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#ParentHack: A Family Email Account We All Share

The idea for a shared—or family—email account was born out of desperation. Despite clearly listing two email accounts on our children’s school registration, only one of us ever received messages from the teachers or administration. Our school’s website did not list contacts as primary and secondary. But it was obvious that one of our email addresses had won “primary” status. My wife was not receiving any school-related communication.

At first, we tried to correct the situation by sharing my wife’s email with the teachers and mine with the school. Somehow, that plan only led to even more missed messages. The problem continued beyond the classroom to soccer, softball, math club, scouts, and summer camps. Despite our persistence, it seemed impossible for both of us to get the information we wanted from everyone. No matter what the organization, they only ever contacted whomever was listed on the registration. A third of them went to me, a third went to my wife, and a third ended up in somebody’s spam folder.

So we decided to implement a family email. Together, we chose a new email address that we could both access, which was solely for communications that we both wanted to receive.

We only shared this email with our kids’ activity groups. We made sure the settings were such that nothing was filtered or labeled as spam. And we synced the new account to our phones so that we would both receive activity and school news the moment it comes in.

And guess what? It is working for us. Now, when a coach emails us a last-minute game update, we both get the message, and neither of us needs to worry about remembering to forward the info to the other! No more missed emails.

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Daniel Diffen is an aspiring author who lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife Becky and their two children.

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