My husband and I are both extremely busy. Extremely. He is finishing up his dissertation for his Ph.D. He works part-time, teaches at a local college, owns his own publishing company, is a competitive triathlete and Masters swimmer, AND is a super hands-on dad. I work full-time, run this blog, am busy launching my own products (including a stock photo subscription service), and am also very hands-on with my daughter. In fact, our daughter doesn’t go to daycare, and we don’t have a nanny that comes to our house. Instead, my husband and I have coordinated our schedules so that one of us is always with her. Now, I know what you are thinking. You are probably thinking that we are insane for doing all of that. But you are probably also wondering how we are able to coordinate our schedules to make it all work. So I thought I would give you a glimpse at the three tools and tricks that work for us. Maybe they will work for you too!
This might seem like a no-brainer, but talking daily about our schedules is the cornerstone in making our schedules work. In fact, there have been times when we have tried to skip this or have forgotten, and what happened? Everything fell apart that day. Talking about your schedule is the key to keeping your schedule.
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Erik and I go over our day’s schedule every morning because that’s what works for us. But it doesn’t matter when you do it, so long as it gets done. Maybe talking over dinner is best for you. Or, as you get ready for bed. Just find a time and stick with it so that it becomes a habit. Erik and I’s conversation goes something like this:
Erik: Okay, so who has a baby in the morning? Do I have a baby in the morning?
Erik: So, then I need to go to afternoon swim practice at noon. Are you going to watch her then?
Me: Yes. Do you want me to pick her up or are you going to bring her to me?
You get the picture. We go over each hour, who is doing what when, who has our daughter for each hour, and how we will transfer our daughter back and forth between the two of us. The worst thing we have discovered we can do to each other is to assume. For example, “Hey, where are you right now? I thought you were going to bring J to me?” “No, I thought you were going to come pick her up.” Ugh.
Take away? Talk daily. Talk daily. Talk daily.
Have a shared calendar on your phone
Erik and I both have iPhones, and we use the free calendar app that came on our phones. We have them synced up so that we can see what one another adds something to various shared calendars. Erik has his own shared calendar (and assigned color) for events that are just for him, I have one for me, and then we have one labeled “Family.” If I have something come up, and I cannot have my daughter with me, I will put it on the calendar under my name and then make a note so that Erik knows he’s on duty. It’ll look something like this:
He’ll do the opposite if it’s an event just for him, and he needs me to watch her. And if it is something for both of us, it’ll go under Family and we just assume that we will have J with us.
Used an app for shared lists
Erik and I use the free version of an app called Wunderlist. Wunderlist allows you to create all sorts of custom lists. You can have some lists set as private. But you can also have other lists that are public; you simply ask other users of the app to share with you. Erik and I have several shared lists such as Family Needs (our family shopping list) and Family To-Do’s (our family chore list). The great thing about Wunderlist is that you can assign certain tasks to people as well as due dates. Like, I’ll assign Erik to take the cars to be washed and give him a due date of Friday. All of this helps us communicate more clearly in general.
But we also have another list just for our daughter. It includes three activities, and we have Wunderlist programmed to repeat these activities every single day. They are reading her a book, listening to music with her, and doing age-appropriate exercises out of the book Active Baby, Healthy Brain. (Brief aside: The book features over 135 exercises for your baby from infancy to 5 1/2 years of age. We have done the daily exercises with J since she was born and couldn’t recommend the book enough.) When one of us does an activity, we check it off the list. Now, there is nothing wrong with us both reading her a book or both listening to music with her, and often times we do both do those things on any given day. But having Wunderlist prevents us from putting her to sleep and then realizing that neither one of us has read to her or played music.
And so there you have it! The three things we do to keep our house running smoothly and everybody in the loop. I realize as I write this, that we might sound a little eccentric or excessive. But believe me, doing all three of these things together has made a world of difference for our schedules and our insanity.
I also want to be honest and say that I did not develop this system at all. It was 100% my husband’s idea, and when he first suggested it to me, I poo-pooed because it sounded like “too much.” But I am very happy to admit that I was wrong. So what’s my advice to you? Try it for a month or two months, and see how you like it. Don’t just try it for a week, but give it some time for it to become a habit, and then assess how it is going. I guarantee you that your life will feel less complicated!
And now I want to hear from you! Do you have other tips and tricks for coordinating your child’s schedule with your spouse?
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