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4 barriers to equal parenting – and how to overcome them

Equal parenting is no longer a foreign concept. Most people know about the importance of sharing the parenting load. Research shows that couples that co-parent are more likely to get through the first toddler years more easily. Also, equal parenting is proved to have several positive effects for the entire family. It often leads to better family relationships, happier and less stressed parents and stronger attachment bonds to the baby.

It’s common that a lot of parents-to-be know about all this. Talking and making plans about how to share everything equally in the household is one thing. However, it’s usually easier said than done when when it comes to the crunch. Many fall into old patterns or patterns that have always been there become visible. But you can do something about it!

Here we list 4 barriers to equal parenting – and how to overcome them.

# 1: The gender divide begins from day one

The gender gap usually become apparent already in the beginning of pregnancy, and continues all the way to the first months of parenting. The dad or partner might even have to take time off to come along to prenatal visits. The mother (who has given birth) is usually the one who stays at home for the first few months, and for a reason. She is 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. In that 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 their work and career. Men will continue to be a more obvious choice to hire as they take less time away from work. 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 can still 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 these becomes barriers for equal parenting.

Overcoming the gap: Do parenting your way. You should not live up to anyone else’s expectations of parenting. 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 about 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 to fatherhood

Research shows that fathers crave more guidance and support through their transition into fatherhood. Yet, this isn’t readily available, which sends a loud and clear message to new parents right from the start: Fathers don’t need to learn how to parent, because they won’t be the primary parents. The mother is usually the one who breastfeeds and cares for the child during the first months. In that way, she becomes the one who is 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 the caring instincts and creates a bond with the newborn. A study from 2016 shows that dads who carried their babies became more sensitive and 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.