ABOUT THIS BOOK
The best way to have it all--both a full family life and a career--is to halve it all. That's the message of Francine Deutsch's refreshing and humane book, based on extensive interviews with a wide range of couples. Deutsch casts a skeptical eye on the grim story of inequality that has been told since women found themselves working a second shift at home. She brings good news: equality based on shared parenting is possible, and it is emerging all around us. Some white-collar fathers achieve as well as talk about equality, and some blue-collar parents work alternate shifts to ensure that one parent can always be with the children.
Using vivid quotations from her interviews, Deutsch tells the story of couples who share parenting equally, and some who don't. The differences between the groups are not in politics, education, or class, but in the way they negotiate the large and small issues--from whose paid job is "important" to who applies the sunscreen. With the majority of mothers in the workforce, parents today have to find ways of sharing the work at home. Rigid ideas of "good mothers" and "good fathers," Deutsch argues, can be transformed into a more flexible reality: the good parent.
Halving It All takes the discussion beyond shrill ideological arguments about working mothers and absent fathers. Deutsch shows how, with the best of intentions, people perpetuate inequalities and injustices on the home front, but also, and more important, how they can devise more equal arrangements, out of explicit principles, or simply out of fairness and love.
Deutsch interviewed 150 dual-earner couples to see how they divvied up child rearing. What she discovered is encouraging. Couples who want to share parenting fifty-fifty can find ways to do so...Deutsch offers a menu of new templates for parenting, forged by couples in her study who fought for equality and won unexpected rewards in the balance."
-- Megan Rutherford Time
Deutsch's book is a clear and striking example of the importance of qualitative analysis. Through a series of extensive interviews with parents, Deutsch provides us with poignant and honest narratives of parents struggling with how to make equality happen in their daily lives. Each of the eleven chapters relies on interviews to both elucidate and clarify, but it is also these interviews that engage the reader from start to end and allow for a glimpse into the hearts and psyches of the parents.
-- Patricia Owen-Smith National Women's Studies Association Journal
Ten years after delving into the lives of 150 middle class and blue-collar couples, Deutsch has written a book that shatters some popular myths. Halving It All examines various ways couples in the study chose to handle work, parenting, and home.
-- Diane E. Lewis Boston Sunday Globe
Deutsch interviewed 150 dual-earner couples, and using real-people examples, shows how equality can exist without magic. By making rational choices, defining and dividing family work, and through a little unbiased negotiating, families can come together as a team instead of fighting it out in an imaginary ring.
-- New York Daily News
I wanted a book on marriage development. I wanted something that said: Yes, a guy who can't boil water can share child care. Now there finally is such a book, though it's not one of those cheery tomes that says how wonderful it is to share domestic tasks with your husband. Halving It All is about being in the trenches with your spouse. It's about the day-in-day-out negotiation that goes into sharing child care, the challenges and benefits of such arrangements, and why so many couples who set out to parent equally fail to do so...Halving It All is a breath of fresh air and, for a snoop like myself who is interested in other peoples' marriages, great reading.
-- Jennifer Bingham Hull, Salon Online
Using vivid quotations from interviews, Francine Deutsch's new book Halving it All tells how many couples of all economic backgrounds and political viewpoints have found ways to divide household labor equally.
-- Carolyn Krouse Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly
Deutsch's book is an interesting, detailed analysis of couples who share work and family responsibilities, the troubles they encounter in reaching and maintaining this balance, and the steps they've taken to overcome those troubles. Two particular strengths of this book are that Deutsch's sample consists of people from many different occupational levels and backgrounds and, unlike many qualitative studies, her work includes an analysis of parents who do not equally share work and family responsibilities...This is a very well written, methodologically strong, yet readable analysis of a very real social issue today: equal parenting.
-- L. Wolfer Choice
Here we have a refreshing and stimulating change from the many books which bemoan the unequal division of labour in male and female parenting, breadwinning and home-managing. Deutsch, an American professor of psychology, decided to look on the brighter side, search out couples who had actively chosen equally shared parenting and struggled to make it work, and see what, if any, universal lessons could be learned from their varied experiences...Deutsch makes a strong case that we all have more choice than we think....If you have clients dissatisfied with the pattern their parenting takes but say, 'We can't change things because...' (or if you have ever resigned yourself to the status quo with such a thought), this book could open up some liberating possibilities.
-- Mica Rowanson The Therapist
This well-constructed text is the result of an equally well-constructed research project funded by the National Science Foundation...Anyone interested in family life will be fascinated with the stories of how families work out the division of labor at home.
-- Mary Katherine O'Connor Science Books and Films
If 'having it all'--ie work and motherhood--has lost its appeal, take heart from Francine Deutsch's book. It's about couples who share everything--from the school run to cleaning the hamster's cage.
Even in these supposedly liberated times, very few couples--even when both work full-time outside the home--share equally in the care of their children. Deutsch set out to study those anomalous few who do so, in order to discover how 'our models for tomorrow' make equal parenting (and by extension, equal cooking, cleaning and laundering) work...[Deutsch] makes some profound observations on modern family life and sounds a ringing cry for making changes.
-- Publishers Weekly
For many years, we treated the frantic juggling of dual-career couples as simply the consequence of their personal choices. But the realities of today's economy have made dual careers essential, not optional, for virtually all families. Halving it All is an essential guidebook for the world of shared parenting we all find ourselves in now. A must read.
-- Pat Schroeder, United States Congresswoman, Colorado, 1972-1996
A pioneering account of gender equality in America today--when it works, when it doesn't, and how to make the difference. Must reading for anyone who is trying to share parenting equally. I couldn't put it down.
-- Juliet Schor, author of The Overworked American
Deutsch's beautifully crafted book sweeps the reader along, making clear to expert and novice alike the findings of her important and rigorous study of current parenting. Her demonstration of how ordinary mothers and fathers can and do share equally their parenting duties is bound to exert a profound influence on conversations about childcare and about gender relations throughout the classrooms, the living rooms, and the boardrooms of contemporary America.
-- Faye J. Crosby, Professor of Psychology, University of California, Santa Cruz, author of Juggling: The Unexpected Advantages of Balancing Career and Home for Women and Their Families