Working parents tango. Some tips and tricks to stay sane and close.

Work has begun. With one full week of work under my belt, the inbox is starting to bulge at the sides, my todo list is growing like a toddler, and the calendar more colorful than a Jackson Pollock piece.

My wife and I are now relearning the working parents tango. Here are some of the things we do to help us through.

Establish areas of responsibility

I always do breakfasts. My wife on point for our PTA responsibilities. Whoever didn’t cook dinner washes the dishes. She takes the kids in the morning. I pick them up in the evening. And a smattering of other items. Establishing these routines makes our lives much easier as our brainpower is already consumed with managing the three boys when they are around or focusing on our work during business hours. I’ve heard of keeping your wardrobe simple to limit your choices and this is the same approach to the day to day activities.

Use Todoist to manage new tasks

A relatively new attempt and taming the unknown. Using a paid version of Todoist, we can share a todo list that we can drop anything that needs to be accomplished. The ability to tag each other in the list makes it easy to establish responsibility as well.

Shared calendars

We have a couple of different calendars through Google Calendars.

  • Family activities and shared time. We need to know when each of us is going to be busy so there are no situations where we need to do something for work and realize last minute we both have conflicting events. To overcome that, we add our initials on to the front of the calendar event and make sure to put in the family calendar.
  • Kids activities. A calendar dedicated to just their extracurricular activities, school or daycare events, and anything else specific to our kids.
  • Private calendars. Anything that doesn’t make the cut from the items above ends up here. The main criteria being it doesn’t matter if we are aware of our partner’s event.

Talk time = quality time

We’ve put in the calendar a time set aside just to talk about what we’d like to do during the week, plans we’d like to make, or reminiscing about the past. The days fly by and we’ll find that by the end of them we’ve had precious little time for each other. Being deliberate about making time for each other helps you reconnect, relax, and rejigger.

Going on dates

My grandmother also said her best piece of parenting advice was to keep going on dates. With the newborn, that’s been a little tricky. Babysitters aren’t a big thing in Japan here either. With all the kids in daycare now, though, we will take the opportunity of both working from home and find time to head out to the local restaurant for lunches and spend some additional quality time with each other.

Do you have additional ways you keep sane during of the chaos of parenting?