All members of a family as well as the society in general, benefit from gender equality. The more people who have the same conditions for living a good life, the better. In Sweden, we have come a long way when it comes to gender equality. But much remains to be achieved.
Not least when people become parents. Many fall into old patterns or patterns that have always been there become visible. But you can do something about it!
1. Share the parental leave
This is where the foundation is laid. In everyday life, you are building a relationship with your child. It’s like any other relationship – they require attendance and time and they are built by sharing experiences with each other. When you change diapers, feed, get dressed, wash, learn new things, do new things, discover the world together.
That’s when you get to know each other and build your understanding of each other. Begin to trust each other.
If only one partner stays at home with the child, then he or she will be (usually the mother!) the one who cares for the child, the one who becomes the security that the child turns to – no matter what it is. And imbalance begins to occur. It becomes increasingly difficult for the other partner to do things, and he or she becomes more and more as an outsider. Which makes the parenthood boring. As always, being a parent is more fun when you are really engaged in it.
Some countries like Sweden, have good parental leave options for both parents. If you have the opportunity, take advantage of it.
2. Me Time
Take an evening/morning or what you think is appropriate during the week for me-time. Do something on your own, outside the home. Exercise, go to the movies, meet friends, ride a bike, sit and read at a bar, whatever you think is fun and you like to do on your own. Find a balance so that both you and your partner get the same amount of me-time.
3. Work part-time
If you can, work both part-time and be more with your or child or children. Less money but more time for the family. It can really be worth it. And a great way to create balance in the relationship.
Discuss thoroughly and agree on the framework for your life and relationship before you have children. What expectations do you have, what do you want to keep doing, how do you share chores, who does what and when, and so on. Have a proper meeting and talk through what you think and feel. Listen to your partner and be prepared to stand up for each other.
5. Take a look at yourselves
Go over and discuss you and your partner’s experience of how family life looks and who does what. Do research and discuss what you can do better and how you can reach gender equality in the parenthood.