4 barriers to equal parenting - and how to overcome them
Equal parenting is no longer a foreign concept and most people understand the importance of sharing the parenting load. Research shows that couples who co-parent are more likely to find the initial toddler years easier. Also, equal parenting is proven to have several benefits for the entire family. It often leads to better family relationships, happier and less stressed parents and stronger attachment bonds to the baby.
Now it's common for parents-to-be are aware of this. And whilst talking and planning how to equally share tasks within the household is one thing. It's usually easier said than done when when it comes to putting it in practice. Meaning many fall into old patterns or patterns that have always been there become more visible. But you can do something about it!
Below we list 4 barriers to equal parenting - and how to overcome them.
1. The gender divide begins from day one
The gender gap tends to become apparent at the beginning of pregnancy and then continues all the way to the first months of parenting. The dad or partner might have to take time off just to join prenatal visits. And the mother (who has given birth) is typically the one who stays at home those initial months. Of course, this is within good reason as they are recovering from giving birth and from carrying a baby for nine months.
Overcoming the gap: Try to be flexible with your working hours. If you can, work part-time, work from home or take some time off. And remember, one day off is better than none. Talk to your spouse, plan and prioritize together. This way you can make sure that you don't miss those important moments. Trust us, it will be worth it in the long run.
2. The constant conflict between work, money and life
There's a huge difference still in the expectations of men and women when it comes to work and careers. Men will continue to be a more obvious choice to hire as they require less time away from work. Additionally, they will have higher pay as their career is uninterrupted by parental leave. Also, women still have 20% less salary than men.
Overcoming the gap: Share the parental leave. Some countries have good options for both parents. If you have the opportunity, take advantage of it. We know that it probably will lead to a sacrifice in salary, tough decisions and maybe even some hard discussions with the boss. However, it's not only important to make things better for you and your family. It's important for society as a whole.
3. Mom-shaming, old habits and stereotypes
We still regularly meet old societal norms and stereotypes. Lack of changing tables in men's restrooms. Marketing of baby products to moms and not dads. Mom-shaming, dull comments and old, dusty expectations about how parenting should be done. All of these are barriers to equal parenting.
Overcoming the gap: Do parenting your way. You should not have to live up to anyone else’s expectations of parenting. However, remember the pressure can be both ways. That the mother should be home to breastfeed or the pressure to share everything equally. Talk and discuss what kind of parents you want to be and work as a team. Rethink the roles within the family and try to distribute the chores, duties and responsibility. A checklist might come in handy. Find a way that suits you, not everyone else.
4. The hard transition into fatherhood
Research shows that fathers crave more guidance and support through their transition into fatherhood. Yet, this isn't readily available. Subsequently, this sends a clear message to new parents from the start: Fathers don't need to learn how to do it, because they won't be the primary parents. The mother is usually the one who breastfeeds and cares for the child during the initial months. Meaning they become the security that the child turns to – no matter what it is.
Overcoming the gap: Try babywearing. A baby carrier is a great way for the partner to take part in the parenting from the very start. It triggers those caring instincts and creates a bond with the newborn. A study from 2016 shows that dads who carried their babies became more sensitive, loving, felt more secure and showed more engagement in parenting. And most importantly, it increased the bond between the dad and the baby.
Baby carriers for both parents
Najell’s goal is to make it easier for parents to continue living their own life after becoming parents. We want to encourage parents to share the responsibility and help each other be able to have their own time and own life. Encouraging equality in the relationship, household and parenting role.
We have designed the Najell Original Baby Carrier so there are no buckles in the back that are hard to reach. With the magnetic buckle and one-hand-fasting, you can insert your baby easily and still attend your baby. The padded waist belt and shoulder pads make it comfortable to carry for a longer period of time and easy to adjust to different sizes and body types.