A few days after I met her, at my friend Pam’s 60th birthday party, I got an e-mail from Amy, who, with her husband, Marc, runs Equally Shared Parenting, a website that offers encouragement to and shares resources with parents who “have made (or wish to make) a conscious decision to share equally in the raising of their children, household chores, breadwinning, and time for recreation.” At the party, Jimmy and I had talked to Amy and Marc about our travails in this sphere.In her e-mail, Amy wrote “We enjoyed talking with you, and remember that you felt you were just about equal in the raising of your children,” and invited us to write an essay for their site.
And then I fretted for a day or two. Could I portray our life with children honestly, showing our ongoing yet imperfect attempts to share the work and the rewards, and still fit into the model that Amy and Marc’s project promotes?
I kept returning to that phrase “just about equal” from the e-mail invitation. That became a kind of mantra as I was writing. Those are three truthful words that describe both the shortcomings and the achievements of Jimmy and me as parents. And, even though I shaped the piece around one particular aspect of parenting, the emotional one, those three words — given to me, really, by the editor — motivated my work on the draft and revisions.
ESP published “Family Dance Party” in July.