If you are active on social media, you are likely familiar with #LeanInTogether, a campaign designed by Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In movement, and inspired by her late husband Dave Goldberg, to encourage men to join the push for gender equality both at home and in the workplace. It has been a heavily celebrated campaign within Hollywood, by professional athletes, politicians – and also with everyday families.
As a group of working professionals and parents, we are familiar with what it takes to balance the needs of a career and family. One of our colleagues, Senior Communications Counselor Kathie Schoff, offers her perspective on the man in her life that provides support and encouragement as they #LeanInTogether.
My re-entry into the workforce did not prompt my husband, Jim, to lean in around the house. Even when I was at home, he was leaning in.
It started one fateful morning when our twins were three months old. I was struggling to feed them simultaneously, sweating as each cried impatiently until I lifted another spoonful of oatmeal into their mouth. My husband’s morning routine seemed to change little after the birth of our twins. He would sit quietly in the kitchen enjoying his cereal and front page. One day he made the mistake of complimenting me during the morning feeding frenzy. He said he was going to tell our kids how I single-handedly managed to feed them both at the same time and in my post-partum, sleep-deprived state, my response was not so kind. That was the last day my husband enjoyed a quiet breakfast in the kitchen. I suppose being outnumbered from the get-go was a contributing factor to the early lean in.
To give him credit, Jim is an extremely helpful and kind person. As soon as I asked for help, he was happy to pitch in. When I was ready to return to a career, I already knew I had a reliable partner – one who would jump in when needed and was familiar with the kids’ schedules and at-home routine.
We all benefit in this situation, especially the kids. I did not get to truly know my dad until my mom got sick a few years ago. He worked a lot, with a long commute, and at time when there was less expectation of shared responsibilities. After my mom got sick, my dad often commented that he had no idea how much she did. He, as it turned out, had an outstanding ability to lean in when needed. He cared for my mom, learned how to do laundry, remember birthdays and cook!
I can see every day how we all benefit in our house from leaning in together. I don’t feel alone in the household/childcare duties and my husband appreciates the help paying bills and funding family vacations and our never-ending construction projects. We both have a better understanding of all the jobs inside and outside the home it takes to keep a family running.
I’m thankful for a partner in it all! – KS
To see how other families are sharing the load, you can check out the #LeanInTogether social feed and follow along on Twitter. If you care to share in the comments section, we would love to know how you #LeanInTogether.