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First, let me say: I’ve never been someone to share an email address or (gasp) Facebook account with a significant other. I don’t think couples need to “share it all,” let alone a jumbled social media profile crammed with photos of their messed up toes on the beach.

However, when several children – and all of their 6,732 extracurricular activities, doctor and dentist appointments, billing, and daily school emails for the love of Baby Jesus – come into play, things change.

I have realized the folly of my ways and have now cried for all these years not having used this simple but brilliant technique to share all of the information. Because there is so, so much. Would you like to be the sole custodian of this horrific collection of long “transport memories” and “school lunch registrations” until your kids graduate? I am you in the future and I am here to tell you no. No the hell you don’t.

Ideally, a family email address is used to inform both parents equally about processes, updates, meetings, school supplies inquiries, etc. – so that they can handle the associated workload fairly. In reality, it may look more like the person who normally does most of the logistical coordination is still doing this, but can now give off an angry “You have the same information as me” when they take a break from the Need work at the information desk. Cruise director. And that’s fine too.

The family email can still help combat information overload and resentment for the “leading parent” while also helping their partner feel more involved and informed. And this is a particularly useful technique for co-parents who are no longer living together to ensure that all relevant information gets to both parties.

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This is how a family email address works for you

First, choose a simple email address that clearly identifies who you are, such as: “RachelsParents@gmail.com” or “MorseFamily@gmail.com”. So that you don’t have to check a separate email address every day or that an important email is accidentally deleted by a parent, have these emails forwarded to your primary email address so you don’t miss a thing.

(You can even set up filters so that emails from the school domain are only forwarded to your primary email address when they are considered most important.)

The advantages

You may be thinking, “Can’t we just send two email addresses to the school (or wherever) and they’ll put both into the system?” And the answer is: maybe. Sometimes it works – but it’s not a foolproof system. Requests are lost, you may need to follow up, district-wide software can be old and buggy. Not to mention, would you like to go through the Rigamarole “Please put these two email addresses in the account” on any organization that requires parenting email by your child by the age of 18?

Possible dangers

Confusion can arise if someone accidentally replies, logs in, or starts a conversation with a teacher from their personal email address without notifying the other parent. Another thing that can get more confused is which emails you haven’t read yet. In your personal inbox, the bold face of any unread email is a powerful visual indicator. If your partner has already opened the email in a shared inbox, it will be harder to see what you haven’t seen. It takes more attention to make sure you don’t miss a thing.

Decent communication and trying in good faith to try to develop a constructive habit of always copying your partner or co-parent’s answers can help mitigate these potential problems. (And if that doesn’t work, you can interrupt the forwarding to your personal inbox and keep all correspondence in the family account.) Have fun voting! (Never said a parent).