Equally Shared Parenting - Half the Work ... All the Fun

Equal Sharing of Housework:
Benefits and Challenges

 American culture decided long ago that – in traditional families, at least - Mom is in charge of the home, and Dad is either exempt from homemaking or relegated to a ‘helper’ role.  But does it have to be this way? We believe that any couple can divide household tasks in a way that is equitable and rewarding for both partners.

When each spouse truly owns 50% of the housework, life feels fair to both partners and both feel great about their abilities.  Both parents tackle the work, learn to get good at each chore, and appreciate all efforts.   

Equal sharing also puts you on equal footing in your own home and this sets the scene for intimacy.  Couples who are intimate emotionally and mentally are likely to be sexually intimate too.  At the end of the day, you are lying next to the person who knows how everything works at home and who does everything alongside you.  How great is that?!  More than enough to get you in the mood....

Most women naturally set the standards for housework in the family, determining the way laundry is to be done, which brand of ketchup to buy, and how to correctly vacuum all surfaces.  This status quo doesn’t work with equal sharing.  A woman’s mantra must become ‘I will let go.'   And a man who is committed to equal sharing must stand up for his rights from time to time by gently (or even strongly) sidestepping unwanted advice. 

Equal sharing challenges couples to choose the team approach rather than the specialist method.  When you equally share housework, you get to be a jack of all trades.  So does your spouse.  But, wouldn’t it be far more efficient if one of you (read: Mom) just did all the general housework?  That way, the chosen maid would get really good at her job, do it with lightning speed and accuracy, and everyone would be happy, right?  Actually, there may be some truth to this argument and it is possibly why many couples do not equally share. 

Finally, when you equally share household chores, both partners give up any excuses for incompetence in household chores.  This is one reason why equal sharing only fully works when both parents are ready for it.

Choosing equal sharing
We hope to have shed some light on the benefits and challenges to equally sharing the household chores.  The benefits may initially seem strongest for women (or the partner who would normally do the largest share of the tasks), but in reality are equally valid for men.  In the end, by choosing equal sharing, you get happy, intimate partners who value each other and take pride in their own competence.

©Copyright 2008 Marc and Amy Vachon

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