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What 50/50 Parenting Looks Like at My House

“What 50/50 Parenting Looks Like at My House” by Eliana Osborn originally appeared on Ravishly, a feminist news + culture website.

Image Source: Thinkstock
Image Source: Thinkstock

Until I stopped working full time when I had a kid, I didn’t really do the dishes. Ever. For basically six years. Once I was home more, doing that baby thing, and working just a dozen hours a week, the guilt built up and I started doing that most dreaded of chores.

I tell you this to explain the somewhat unusual way our egalitarian household works. It suits us well, though I’m sure there are flaws and we’re ruining our kids in some way we won’t realize ’til they are in therapy and living in our basement at 47. (I don’t have a basement, in case you were wondering.)

I’d call our parenting arrangement “sequential.”

I do the day-to-day life. We take weekend turns. He does vacations and summers. Literally. He takes them away. It is great.

See, my man is a teacher. I teach at night, so we tag-team when he gets home. I write while the small ones are at school. I don’t do bedtime, even if I am around. We don’t necessarily co-parent, which maybe we should. But we don’t.

I hear all the time how amazing it is that my husband takes the kids camping, takes them to Idaho, and deals with them all summer. It is good for the kids, of course. But it is also his turn. I take the lead nine months of the year, he for the other three.

I guess that isn’t 50/50. But with breaks and weekends, it pretty much adds up that way.

The problem: by April and May, I’m ready for change. Coincidentally, these are also the months when my husband is ready for change, too. We are not our best selves in May. Don’t come visit us then. Trust me.

The takeaway: Every family is different. Why do we keep forgetting that? My sister? With a husband and two kids? The way they do things would kill me, but it works for them. Same with pretty much everyone else I know.

Family time is a huge deal to me. And my husband. We don’t earn lots of money. It is definitely a tradeoff, but one we’ve made with eyes wide open. Same with being equally yoked in this thing. Times will probably change, because that is what life does. But for now, distinct turn-taking is how we roll.

So if you see me this summer and marvel that I’m alone, don’t give me a hard time. You can be jealous. You can reevaluate the choices you’ve made in your relationships. But I’m still a good mom. It just isn’t my turn. Someone else is being the lead parent. It’s the only way I keep sane.

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