Do You Need A Scorecard To Be An Equal Parent?

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Photo courtesy of Kristy Davies.

By Manvi Pant. When I was getting married, my father took me into his arms and gave me a piece of advice.
“A marriage requires 100% flexibility,” he said. “And remember: 90% of it comes from the wife. You should be prepared to adjust the most.”
I smiled. I couldn’t fault him for thinking this. For generations, people have lived this way. But it is not my way.
When he left the room, I said under my breath, “Dad, we are going to make it work… together!”
Equal parenting: a call for real equality
Equal parenting. Does it mean tabulating every minute spent on household responsibilities and comparing results? Fortunately not.
It is the expectation of a balanced partnership. A partnership that is grounded in sharing. No need for a scorecard!
Today, many men understand this. They contribute more than their own fathers did. My husband is a good example: he pays great attention to daily chores.
Companies are making it easier, too, with gender-neutral parental leave policies quickly becoming the new standard. Certainly, the attitude that women should manage it all because “they are better at it” is changing.
We need to build on this cultural shift.
As Forbes contributor Bryce Covert puts out, “Only by making a shift to a society in which men are expected and encouraged to spend time raising children will women begin to see real equality.”
No more men as “breadwinners” and women as “caregivers.” We need a business culture that acknowledges and enables equality.
Equal parenting is about achieving an effective balance
If done conscientiously and compassionately, equal parenting isn’t just beneficial for your relationship with your partner; it paves the way for your children to learn from your example.
Men need to be present early and often. Studies have shown strong evidence that kids with involved fathers are more confident, less violent, and more resilient.
An environment where shared responsibility is demonstrated on a regular basis has a huge impact on kids. They soak up cues from their environment and there is no better school than home. Hence, a balanced partnership between parents fosters self-assurance and leadership skills. Your children will internalize the ways that you and your partner model support and respect for one another.
Sharing the load
Pitching in here and there doesn't cut it. Studies have shown that men tend to overestimate the amount of unpaid work they do. Let's put it this way: if we asked right now, would your partner agree that you share household tasks fairly? If not, you should have a conversation about how to take on more responsibility.

Sarah, who is head of a consulting firm, once told me, “It was our first year together. I remember being loaded down with work. When I reached home at 10 at night, I was ready to crash. So you can imagine how I felt when I heard: ‘The food is ready. Just cleaning up!’ It was my husband. We’ve been together for years now, we have two beautiful daughters, and he still never fails to surprise me—rather, all of us.”

With all that needs to be done to support a family, equal parenting will always be hard to define. It isn’t a simple 50/50 split. But as challenging as it is, equal parenting is about growing with your children and your partner.

d8a11676c36532306c60e9bc9abf8387-huge-10Manvi Pant is a CRM professional at A.T. Kearney, a guest contributor at ‘Women to Watch,’ an avid writer, a voracious reader, high on creativity and involves herself in pursuits like photography and DIY decorations. Most of her pictures throw light on abstract subjects, people and nature. She appreciates art and follows Frida Kahlo’s paintings and writings a lot.

Posted by Jared Cline on May 10, 2016 11:18 AM America/New_York

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Business case
Mentoring and sponsorship
Paternity leave and fatherhood
Masculinity and gender
Actions to take