Chip & Joanna Gaines' Approach To Splitting Parenting Duties Is Actually Super Feminist
It's no secret that the Gaines have a lot on their plates (literally, they recently opened their new restaurant, Magnolia Table). But aside from being entrepreneurs, authors, house flippers, and designers, they also have 4.5 (four and a baby OTW) kids at home, and just like they do everything else in life, Chip and Joanna Gaines' approach to splitting parenting duties is actually super fair, and pretty feminist.
In a recent interview with People, Joanna opened up about preparing for her fifth child. "Chip is the best swaddler," she said. "He’s like, ‘I’m going to be holding the baby the entire time!’" However, they both agreed that they have to brush up on their baby skills. "We need to figure that one out again," Joanna said, referencing dealing with dirty diapers. "I don’t even remember, but I do remember the blowouts and I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh!’ I’ve gotta get my stuff together. It’s coming!”
It's a refreshing take in a world in which dads are often seen as "babysitters," and research shows that millennial mothers take on a disproportionate amount of the housework and childrearing. (Specifically, POPSUGAR reported that millennial moms spend twice as much time as dads caring for children and maintaining the home.)
In Janaury of this year, the couple announced on their show Fixer Upper that they were expecting again. After dropping a series of hints, Chip uploaded a photo to Instagram in which he propped his faux "baby belly" up against Joanna's, and wrote: "Gaines party of 7," HGTV reported. The couple already has four children together, Drake (age 13), Ella Rose (age 11), Duke (age 9), and Emmie Kay (age 8), Country Living reported.
Joanna had previously opened up about her parenting strategy, telling People that though she had expected to be a rather laid back mom, once she had her kids, she was surprised by how strict she was: "I grew up in an environment that was pretty much ‘back by dark’ — my parents didn’t generally know what we were doing, and it was all good, clean fun," she said. "So I thought, ‘Oh, I’m gonna be a wild parent.’” She continued:
When I got to be a parent, I don’t know what it is about it … I feel a little bit like a drill sergeant sometimes. Some elements of my personality, as a parent, I’m not real crazy about.”
In an interview with INSIDER, Joanna also opened up about how being bullied as a kid shaped her as a parent. "If people thought I was confident, it was really just the way I masked my insecurity, because I didn't want people to really get to know the real me," she said:
If you haven't heard my story, my mom is full Korean and my dad is Caucasian. Kids in kindergarten would make fun of me for being Asian and when you're that age you don't know really how to process that; the way you take that is, 'Who I am isn't good enough.'
However, she says that it has inspired her to make her kids mindful of being inclusive of others, especially those who aren't like them. She added:
I always tell my kids to look for that kid on the playground who's not playing with anybody, to go reach out, ask them their name, to look for the kid in the lunchroom who isn't sitting by anybody, be their friend.
Though it's clear that Chip and Joanna have come a long way both as professionals and as parents, what's even clearer is that they are devoted to their kids as much as they are their work, and strike an inspiring balance between managing their businesses and managing their household... all at the same time.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.