I have several friends going through a divorce or separation right now. I don’t know all the details of any of their circumstances, but through Facebook posts and such, I’ve heard pieces of their stories. Today someone commented on my girlfriend’s post calling her the “default parent”. That was an interesting term and it got me to thinking.
I am guessing her friend means she’s the parent that is there or gets stuck there by default. Which by definition means “through lack of positive action rather than conscious choice”. So basically you do it without thinking. As a mother, don’t we all generally parent by default? Whether happily married or not. I personally don’t feel like it’s a negative thing, like that friend was insinuating it was. I mean, when the baby is tired and crabby, who does he want? Momma. So that means I get a few minutes of down time snuggling before bed. When the kiddos are sick, who do they want? Momma. So, I’m the one who gets a day off work and the extra snuggles (which sometimes ends with puke in my hair). And sure most days I get the brunt of the work with dinner, baths and poopy diapers, but that also gives me a sense of accomplishment too. What’s wrong with that? Why is that a bad thing? Now, don’t get me wrong our Daddy isn’t useless or helpless. He helps when asked, or when he sees I need it. Like those 6am Saturday wake-ups, he takes lil man in to the living room and lets this Momma sleep til I’m ready to wake up. He does this without my asking and it’s almost every weekend (unless we HAVE to run somewhere).
Each person in a relationship has their role. Sometimes it seems as though Daddy is there for fun and giggles while Momma is there for all the “hard” stuff. If you look beyond that, it’s probably not necessarily true. In our house Daddy does math homework, teaches them about cars and being self-sufficient. Daddy is a hard worker, and all that sometimes gets over-looked when we’re feeling overwhelmed by a screaming baby and trying to get dinner on the table…because the baby wants YOU, Momma, and what’s wrong with that?
So, I guess call me a default parent because I love my children without thinking. I fulfill their needs for food, love and other necessities without thinking. I don’t complain (much). And even when Daddy steps in, I don’t always accept the help willingly, because I feel the need to do it all myself. I think (most) mother’s are inherently the default parent. Some of us are just born to be mothers. And if you feel being a mother and taking care of your kids is a negative thing and that being a default parent is bad…maybe you need to re-think why you became a mother.