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
- 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.