Thursday, May 27, 2010

ESP (not the sixth sense kind)

In a post a few days back, I mentioned buying some magazines to support our niece & nephew in their school fundraising efforts. Travel + Leisure came in first, prompting my travel-related post and a trip down vacation memory lane.

I just received the other magazine, Scholastic Parent & Child. I think I will enjoy this subscription. They featured a few unique toys and some cute books that caught my eye (Pink Me Up and the Boochie game, to name one of each). It's always fun to find new gift and play ideas.

One article in this issue really caught my attention.

Titled, Halving It All, the article featured an interview with Amy and Marc Vachon, developers of a parenting philosophy called Equally Shared Parenting, or ESP. This FASCINATED me. It seems like these parents have truly found an ideal balance.

Paraphrased, ESP means both parents share everything equally. They both spend similar amounts of time with work, kid(s), chores, and whatever else may come their way. In this case, Marc and Amy both stepped back at work and they have an equal role in raising their young child. Marc asked for fewer work days and a slightly lower pay grade. Not an easy task for a man these days, where work, money, and moving up that invisible corporate ladder are looked upon as true measures of "success". But you know what? He is happy. His wife is happy. His child is happy. Doesn't that sound phenomenal?

Being intrigued by this idea and actually being able to do it... now that is another story.

There is no question Steve would stay home with Amelia if I had a job that would keep us at the same standard of living we've come to enjoy. He has none of those overly macho "I am the hunter & gatherer" rules. But I don't have a job like that. I've never had a job like that. Positions of that level are definitely available in my world, but they often come with frequent travel and crazy hours. Not something I'm willing to do at this point in time. And giving up my prominent role in the development of this sweet little girl? Hmmm. That is likely not something my control-freak personality would handle very well. Amelia is my job... right?

So, could Steve and I both take mid-range jobs and work out this ESP thing? I don't know... maybe. Maybe, if we moved to a much smaller city where homes & various necessities didn't cost quite as much. Maybe where there was no state income tax. Maybe, if we tried really, really, really hard. Demolishing those traditional gender roles and taking two pay cuts is quite a frightening thought. I'm not sure we're brave enough.

I applaud the Vachon family who figured this out. And I'll keep this article in my mind for a long time.
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