Information and Resources on Gender Equality and Gender Research in Norway

Sharing time
(02.04.2009)
Many families bend the arguments to make them fit their situation (that’s what they say and maybe even believe to be true) but in reality they twist and turn the arguments to make it fit a tradition. When the father earns more the family can´t afford to have him stay at home with the kid. But when the mother earns more she gets to stay at home, because she gets such good maternity leave benefits, based on her good salary. How logical does that seem?
Then there is the constant subject of breastfeeding. At all costs the kid must be breastfed. But even in families where the mother, for some reason, can´t breastfeed, she gets to stay at home, in most cases. Where are the arguments to why the dad isn´t home then? The child needs love and affection and gets a better immune system from the breast milk. But the important substances are in the milk, regardless of whether it is given from the breast or from a bottle, and also a father can offer love and affection. And why must it be all or nothing? The baby doesn´t just eat on working hours, so even if the mother works she can, most likely, breastfeed one or two meals anyway.
It is not impossible that there are some positive effects of having a present father either. Maybe so positive, that they could weigh up for one or two missed meals from the breast.
Moreover I think the mother and the father have so much to gain, in their relationship, from sharing the time with the kid. The mother (mostly) gets to know what it feels like to be left outside, and just being able to see the baby a little while in the evening, when it´s got its “crying hour". But also how lovely it can be not having to be with you child twenty four hours a day. The dad (mostly) gets to know how fantastic it can be to have your own time with the kid and get a close relation to it. But also how incredibly exhausting it can be to alone be responsible for a child.
There are a thousand solutions, but the most important thing is to really think through why you do things the way you do. So that you don´t just do it the way you have always done.

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