Single mom activist Emma Johnson lays out a simple but effective case for 50/50 parenting.

By Maressa Brown
November 17, 2020
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There's no denying that coming up with a custody arrangement that works for you and your former partner can be incredibly stressful for everyone involved. You'll likely take a variety of factors into consideration when landing on an exact plan for sharing parenting responsibilities. But all too often, these responsibilities aren't really shared at all. In a new viral video, Emma Johnson, parenting activist and founder of the site WealthySingleMommy.com, lays out a case for co-parents to agree on a truly equal, 50/50 split.

In the animated clip, Johnson notes that single motherhood can be truly exhausting, as moms often take on all the to-dos and kids see their dad on the weekend. The argument for this? Kids "need a primary home."

Johnson continues, "What if I told you that the every-other-weekend schedule isn't actually what's good for kids? That it hurts kids?" She points to 60 peer-reviewed studies that prove that it's best for kids when they spend equal time with both parents, noting that it offers kids a chance to see their father juggle family and work, manage household tasks, and be involved caretakers, as well as see their mom as a breadwinner who takes care of herself—as well as others. And "all that lawyer money can go to the college fund."

She concludes that parents who "believe in gender equality and what's best for kids" ought to consider a 50/50 parenting arrangement.

Ginger Gentile, director of Erasing Family and former deputy executive director of the National Parents Organization, says shared parenting is defined as "as, at a minimum, a parent has a third of the time with a child." And that model—or the one described by Johnson—is increasing in popularity as we get away from "the 1950s model of the kids are with one parent, often the mom, and they often see the visiting parent on the weekends."

And those studies that Johnson mentioned found that kids who share time between both parents' homes approximately equally have better outcomes related to:

  • Academic achievement
  • Drug, alcohol, and cigarette use
  • Mental and physical health
  • Less early sexual activity and teen pregnancy
  • Higher employment and earnings later in life
  • Greater likelihood of family stability in their own adulthoods
  • Better relationships with parents, step-parents and grandparents.

As she points out in a related blog post, these outcomes were true even in cases where there is high conflict between the parents, or one makes significantly more money than the other.

That said, the case for moving toward truly equal co-parenting couldn't be more clear. Let's hope that, with increased awareness and discussion, it's a trend that only continues to grow.

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