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Getting to 50/50

How Working Parents Can Have it All

By Sharon Meers and Joanna Strober
  • Read in 16 minutes
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  • Contains 10 key ideas
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Getting to 50/50 by Sharon Meers and Joanna Strober

Getting to 50/50 (2009) exposes the myths surrounding traditional male and female parental roles and provides actionable techniques that allow both mothers and fathers to be independent earners, enjoy quality time with their children and share responsibilities in the household.

Key idea 1 of 10

Childcare doesn’t hurt your family – it can help you spend more quality time with your children.

Remember Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins, flying into the Banks’ home, making everything prim, proper and perfect? All parents wish they could have that ability, but more than ever, families are struggling to find the best way to care for their home and children. Many rely on childcare, and fear accusations that they’re lazy or bad parents.

Some parents even believe that childcare can hurt their children’s development. But contrary to what you may have been told, childcare on a part-time basis does no harm to the well-being of your children.

In fact, 15 years of research carried out by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development revealed no difference in emotional well-being between children who spent all their time under their parent’s supervision, and children who spent part of their time in childcare. It’s the proportion of time that matters. So if you overdo it with childcare, it may have unfavorable effects on your children, such as an increase in tantrums.

But seeking out extra help should never make you feel like an inattentive parent. Actually, today’s children generally aren’t attention-deprived. Sociologist Suzanne Bianchi from the University of Maryland found that mothers and fathers spent more time with their children in 2000 than they did in 1965.

Also, don’t forget that the quality of your parenting time outweighs the quantity of it.

Mothers who stay at home don’t spend much more time interacting actively with their children than mothers who work outside of the home. A Texas University study showed that mothers who worked outside the home shared only 20 percent less social activity with their children than stay-at-home mothers.

Stay-at-home mothers sometimes don’t appreciate the extra time they have with their children, whereas working mothers tend to cherish the bedtime stories and bathtime they can share.

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