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Equally Shared Parenting: Rewriting the Rules for a New Generation of Parents Hardcover – January 5, 2010
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"The Vachons are the leading edge of true social change."
-Laura Vanderkam, "The Huffington Post"
"Kids become whole people when they're raised by whole people-the Vachons show us how."
-Gloria Steinem --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
Marc and Amy Vachon are the founders of equallysharedparenting.com, the first dedicated resource for egalitarian parenting from the perspective of both genders. Amy is a clinical pharmacist in a management role and Marc is an information technology specialist. REVIEW:
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The book is a practical guide to how real families have found a way to find equality and balance by first arriving at the conclusions that both parents are "fully capable in all family roles" and "both parents deserve to be full partners, and to have a full partner." ESP is not about score keeping or getting your partner to do more work, but instead consciously recognizing that you want balance and equality in your life and you want balance and equality for your partner. The authors use real couples, including themselves, to illuminate the ESP lifestyle, identify some common mistakes, and suggest some rules to follow if you decide to pursue this model.
Obviously, this would be a hard pill for some couples to swallow. Can Dad really give up control of what goes in Junior's lunch box every day? Can Mom cut back on hours at work to spend more time taking the kids to soccer practice? Yes, this means that career paths might get altered. Yes, this means that partners would need to do things they wouldn't normally do. And yes, this means that tasks might be completed in a different way than usual. And yes, most certainly, couples would need to communicate a lot to make this work.
I actually think that this could be a terrific model for families with at-home Dads and breadwinning Moms. These Dads are used to being active in the childraising and housework domains (and have most likely earned some bread at some point), and these Moms are certainly active in the breadwinning, housework, and childraising domains already. And all of us would like a little more time for ourselves.
Certainly something to think about as we consider, what's next. The book is a very practical guide to the in's and out's of this lifestyle and certainly something to add to your parenting bookshelf. Without a doubt, there is something for every couple to take away, even if they decide that the ESP model is not right for their family.
Disclaimer - I am the Michelle of "Michelle and Jim" in Chapter 2. However, that's as far as my interest goes in writing a rave review. Well, that and the fact that Amy and Marc are exceptionally warm and generous people - though I've never met them in person. I am very proud to be a part of this book and I certainly wouldn't be writing this review for all to see if I wasn't thrilled with the outcome. Amy and Marc have done an excellent job, in my opinion, of representing the Equally Shared Parenting lifestyle, in all of it's goodness and imperfection.
I would never try to convince a couple to choose ESP if they didn't both have the desire to equally share time with kids, family financial contribution, personal time and house care. It simply doesn't work that way - through coersion and persuasion. But if you and your partner have any remote desire to explore the Equally Shared Parenting lifestyle I whole-heartedly, with great passion, encourage you to go for it. It is SO possible! And the best start to that venture is getting this book. You will surely find stories, ideas and models here that you can apply to your own life. Seriously - just get the book and see.
I recommend this book to any couple who has ever wished they had more quality family time, or more time for their friends or their hobbies, more intimacy with their partner, or even to anyone who isn't married yet. The seeds of this lifestyle choice can start well before thinking about having children: how and who you date, your performance at work, your choice of occupation, etc. I'm going to give it also, to my friends who aren't sure if they want kids, because they deserve to know that there is an alternative to giving up their lives, their "self", and becoming the over-worked, exhausted, and/or bored mommy.
Who I wouldn't recommend this book to: couples who are totally and fully satisfied in their traditional roles...unless of course, you are just curious about this relatively new way of life, so that you are knowledgeable of the parents you will encounter who practice ESP, because undoubtedly, after word about this book spreads, there will be more and more around.