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'Tag-Team Parenting'

September 15, 1997

Steven Rachwal, 36

Los Angeles

Both my wife and I have been self-employed for many years. Karen is a writer, musician and director, and I'm an art director-graphic designer. I used to work in an outside studio, but when we decided to buy a house, it made more financial sense for me to set up a studio at home. Although Karen was pregnant at the time, we had no idea that deciding to work at home would develop into what I call "tag-team parenting."

Our day begins at about 7:30 a.m., when our 2-year-old daughter, Hyla, wakes us up. Karen prepares her breakfast while I shower and dress, then I help Hyla finish breakfast while Karen gets ready for her day. When Karen is dressed, and depending on the day's schedule, I go to my studio while Karen takes Hyla to the park or to work with her, or Karen goes to work alone, and I take Hyla to the studio with me.

In the evenings, we all come back together for dinner and several hours of family time. After Hyla goes to sleep, Karen and I often go to our separate studios and put in several more hours of concentrated work. Many nights we work past midnight. Usually weekends are similar, but with less work and more time for the family.

It's a lifestyle of constant flux from professional to Dad to professional to husband to professional to handyman, and back again. To make it work--and it does work astonishingly well--Karen and I talk together often through the day.

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