Max Leitenberger

Don’t knock long-distance relationships: when they work, credit goes to the couple’s ability to communicate with each other when they’re not in the same place.

And there are some lasting lessons in these relationships for working parents trying to make the juggle less of a struggle.

That’s the case with Max Leitenberger, our Lead Dad of the Week from Ridgefield, Conn., and his wife Kristina. They grew up in the same town, but went their separate ways for college. Early work opportunities took them to different countries – China for him and South Korea for her. Communication was key.

Now they’re managing the work-life equation with two young boys – ages 2 years and 4 months. Both family logistics and jobs require a lot of communication.

She runs a dance studio in nearby Pleasantville, N.Y., where most of the teaching of young children happens after school. He is the head of communications for London-based Wilshire Indexes, so the most intense part of his day is before school through early afternoon.

“It’s who can do what within what time frames,” he said.

They’ve got a system down now – one that’s built on flexibility. “There will be weeks where she takes on more and weeks where I do more,” he said.

But he credits those early years living abroad and apart for their ability to communicate about the mundane and the profound in life. “Because of the distance in the beginning, we communicate about communicating now,” Max said.

“We make sure we communicate what the needs are, what the days are like, what’s good or bad or stressful. That’s what allows us to have this flexibility.”

Welcome, Max, to The Company of Dads!