Lately I have been hearing people talking about a Huffington Post article by blogger M. Blazoned simply titled "The Default Parent". As I read the article I found myself nodding, then saying "YES!" out loud. M. Blazoned finally found a term for what I felt since the day the "pee-stick" showed 2 pink lines.
So what is this new term "default parent" all about? Well the default parent is the one who is responsible for the emotional, physical and logistical needs of the kids. That's right, the one who keeps the schedules, who makes the doctors appointments, who knows where every missing shoe is, who deals with school fundraisers, decides when it's haircut time, and makes sure that homework is done, birthday gifts are bought and thank you cards are sent.
Every single day of my life I spend not only working an 8+ hour day, but I am also managing all 4 people in my family, their schedules, menus for all meals, big school projects, girls scout meeting agendas, etc... etc... When it comes to knowing where everyone needs to be and when, I am the one who knows. As much as my children see me as the default parent, my husband sees me the same way. For example (Sorry Babe!) my oldest kid goes to school twice a week. On Wednesdays my husband has to drop her off by 11:45 and I pick her up at 2:45. When I leave the house on Wednesday mornings and say good-bye to my husband he almost always asks me "What time do I need to have her at school?". And of course I know, because I am the DEFAULT, but it gets me every time because he gets to forget!
I often wonder why I am the default parent and I am sure that parts of my personality (micromanaging anyone!) help give me the title. I have this "I can do it all" persona that I am sure my family totally buys into that.
Let put it out there, a Dad can be a default parent too. In my household my husband is a huge help when it comes to the kids. In fact he stays home until about 1 pm every day while I am at work. But here is the thing, even though I am the parent that works full-time and my husband stays home with them part-time, I am still the default parent. There was even a time when my husband was a full-time stay-at-home parent, yet I was STILL the default parent. I was still the one coordinating field trips, writing checks for catechism classes and balancing the check book.
As you can imagine this is why so many Moms are exhausted all the time. I have come to terms with the fact that I am and will continue to be the default parent in my household. My Mom was and really still is the default parent. It is a lot of work but I am up for the challenge. All I need is some appreciation from the people whose life calendars I have memorized in my head.