My mother was scrupulously fair in our upbringing, ensuring that my sister and I benefited from the same rules, equivalent gifts and a corresponding sense that we were loved equally. I am grateful for this clarity and justice.
My husband has questioned this insistence on fairness when applied to our parenting strategy. From his viewpoint, what I present as fairness looks like score-keeping.
We've all had a virus and our sleep has been fractured and energy levels reduced. At the height of the germ, I had an evening sleeping not parenting; a few days later my husband had an entire day off work-and-parenting (during which he felt rubbish but not sleepy). From an intellectual viewpoint, this wasn't fair, but his body is different. His immune and pain responses differ. He doesn't get a jolly dose of oxytocin during night time breastfeeding (or about five doses, as things are at the moment).
This time, I happen to have remained more energised and resilient despite the discomfort of illness. This means that I need less parenting relief. If I advocate for the same amount because I feel entitled to it, this is a calculation rather than an instinct.
Perhaps fairness simplifies a situation and provides a systematic approach - it is the tiled floor of responses: even, regular, maintainable. The alternative is a more casual, it'll-all-work-out-in-the-end attitude, where each person gives what they can when they can, according to their emotions and abilities. Maybe this is the meadow of responses: some lush flowering sections and some unpredictably squelchy bits.
I wonder if what I am comparing is fair vs laissez faire?