Though Women’s Equality Day happens once a year, here at Superkin, we’re always thinking about how gender equality manifests in family life. Here are 5 key takeaways for modern parents this Women’s Equality Day and every day. Read more about the history here.
Pursue equity, not equality.
First, a minor edit: instead of equality, let’s pursue equity. Why? Equality treats everyone the same regardless of need. Equity treats everyone FAIRLY based on their individual needs. Before you split household tasks down the middle 50/50, acknowledge that each parent might have different contributions and constraints that allow them to do more or less at any given time. The demands of family life don’t have to be equal—but they should feel fair.
It’s not my way or the highway.
Do you inadvertently get stuck with the lion’s share of caretaking, demanding they be done “your way or no way”? This is incredibly common, because let’s face it, you’re already battling a bunch of antiquated values that, like it or not, are stuck in the subconscious of WAY too many people in our lives. The key is accepting that your co-parent WILL do things differently, AND THAT’S OK. Each of us soothes, bottle feeds, or changes diapers in our own way. And by the way, allowing kids to see adults with different approaches but similar results is good preparation for the diversity of the real world. And DO take comfort in the fact that everything is a phase: today you may be the preferred parent (ahem, if you’re reading this, it’s probably you.) but tomorrow that could all change.
Talk to your partner.
Here’s how we navigate “the talk” with our partners… and no, it’s not the birds and the bees. At some point in the future (ahem, preschool medical forms and camp applications) you may have the sneaking suspicion you’re taking on more of the mind-numbing labor that comes with running a household. What can you do? We swear by Eve Rodsky’s book Fair Play for it’s healthy, no-BS approach on divvying up the unpaid, invisible labor in a household.
Build a diverse bookshelf.
Books develop and nourish kids’ imaginations, expanding their worlds. So choosing a diverse set of books and stories is one of the most important things we can do to instill our values in our kids. Grab some awesome kids books with characters doing cool sh*t. We love Mae Among the Stars (the true story of astronaut Mae Jemison), The Curious Garden (a young man nurtures a garden), Peanut Goes For The Gold (Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness authored this book about a non binary young gymnast), and Sofia Valdez, Future Prez (a story about a young woman with a vision). Parental Bonus: these books are well written and beautifully illustrated!
Take advantage of paternity leave.
Parental leave policies are changing for the better— but did you know that almost 40% of men don’t take the full leave that is offered to them? In order to smash the narrative that moms are the “primary caretaker” we need dads to get in on the action, too. If you’ve got expectant fathers in your professional or personal network, share with them that taking longer leave can lead to better long term engagement in development and caretaking, as well as help a spouse’s career (and the family finances). A recent McKinsey survey quoted one dad as saying , “It’s not just about getting to know your kids at a crucial age but also about committing to a fairer relationship.”