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Coping with Being the Default Parent

A few years back, I read an article about being the default parent. As soon as I read it, even before I finished, I knew I was the default parent in our family. I handle 90% of the childrearing and child activities. That means I:

  • clean up the 1,789 messes per day

  • break up about the same amount of fights

  • know how many kids are missing socks

  • know when everyone is low on underwear

  • do the laundry

  • handle all child related activities including homeschooling

  • chauffeur to said activities

  • buy and don't forget snacks to said activities

  • know all schedules and appts

  • create those schedules and appts

  • know who's been sick and when

  • stay home with said sick children

  • take those sick children to the doctor

  • get sick after the sick children

The list goes on and on but you get the point. 9 years and 3 kids later, I am still trying to solidify my coping mechanisms. Some years I have it down. Some months I feel like I am dying. Some days I take a cinnamon dulce latte (with 2 pumps of white chocolate mocha!) as a win. However, I am realizing that lack of consistency for my self-created coping mechanisms is making me resentful and even physically sick. It's making me ill-tempered, tired, stressed, anxious and downright fed up. I love my kids but being the default parent is hard! Even when I am sick, the kids still come to me. I can't take a bathroom break or shower in peace!

I just started a new job. I originally applied for it because I thought it was a pt job. However, after some negotiations I figured I could get back to being around adults a good portion of the day and still manage being the default parent. I mean..I didn't say THAT in my head but I basically thought life wouldn't be too bad. I had, as the default parent of course, made a new household schedule, homeschool plan, set up family chores, and more. But none of that included downtime for me, my sanity and my health. While I was doing all of that, my husband was setting up his workout calendar and man's trip. What the hell was I doing?!

I used to be much more diligent about me time. I had a standing monthly appointment at the Pearl Spa and weekly girl time. But most of my stay-at-home mom friends went back to work and my business was slow so spa time was out. My focus have been the kids. All the time. I am always putting them first. My husband, probably like most, was putting them where they fit into the things that he wanted to do. I wonder why is it more natural for a woman to think about the safety and well being of the kids before her own and not a man's first instinct. Is it because we develop a deep sense of protection as soon as they are in our womb? Is it because most men don't bond or develop this sense of protection until well after the baby is born? Are they always playing catch up because of this? Or does it never develop because we end of being the default parent ensuring all of their needs are met on our own?Whatever the reason, it is not healthy! We, I mean I, must find and keep better coping mechanisms for this whole default parent thing. I am going to make my list and find time for myself TODAY! It is necessary for survival, sanity and the soul. You can't pour from an empty cup. So today, I am going to read one of the many 2019 Essence magazines that I have yet to read and drink my latte!

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