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I appreciate your response & reflection on your own family.

I think a lot of the point of the article and my post was that a lot of these “choices” about relationship dynamics and roles is less true choice and more a consequence of our culture. Most choices are like that — we’re primed towards certain paths because of a mixture of preference and expectation and what we’ve observed our whole lives.

Perhaps you had that awareness and appreciation of your mother’s work your whole life, or maybe you grew into it as you became an adult and then a partner.

It’s not that I didn’t appreciate my mom growing up — I saw the work she did at home & at her job and was both proud of and appreciative of her. But looking back now, I can see how I expected more of her and took more of her work for granted because she was the mother.

We learn a lot from society, so even though my parents tried to make things equal & appreciated each other and taught us to too — even and especially after their divorce — we were still influenced by tv, movies, media, and other families to understand what moms and dads did (and didn’t do).

My parents always made an effort to speak well of the other’s parenting efforts and admirable qualities. They recognized how much that mattered & how much we’d absorb their perspectives about the other parent.

I would say my parents tried far more than average to have a fair partnership, even when separated, and they both hold pretty liberal views of women (likely even more so after having two daughters).

Which is why I tried to take a more honest and critical look back at their roles and dynamic — because in spite of all of their open-mindedness and efforts towards equality, I can recognize that it probably wasn’t actually as fair as they wanted it to be. It’s very hard to escape cultural and societal expectations.

As the article references, even when couples believe they have an equal distribution of work, it often is lopsided on the part of the mother doing more. But we (parents, children, society) tend not to notice it because it is so entrenched in our understanding of gender roles and family dynamics.

Study after study shows that, among heterosexual parents, fathers — even the youngest and most theoretically progressive among them — do not partake generously of the workload at home. Employed women partnered with employed men carry 65 percent of the family’s child-care responsibilities, a figure that has held steady since the turn of the century.
Empirical research shows that no domestic arrangement, not even one in which the mother works full time and the father is unemployed, results in child-care parity between heterosexual spouses.

I highly recommend the full article I was responding to: