Are You the Default Parent?

Have you read this great article that’s been circulating, about this idea of a “Default Parent“? It resonates with me so deeply, particularly as I spent last week sitting by the computer waiting for noon to get my preregistration code for a summer camp this summer. Mind you, I was just getting my code. Later this month, I’ll have to sit by the computer at 7am to actually register for the camp.

Default parents sitting around computers waiting for codes–I tried mentioning this to my husband, and he didn’t even know such things existed.

I don’t mind being the default parent. It’s just hard sometimes when my awareness of it bubbles up. Right now my toddler is pretty sick and needs to go to the pediatrician. There’s no way in the world I want my 5-month-old in that waiting room, exposed to all the other germies. So I have to let my husband, the non-default parent, take my toddler to the pediatrician.

It’s hard! I want to be comforting my sick baby, holding his steaming body. But I also am the keeper of the information about him. I know the answers to all the questions about symptoms and shots and the last time each vomit happened.

I’m also the one providing the breastmilk that keeps our young baby alive.

And the one who knows all the information about our older son’s drop-off and what goes in his backpack and what time the schoolbus comes.

I’m the project manager of our family, and I’ve got it all down pat pretty well. The chain falls apart a little bit when all the information that lives up in my brain needs to somehow be communicated to another grownup taking over part of the load. I could write it all down, but what’s the point? How often does my husband need to actually pack up a homework folder before the procedure shifts?

In the end, it’s not that big of a deal if my husband has to text me to ask a question at the pediatrician’s office. It’s hard for him, too, to be the non-default parent. But he’s still the dad, and our boys turn to him for love and comfort, even if they don’t bother to ask him where their Lord Business underpants are. I can scrounge up a bit of coping chocolate for myself while I sit home with my other babies and love them extra hard until their sick brother comes back for a spot on my lap.

Are you the default parent of your kids? Leave a comment to share what incidents raise your awareness of this!

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