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Will Dad Ever Do His Share?

   In a provocative article in The New York Times, writer Lisa Belkin delves into the concept of equal parenting with When Mom and Dad Share It All.

    Belkin points out that experts say any way you measure it,  women do about twice as much around the house as men. But there is a movement underway toward marriages where spouses are each equally likely to plan birthday parties or put the children to bed or be the parent who goes along on the school field trip.

      As Kathy Lingle points out on her work-life blog  some call it “shared care”, while Belkin prefers the phrase “equally shared parenting,” but they are both talking about spouses who vigorously attempt to split the tasks of parenting (and housekeeping) precisely down the middle. Each partner doing exactly half of everything.

    Sometimes, though, when a man earns more, he feels he should do less at home. As Lingle notes, gender does seem to exert an inequitable tug on the division of labor at home. Belkin quotes Francine M. Deutsch, a psychology professor at Mount Holyoke and the author of Halving It All: How Equally Shared Parenting Works as saying "the nuances of relationships are complicated, built on foundations that even we may not see until we try to alter them. If your partner’s ambition is what attracted you in the first place and if his/her decision to dilute that ambition would make you think less of him/her, then this is not for you."

    But what happens when you take gender differences out of the equation. To do that, Belkin looked at same-sex couples. She discovered "While straight parents get into the blame game about who is shirking responsibility, lesbian moms bicker about not getting enough time with the kids.'' Belkin discovered lesbian couples have a more equal division of housework and parenting than their heterosexual counterparts.

    What do you think of equally shared parenting? Would it work in your home?