Not so many years ago, social psychologist Francine Deutsch worried that she could never combine a career and motherhood. Becoming "superwoman"--doing it all--seemed as daunting a scenario as dropping her career altogether. But Deutsch, who is both an optimist and a feminist, was quick to consider the "simple and sensible" question--"Why not equality?" Couldn't a partner help on the home front 50 percent of the time?
Halving It All: How Equally Shared Parenting Works(Harvard University Press), published in April of 1999, was the culmination of a decade's worth of research by Deutsch to answer that question. During those years, Deutsch successfully combined work and family--working as a professor of psychology and education at Mount Holyoke, while she and her husband shared equally in raising their son and in household chores.
Deutsch's study of 150 couples in New England households with children, on which her book is based, has become a popular source of information for progressive parenting in the millennial age. Written in the intelligent but accessible style of the best popular psychology, Halving It Allprovided Deutsch, who has taught at Mount Holyoke since 1981, with a forum for sharing valuable research and insight with a broad constituency of readers.
Balancing work and career is central to the lives of many families today, and Deutsch's book has struck a chord--garnering significant media attention. Excerpted in Redbook and mentioned on the Oprah Winfrey Show, the book also led to a related article by Deutsch in The Timesof London. Even before it hit the bookstore shelves, Halving It Allreceived exposure when Carol Kleiman, a columnist who pens the Chicago Tribune's"WorkLife" column, focused on Deutsch in a piece about balancing the work and home fronts. The Kleiman article was syndicated, running in dozens of daily papers around the country.
Interviews on more than thirty-five radio and television shows, including National Public Radio's Morning Edition and the Diane Rehm Show followed. Among the many daily newspapers and national publications that featured Halving It All were the Washington Post, Working Mother, McCall's, Newsday,and the Boston Globe.
During the year that Deutsch spent traveling the country to promote Halving It All,her husband, in the spirit of the book, took up the household slack. The equally shared approach, which Deutsch calls "the revolution at home," is driven not by ideology, she writes, but by the increasing pressures facing today's families. "Equal sharers are ordinary people simply inventing and reinventing solutions to the dilemmas of modern family life. Equal sharers, though rare today," Deutsch writes, "are our models for tomorrow."