The Benefits of Shared Care
What’s at stake? Why a shared approach to family is a goal worth reaching for
Although work life balance can be challenging at any stage, it becomes especially challenging with the birth of a new baby. Not only can this change be exhausting for families because of lack of sleep, too often it also unintentionally sets up couples into more traditional roles at home.
Kristin Maschka’s describes this challenge in her book, This is Not How I Thought it Would Be – Redesigning Motherhood. Kristin is one of the many authors who have written about Shared Care.
Below is what Kristin said that she and her husband gained by switching to a shared approach to parenting, and at the end of this post we’ve listed 8 additional books about Shared Care. If you’d like to learn more, contact us, or check out the many resources on our website. We’ve got twelve years of experience you can benefit from.
“I knew what I would lose. I’d lose my marriage - Maybe not literally, but something vital at its core. David and I got married as equals, as best friends, as partners. When we were married, we vowed to “be true to the pursuit of the dreams and goals we both share.” The dream we shared now was of a family life with everyone home for dinner, with time for our relationship with each other. We wanted a family life that would allow us to share the family responsibilities so that we both had time to pursue our own dreams and both had a relationship with Kate. How could we hope to have our marriage stand the test of time if we gave up on that vow to be true to the dreams we both share? I would always carry some level of resentment, and he would always feel some defensiveness. If we gave up on the idea that we could share responsibility for our family, effectively we would be giving up on a core value in our marriage.
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“What would David lose? - I didn’t want David to miss out on the richness of the relationship I had with Kate. A richness that came from putting a cold washcloth on her feverish forehead, from reading and giggling about stories in her bed at night, and, yes, from the times she drove me crazy and I yelled and then said I was sorry and she hugged me anyway. I didn’t want David to find many years later that he didn’t know his own child, had missed her childhood and couldn’t have a meaningful conversation with her. I wanted more for him. So badly it brought me to tears. And I was pretty sure he wanted it too.”
Change the reality don’t change the vision - As Kristin explains, “Whenever people feel the pain of a big gap between current reality and the way we want things to be, there are two options. Change the reality or change the vision. Reality is tougher to change, so the easiest and fastest way to relive pain is to ratchet down our expectations. For example, we tell ourselves mothers are just naturally better at family so it will never change. For a time, we feel better. The painful gap between what we have and what we want is a little less because we’ve decided to want less.” But then she asks, “What have we lost in the process?”
Want to Read More?
The Libra Solution, Shedding Excess and Redefining Success at Work and at Home, Lisa D’Annolfo Levey (2012)
Equally Shared Parenting, Rewriting the Rules for a New Generation of Parents, Marc and Amy Vachon (2011)
This is Not How I Thought It Would Be, Remodeling Motherhood To Get The Lives We Want Today, Kristin Maschka (2009)
Getting to 50-50, How Working Couples Can Have it All by Sharing it All, Sharon Lerner (2009)
Daddy On Board, Parenting Roles for the 21st Century, Dottie Lamm (2007)
How to Avoid The Mommy Trap, A Road Map for Sharing Parenting and Making it Work, Julie Shields (2003)
The Four-Thirds Solution, Solving the Childcare Crisis in America Today, Stanley Greenspan (2002)
Halving it All, How Equally Shared Parenting Works, Francine Deutsch (2000)
Love Between Equals, How Peer Marriage Really Works, Pepper Schwartz (1995)