How To Find Balance In This Modern World

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couple at separate laptops
After years of putting family first, my wife and I must now face the modern world.

Next week my wife and I enter the modern world—that rush of jobs, school, daycare and preschool, that buzz of fast mornings and exhausted little kid evenings—for the first time as a couple.

Let's put it this way: we just bought our first ever family calendar this week, and it's already full.

I realize most of you already live in this world, have mastered—or not—the stresses of it and have made your relationships work—or not—in its context. But it is a foreign place to my wife and I.

I moved to Sweden for the first time in April, 2004. Since then, our work schedules have overlapped exactly once, this past spring. It's been an equal split. First, I did not work when I moved to Sweden. Then she did not work in the U.S. Since we've been back in Sweden, we have been switching back and forth between parental leaves, long Swedish vacations and the like. Why One Dad Embraced A Reversal Of Gender Roles

We've paid for these choices—we live in a tiny apartment and have no car—but we made them happily for the family, and it's paid off. As a couple, we have weathered tough times with little to no outside support, and we have gloried in the slow-paced space we gained, from the eight weeks off in the summer to that extra six-and-a-half minutes over morning coffee on a Tuesday morning in March.

But now it ends. As of September, both kids will be in day care. I will work. My wife will both go to school full-time and work on the side.

I know we'll be fine, and we both feel ready for this on some levels (and want to run screaming from it on others). I am most daunted by that full calendar. As much as I'm craving some structure after years of small kid chaos, that calendar leaves very little wiggle room. So as we enter a dark and hectic Swedish autumn and winter (you can feel it in the air already, though it's only August), any advice on keeping our perspective, keeping our pace up and keeping our connection to each other strong would be most welcome... Taking A Step Back Brought Us Closer Together

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