Include Your Partner Whenever You Text About Your Kid

If you’re texting someone about a parenting task—a caregiver, a tutor, a fellow parent with a play date, any time you talk to a third party about your child—then include your partner on the text. It’s like CCing them on an email thread, only you might be less used to it. It keeps you on the same page. And if all the notifications get annoying, that’s also kind of the point.

In straight couples with kids, mothers do almost twice as much parenting work as fathers. And the effect is insidious enough that it happens even when fathers intend to pitch in just as much as their partners. One of the biggest obstacles is that once one partner starts managing a certain commitment (like taking the kids to school or arranging child care), they start to become the family “expert” on that task. The longer one partner exclusively handles a task, the more the other partner would have to catch up to take over for even a day.

Eventually, every parent will need to fill in when the other is sick or traveling. So whenever possible, you should share that institutional knowledge, so both parents are ready to handle any given crucial task.

There are lots of practical ways to share that institutional knowledge, like keeping important records and account info in shared files (like a 1Password family plan). But the simplest is adding your partner to all your parenting texts. Not necessarily on texts to your kids, but definitely on every parenting text that you send someone else.

This is helpful regardless of gender, and regardless of how equally you share parenting responsibilities. It’s one less thing to catch each other up on in person. It keeps you from giving contradictory directions or information to a babysitter, coach, or nanny. It’s also a way to keep your partner aware of just how much work you’re doing (and how much thanks you deserve).

It also empowers both partners to jump in for each other in the text chain. As long as you can stay on the same page and present a united front, this means you can communicate much faster with people like caregivers. Just remember, any time you two disagree, take it to your own one-on-one chat. No one wants their phone to blow up because two parents can’t get their act together.

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