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Why Parents Need to Have Equal Responsibilities

If Your Partner Doesn't Split Responsibilities Evenly, They're Not a Good Partner OR Parent

It seems like you can't look at the internet these days without seeing an overworked and stressed-out mom bemoaning that they wish their partners did more. It's not just the housework (although that's certainly part of it), because when you're a parent, you have a whole new set of responsibilities to worry about. If you have a full-time job, you also have a second full-time job of keeping humans alive. Then there's the doctor's appointments, the schedules, the feedings, the diaper changes, etc. It also continues to increase and pile up as kids get older.

Despite the fact that this is clearly too much for any one person to do on their own, women in heterosexual relationships typically get burdened with most of the tasks. Anyone who's OK with their partner doing all (or a majority) of these things is not a good partner, and they're not a good parent, either. At best, they're inadequate at meeting the needs of the family. And who wants to be with a bare-minimum partner and parent?

Being a good parent is about more than a pat on the head before the kids go to bed. If both parents are home, they should both be present in the care and maintenance of the house and family.

Equitable division of labor in couples has certainly gotten better over the years, but things are still far from perfect. Married women report more stress than other groups, and with frequent stories of husbands stealing sleep on the weekend and mothers having to beg for help, it's easy to see why. This is unacceptable.

Stop giving people a pass for inattentive behavior. When I refer to equitable division of labor, it doesn't mean that all chores are perfectly doled out. Having to work long hours and an individual's skill set mean that to properly maintain a house, everyone has to individually pull their own weight to the best of their ability. My husband has never cleaned the bathroom, and that's OK because I sure as hell am not going to clean the oven or cook dinner on a regular basis. That's his domain, and it works for us. We each pull our weight evenly even though we're doing different tasks. This applies to caring for children, too.

Being a good parent is about more than a pat on the head and a kiss before the kids head off to bed. If both parents are home, they should both be present in the care and maintenance of the house and family. That means changing diapers, preparing bottles, packing lunches, getting up in the middle of the night, and every other task children and babies throw at you. Being a good parent means that sleep will be compromised so that each person gets a chance to catch up, and it also means that a mom shouldn't have to ask for help for something that should be obvious.

If children witness both of their parents performing in non-traditional ways, it's more likely that the next generation will feel safe in assuming those roles as well. Caring for children and maintaining the house should be equitable since marriage is about a partnership, and no one should feel stress because their spouse isn't pulling their weight.

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