Share and Share Alike: Can Parenting Ever Be Equal?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Can parenting responsibilities ever be divided truly equitably? If so, do you have to be well-to-do to make it happen? Takeaway contributor and New York Times 'Motherlode' blogger Lisa Belkin talks about equally shared parenting – the benefits, the drawbacks and logistics.

And real-life couple Marc and Amy Vachon – who wrote the new book "Equally Shared Parenting: Rewriting the Rules for a New Generation of Parents" – talk about the joys and frustrations of sharing all the responsiblities that come with running a home and raising a family.


Amy Vachon and Marc Vachon

Produced by:

Kristen Meinzer


Lisa Belkin

Comments [3]


My guess is that male-female parents were spoken of because this was a story about sex differences in parenting. Women are still expected by society to do most of the parenting work, which I thought was the point of the story. How do you explore that disparity with same-sex parenting pairs? (though it would be interesting to look at pairs of, say, a father and stepmother, and see if the stepmother is still expected to do most of the work even though they're not her biological children)

Jan. 15 2010 09:59 AM
Kristen from Medford, MA

On Monday, I wrote this in an email into the show. I just came across this discussion board today, so thought I'd post it here to echo Sue's sentiments.
I am a big fan of your show, which I've listened to every morning on my way to work since it began. I'd like to comment on this morning's family segment on co-parenting. The tagline before the segment asked if parenting responsibilities could be shared equally between a mom and a dad. I know from listening to your show that you present a wide range of views on many topics, and so this comment took me by surprise. How many families out there are run by two moms, two dads, a parent and a grandparent, four parents (mom and stepdad & dad and stepmom, or other combinations)? I realize that the research you presented focused primarily on a "traditional family" model, and I absolutely agree that it is important to discuss gender roles in coparenting relationships, but what I do not understand is why there was no mention of other
types of families. Your choice of language alienated a large segment of our population, including me. I am married to a woman, and we intend to start adding children to our family in a few years. While
our parenting styles will not fall along traditional gender role lines, I am certain that we will encounter many of the same issues as mom-dad headed families.
Please do not mention same-sex families only when you are discussing the controversy of same-sex marriage. My family is just as normal as the next, so when discussing families, I'd really appreciate hearing about more diversity. We as a nation need to expand our definition of family and expand our definition of normalcy, and I think your show has a responsibility to carry on that conversation.
Thank you.

Jan. 13 2010 09:51 AM

I listened to your story this morning about parenting, or most of it since I was getting ready for work. I was struck by the fact that you stuck strictly to male-female parenting pairs in the article and omitted the experiences of same-sex parenting pairs. By not even mentioning same sex couples and the fact that their parenting issues may or may not be similar, you ran the risk of making them invisible. Enough people in the world hear the word "parents" and think only of the traditional male-female couple--not you guys too? Your generic question above ("Can parenting responsibilities ever be divided truly equitably?") and the discussion would have benefited by broadening the discussion to include parenting pairs other than the standard male-female couples. Maybe consider doing a future story on the experiences of same-sex couples who are parenting, too? We all have a lot to learn from each other. Thanks.

Jan. 11 2010 02:10 PM

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