Are you the default parent?

Are You The Default Parent? Do You Resent Your Spouse For It?

Are you the default parent? If you are pondering the question, then chances are you are not. Those who are (a majority of moms) know exactly what the title means.

Endless chores that have to do with the child(ren), which include help with homework, rides to and from school (if school bus is not available), doctor visits, extracurricular activities, social engagements, and on and on (and on).

How most moms and some dads end up being the default parent is unclear, but it starts early on, usually when the child is a tiny bundle of joy (still). If you drop whatever it is that you are doing when the baby cries and your partner carries on with their own activity without flinching, chances are you will enable your better half and start the dreaded trend.

Why women are the default parent in most families has some explanation. In many cases, new moms decide to quit their jobs, because it’s either too expensive to pay for day care or the family has the means to have a stay at home parent. They take care of every single aspect of their child’s life and so it begins. The default parent is born.

But what exactly is the default parent? In simple terms, it’s the one the kids go for everything and couples with kids know what this means. When kids have a question, about anything, what is the first name they cry out? Mom or Dad? Whoever it is, is the default parent and the children gravitate to that person for ALL their issues, from permission to go on a play date, to comfort when there is a crisis in their lives and everything in between.

Trying to juggle a busy household in addition to a job is a stressful undertaking for moms or dads. However, if the same person is constantly dealing with everything involving the children, resentment can build. There is no question that moms deal with the brunt of child raising the majority of the time, but more and more fathers are becoming “Mr. Mom.”

The default parent knows every single thing that goes on in their children’s lives, teacher names, friend names, sports schedules, pick up times, school pick up time and so on. When that parent needs help, it can create a problem if the partner is not used to helping with any of these chores.

In many cases though, the “back-up parent” also has a full plate. The husband or wife who is not involved with their children’s every activity usually is responsible for taking care of the family financially, which can be extremely stressful, and usually takes care of other household chores, such as lawn care and can also be attentive and helpful. But this does not mean that they understand exactly what is involved with being that one person, known as the default parent.

Do the kids walk right past your partner and come to you with…? Parenting is a stressful thing, no question about that, but society as a whole, including your partner need to realize that being a default parent takes an emotional toll on the person graced with that title.

What is the dynamic in your household? Are you or your partner the default parent?

[Image via Shutterstock]

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