My husband and I are both feminists, and firmly believe that my xx chromosomes don’t make me inherently better at childcare, or housework, any more than his xy chromosomes makes him better in the business world. Sure, we may do things differently, but different is not necessarily better.
We also believe that women are limited in their career paths and in their contributions to the broader world because of the years they spend stepping back to care for children and take care of the household.
When we had kids, we were making the same amount of money at the same company, and neither of us wanted to give up our careers to stay home full time with our kids. In order to not choose his career over mine, and in an attempt to “have it all”, we made some conscious choices to do things a little differently. Some of the big ones were:
- Matt took 3 months of paternity leave, and took them after I returned to work
- When 2 full-time careers at Microsoft proved tough after having a baby, we both reduced our work schedules to part-time schedules
- We try hard to arrange things so that both of us to do half the parenting, half the cooking, half the grocery shopping, half the laundry, etc. We learned that even splitting the labor can be tricky.
At times this has worked incredibly well for us. At others, it’s been more of a struggle. In particular, my decision to quit my job at Microsoft and start my own home-based business shifted the ground underneath both of us in a way that took us completely by surprise. Since I quit 13 years ago we have had to constantly, incessantly try to find the balance that we value so much, in a world that does everything it can to push us into traditional gender roles, and frankly to limit me and pigeon hole me in ways that are frustrating and humbling.
This blog is about how both my husband and I pushed against those gender norms, mostly successfully, and sometimes not. We found resistance in the world around us, and resistance we didn’t expect in our own ideas about what was right, and what was fair. We also found some interesting ways to help us keep the balance we were seeking, and learned some interesting tricks along the way.
We’ve been running our experiment of living by our feminist principles for over 15 years now – our two boys were 15 and 12 at the time I launched this section of my blog. Matt has stayed on a part-time schedule this whole time – first at Microsoft and then at a new company when he changed jobs. I’ve started 2 businesses during this time, and sold one of them so I could focus on the other, also on an part-time schedule.
I’ll continue to post here regularly about how we’ve tried to find balance and have it all. I’d love to hear your stories and reactions too in the comments below!