Who’s the default parent in your relationship?


I’m sure it’s not even a topic that has come up in conversation with your other half, but if they ever wanted to know extra details, it’s more than likely the mother who will know all the answers. Ever wondered who the default parent is in your relationship? The default parent is the one who is “in charge of” most of the small details of parenting and may mean the parent who the kids turn to when they need things or go to for comfort. Whatever your thoughts are on the matter, most households have a default parent and 9/10, it’s usually the mum. That’s not to say that dads aren’t good parents because they are and equally important. But if you asked all the finer details about your child’s health or stepping stone in the next month of their early life, guaranteed, mummy will know and daddy won’t.

Someone asked me the other week who the default parent was in my relationship. Why it matters to her is anyone’s guess, but I said it was me because although I am at home with Emily all the time, I do know all the small details of parenting, every appointment, birthday party, every schedule, weight gained, food ate, every step however small or big, it’s just because that’s what I’ve wanted to do, but it’s also programmed inside me that that is what I should and need to know since before Emily was born. I wanted to know everything, all the details that I needed to learn throughout my pregnancy and to be honest, most of it probably bored the crap out of Sam. Being the default parent in our family means I’ve turned into a bit of a organised maniac. I write lists, much to the amusement of Sam. I plan everything. I have organisers, notebooks, planners, endless notes typed up on my laptop, on my iPhone and on my iPad. I plan and buy birthday presents, organise events months in advance, I plan decorations, write up itineraries, menus, guest lists, 6-10 months before an event happens. I did it with Sam’s 40th last year, which was planned 10 months before and organised 8 months before it happened.


Although, yes, I am the default parent, it must be known that I, amongst many other women have great support from their partners. Although they might not be as emotional as us, they do play their part, being a great parent. Sam’s a brilliant dad. He’s hands on, makes Emily giggle and scream with laughter, plays endless games with her and has a great bond with her – getting ready for bed in the evening has been their thing since she was born. 


But if you have to think about it you are or not, the chances are you’re not. Dads don’t take offence, but us mothers, the ones with the uterus, that carried our child for 9 months, know all the emotional and physical needs that our kids want and/or need. Oh and usually when they’re crying or have fallen asleep, we’re the ones that reassure them or tuck them in bed. It’s nothing personal, but we have that mothers touch. I know the names of all the midwives, doctors and nurses I’ve seen since she was born, the lovely ladies at the children centres, the best groups to go to, I know most, if not all the words to Numberblocks, have listened to Hey Duggee’s theme tune and Sarah & Duck more times than any human should have to listen in a 14 month period, I know all the names of all the characters in up to 10 TV shows (possibly more). I know what food Emily loves and what she hates, I know the signs she shows when she’s tired or when she’s had enough socialising. Us mums know. But it has to be known that your other half, especially mine, yes you Sam, is also a default-er. He’s the default earner, the default DIY-er, the default moaner (at times, don’t deny!), the default toy builder. He helps with the things that I can’t do. He’s helpful, a great partner and knows whats best for Emily.

He may have complained in the past that she says “mumumumum” a lot, but guaranteed she’ll probably say “DaDa” as her first words and still and always will look up to him with those big chocolate button eyes of hers adoringly.



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