Earner–carer policy models aiming at the engagement of mothers and fathers in both paid and unpaid work are a hallmark of the Nordic welfare states. But they have not become uncontested policy equilibriums. Examining family policy development through the theoretical lenses of party competition and incremental change helps uncover underlying tensions and ongoing struggles. In contrast to convergence and stability in regard to moderately long parental leave at high replacement rates and in the provision of universal publicly-funded childcare services, daddy quotas, i.e., earmarked leave for fathers, and cash-for-care benefits are contested and in flux. Policy stability is associated with layering of policy elements that satisfy multiple policy rationales, elements that are also vital in working parents’ organisation of everyday life. By contrast, the main source of instability, including policy displacement, is party competition over values of ‘equal parenthood’ versus ‘parental choice’, largely following a left–right divide.