“Getting to 50/50 (2009)” exposes the myths surrounding traditional male and female parental roles and provides actionable techniques that allow both mothers and fathers to be independent earners, enjoy quality time with their children and share responsibilities in the household. It has good intentions, but please take it with a pinch salt, it was written 13 years ago after all. (Full disclosure: I recorded my ideas and tweaked the end result to create this post, audio is at the end of the post!)
I recently tried a new thing called Blinkist, I might create a post later about it. For those who do not know, Blinkist, basically, is a service that creates summary about books, and just give you like the main ideas of it, so you can consume the content faster while still getting the gist of it. And on this post, I’m going to give you an even shorter summary, plus my opinions.
So, the first book that I blinked is called “Getting to 50/50” or, as I would called it, “How to sort of have it all”. This is a book for parents about how to balance work and parenthood as a couple. I would say it is mainly for those families where both parents work.
FYI: I noticed that some remarks across the book, or maybe it is the way Blinkist summarised it, comes a bit strong against Stay-At-Home parents or antagonises the benefits of it.
It is good in some things and has it’s not that great moments on others. There are 9 key ideas, some with good insights and topics of discussions, so let’s get to them.
Key Idea 1: Childcare doesn’t hurt your family – it can help you spend more quality time with your children.
My experience during maternity leave was completely abnormal to others because of COVID. Isabela was meant to start childcare 2 months before I went back to work so I could ease out of motherhood and she got used to be there but, our plans changed and she went only one month before. I ended up loving and longing for the moments she was there while feeling such a huge mom guilt, it was such a bittersweet moment.
Even so, I knew she needed to share with other kids and adults, she is a brilliant kid and learned and grew so much. Every day I saw the benefits of her being there and I am grateful that we have the meanings to pay for it because let’s be honest, childcare is so expensive!
“…don’t forget that the quality of your parenting time outweighs the quantity of it.”
As a working mom, I sometimes get that guilt that I am not with her all the time, we are not sharing precious moments and I am missing it all. We often tend to think that the more you spend with your kids, the better it is, but it’s actually not about quantity but about quality. So make sure that every time that you are spending time with your kids, you’re there, you’re present, you’re really focused on what you’re doing.
Key Idea 3: Working women are healthier and wealthier.
“Stay-at-home moms told the authors that their husbands set budgets for them and supervised their expenditures. Of course, that seriously minimizes independence. Working to earn your own money is a powerful thing, especially with regards to your own specific needs and desires; needs and desires that your husband might not understand your spending money on!
More importantly, though, working and earning your own money is the only path to being financially independent.”
This key idea is one of those I do not agree with the authors. I believe that it doesn’t matter if you are a working parent or stay-at-home, what matter is to set expectations as a couple. I have met a lot of families with a stay-at-home parent that together set up a budget for the house which is meant to be manage by that parent. Sometimes they even set some money aside for the stay-at-home parent personal expenses. And this doesn’t just apply for this situation, you can do something similar when one partner is not working for other reasons. I think that’s the best way because, truth to be told, when you stay at home you are also doing a job. It’s a different job, but a job anyway!
A little bit ago I saw a post on Instagram that says that the stay at home parent working hours should be the same as the working parent, nine to five and then, after five, you are not the default parent anymore, your responsibility of that little human and the house and all the things in your todo list doesn’t fall only on you. The expectation should be that you share the responsibilities from then on even if you’re a stay at home parent. And I really really really like that. What do you think?
Key Idea 4: Myth #1: Mothers are incompetent and want to work less after they have children.
“When women have children, employers often presuppose that new mothers want to cut down to part-time work. As a result, they receive less responsibility, lower status and reduced pay.
Often, instead of confronting their employer, new mothers jump ship and try to get a better job where they can continue to do work they enjoy. But the problem is that by jumping ship, they never confront their boss, and the myth endures.”
Obviously this is a myth. But this really hit a bit too close to home. If you ever find yourself on a position were your competency is being judge after becoming a parent, remember that you have nothing to prove to others, just to yourself. Fight for your pride, for your worth, but not for making others happy. Sometimes you fight this myth and it becomes very difficult to get someone to listen and you need to jump ships in order to protect yourself and that is fine! Some people will never understand the struggles of parenthood and everything that comes with it, the deeper changes that happens to you as a mother or father and it becomes toxic. Know when to give up.
Key Idea 5: Myth #2: In order to be successful, you need to work around the clock.
“It’s not only safer for employees to avoid overworking, it’s also good for a company’s bottom line.”
After COVID, companies definitely got better at not overworking their people. As a manager myself, I always try to protect my team on burnout. If they are overtired, they are less productive and prone to mistakes and I would prefer them to stop, take a break, get themselves back together and then come back with a clear mind. This is something for people that have kids and people that don’t have kids. Don’t overwork it. Just don’t, it’s not worth it.
Key Idea 6: Myth #3: Women and men are treated equally in the workplace.
“…hiring more women isn’t just a short-term solution. Once there are enough women in a position of influence, the system will self-regulate.
Still, inequality is sometimes reinforced by a tendency of women not to stand up for themselves.”
This was a big “ha!”, I really laugh at loud when I heard this key idea because it’s so no true. And this is what makes so difficult to hire women. Companies are working on it and it is making a difference. When I see women representation on positions of influence I feel more compelled to join that company and I am sure others feel the same.
I heard last week during a conference someone saying that, when hiring women in tech, we should consider the soft skills women are better at than the tech skills and my reaction was very strong against this! That is a terrible advice if you take it word by word as it was written in the presentation, if you lower your standards just because of women then you are not being fair in hiring and you could get in trouble. Instead, I would say consider the soft skills, tech skills, willingness to learn and the potential any candidate has.
Key Idea 7: Collaboration between partners is crucial to a fair partnership.
“…women were naturally more nurturing and should therefore be the primary caregivers during the early years of a baby’s life… (sometimes) what appeared to be natural wasn’t always the answer, and that an equal distribution of responsibilities would be healthier for their relationship.”
Key Idea 8: Fight for your maternity leave and make sure you have a job to come back to.
“have a plan before talking to your boss about your pregnancy. Make sure they hear about it directly from you, and do your homework on maternity leave. You should know what you’re entitled to – even if they don’t.”
Key Idea 9: To get to 50/50, both men and women need a lot of support.
“It might drive you crazy if your husband uses a different hold to comfort your screaming baby, for example. Or your blood might boil at the number of wipes he wastes when changing a diaper. But remember, each unsolicited piece of advice you offer can seriously diminish his motivation.
Remember, too, that your way of doing things isn’t the only or best way to do them.”
I will also add that support is not only from each other but others outside the home. As parents, we need to let them help us. We need to not critique the help but take in and be grateful! Take that food your neighbour is offering, let your mother-in-law do the laundry and fold in even if she gets the drawers wrong. You need your village.
“While maternity leave plays a critical role in retaining female employees, showing empathy and patience when the mother returns to work will help her to get resituated. The women the authors talked to said that the first few months of juggling a job and a baby are the toughest, but if the boss is supportive during this time, it makes for a far smoother transition.”
“If you’re a wife and mother, prove that your baby can survive without you by leaving it with your husband! This way, he can demonstrate his capabilities as a caregiver. If you don’t give him a chance to develop a relationship with the baby, you’re in no position to complain when you end up stuck with all the baby duties yourself.”
The Final Summary gives you an action: Leave your baby with your husband for a day and see what happens! I like that, yes, let’s do it, not one day, a whole weekend, trust me, they will survive!
Let me know what you think about it about this format. I’m listening or the prefer reading. Let me know your thoughts. Thank you
Transcribed by https://otter.ai