.
  • Moms: Chill. They might not do it as well as you do, but at least you’re not in this alone.
  • Don’t rely on your spouse for information about parenting. Read books and articles, talk to others about their experiences.
  • Reduce television viewing and have conversations with your child instead. Put your children to bed; drive them to activities; read to them.
  • Plan regular weekly fun activities.
  • Make a conscious effort to stop assigning the “fun” or “easy” tasks to yourself. Do some of the dirty work, too.
  • Evaluate the amount of time invested in work and other nonparenting activities to determine if it interferes with your ability to be a 50-50 parent. Make changes if necessary.
  • Talk with your parents about their hindsights on parenting.
  • Press for social supports for involved fathers, including parental leave and flexible work hours. Become a role model for others too chicken to stand out in the workplace.

Sandra Beckwith speaks frequently on the lighter side of gender differences and is the author of WHY CAN’T A MAN BE MORE LIKE A WOMAN? Learn more at www.sandrabeckwith.com.