The Default Parent

What is a Default Parent?

If you have to think about who the default parent is in your household, chances are it’s not you. You’d know. I am the default parent in my home. It is clear as day and I may as well have it tattooed to my forehead. I am the parent that is in charge of the emotional, logistical and physical needs of my children. I am the manager of anything that requires an appointment. I am the meal planner, extracurricular coordinator, and CEO of the family calendar. Truthfully the list is never-ending. All. Day. Every. Day.

I handle the needs of all 4 children: school schedules, orientations, open house, school uniforms, dentist, doctor, birthdays, haircuts, and rotations of seasonal clothing among dresser drawers and closets. These are a few of the humdrum tasks that only the default parents know about. Default Parents know all the teachers’ names, bus drivers’ names, how to fill out medical history forms, all supplies that keep the house running, and don’t forget the pets too!

Shoutout to my Husband

By the way, this is in not a competition between me and my husband. My husband is very helpful around the house and with our kids. He is the default earner, and outdoor caretaker and he controls all of our finances, 401K, and knows the stock market world. Anything administrative, he is the man. He is the person in charge of car maintenance –  inspections stickers, tire rotations, and bug killer. The difference here is, that when he does these tasks, he doesn’t have our children pulling at him saying “Daddy Daddy Daddy Daddy.” I once saw something funny that said, “Even the best dads are just “ok” moms.”

Unsung Hero

I know my role is valued. Obviously, I can’t expect my toddlers to be able to know and understand my role. But, I am the one they want to snuggle with in the mornings and evenings. When something is wrong I am also the first person they run to. I am the one they allow to put bandaids on their “boo-boos”. I am where they find comfort. Some parts of the default parent I would not change. However, like any other person, I enjoy alone time. I especially enjoy alone time after a long day of work but rarely does this happen. I do get overstimulated from all the hands touching me and pulling at me. I like taking baths in silenceI like to scroll through my phone or just sit and be with my thoughts so I can think about the to-do lists for the week.

What’s for dinner this week? Who needs diapers? Spirit shirt day is Friday. This week’s sight words need to be practiced. Are their uniforms washed? Are my uniforms washed? Zoom meetings this week? LSU game plans? This month’s family birthdays?

Challenges of the Default Parent

Jennifer Sanders
Jennifer is a Dental Hygienist at Juban Cowen Dental Care in Baton Rouge. She and her husband Luke have 4 children (Grant, Hannah, Wes and Lee). She lives for the weekends and soaks up every second of family time. Jennifer is the proud owner of a minivan she swore she would never drive. She absolutely loves to cook and so does Luke. They have mastered the “at home” date night and challenge themselves with new recipes on weekends. Together they are working through fun times and challenges as a family of 6!


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