In our home both Mom and Dad have to work full-time to pay the bills, and this is likely a matter of fact for most households with children. But what happens when Mom gets a call from the school that Susie has a fever and needs to be picked up? Mom has a full day of clients scheduled at work, so she calls Dad to ask if he can pick Susie up instead and suddenly you are arguing about whose job is more important and who should be taking time off work to care for the sick child. Dad argues it should be Mom every time and feels justified because his employer doesn’t seem to be as lenient or forgiving when it comes to taking time off because of childcare issues. Is that fair? Not at all. But this unfairness, too often, seems to be a matter of fact for most working parents.
Equality at work is one thing but equality at home is something completely different…………
It is hard to accept this reality but arguing is also hard. If half as much energy spent arguing is redirected to focus on a solution, fair and sensible compromises can be reached. What does that look like exactly? Well, maybe something like this –
It would be a lot “easier” for Dad to take care of Susie today because he could finish his report at home, while Mom would have to reschedule 5 clients if she were to leave work. What if Dad isn’t being difficult but he has to stay because his boss announced mandatory overtime? Well then, of course Mom goes. What if it’s chicken pox and Dad had it as a kid, but Mom was never exposed? Dad’s up!
Whether Mom and Dad are married or not, parenting and caring for Susie is not a hierarchy or a competition.
Marriage, parenting, and co-parenting are about teamwork and compromise, a partnership in every sense-including caring for your child/ren in sickness and in health. My advice for those who cannot or will not reach a compromise is quite simple. You just have to alternate regardless of what is going on at work. If it was Mom last time, Dad, it doesn’t matter if you have to cancel a business trip, it’s your turn! Because at the end of the day you are Susie’s Dad and she needs you too.