3 Reasons Why Being The “Default” Parent Is Exhausting

Every family is different and has a unique dynamic. But in most cases when a couple decides to have kids, one person is in charge of the majority of the caretaking and household chores whereas the other partner ventures outside the home in order to provide for the rest of the family members. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this arrangement as long as the two partners cross over to each other’s territory whenever necessary. Children need both their parents to be invested in them and be present. This is when things get a little tricky. If they only go to one parent for help or only listen to them while ignoring every other adult in the vicinity, that is who they think their default parent is. And this can be detrimental for both parents and the child. If you want to know why being a default parent should be discouraged, and how exhausting it really is to be one, then this is the article for you. Keep reading! 

In This Article

1. You Meet All Of Your Child’s Demands

You Meet All Of Your Child’s Demands

Image: Shutterstock

It doesn’t matter if they are 2 or 20, your little one is always going to need you. Maybe it’s to ask you how to file their taxes or if you could help them put their shoes on. Whatever the case may be, you’re the only one they come to for help. When your kids are young and cute, this can be endearing and might even make you feel special. After all, who doesn’t want their toddler to race past everyone else just to get into your arms? But as time passes, this can wear on you. As capable as you are, you are only one person. And you can’t always meet your child’s wants and needs the second they come to you with a list of demands.

This is why it’s so important to have another set of helping hands. Being the only one your child comes to for help, guidance and advice can be extremely draining and can leave you feeling burdened, overwhelmed and frustrated. And this can even trickle down into feelings of resentment when thinking about your child. If your first thought when it comes to your kids is “Oh no, what do they want now?”It’s time to take a step back and stop being the default parent.

2. Your Child Doesn’t Trust Anyone Else

Sure being a default parent is detrimental for you, but it is equally as bad for your little one. After all, every child should feel like they can trust both their parents to take care of them and look out for their best interests. But if you’re the only one they are constantly coming to, chances are that they don’t feel that way. Your child probably feels disconnected from your partner. Maybe it’s because they work too much and therefore don’t get enough time to interact with their child. Or maybe it’s because they haven’t taken much on an interest in forming an emotional bond with them. But this can’t continue. It’s integral that your child feels like they can count on both their parents. This way they will have more than one person to go to when they are in trouble or in case of an emergency.

3. You’re Always First In Line

You’re Always First In Line

Image: Shutterstock

Maybe your kids do go to your partner when you’re not around. This doesn’t mean you get any reprieve when the both of y’all are present. Because then it’s still you who gets approached for the majority of the tasks. Some kids just favor one parent over the other. Sometimes, this is just a phase. One can only hope. And other times this is a habit that needs to be broken. Since mothers are tasked with fulfilling the needs of their babies from the time of conception, they usually follow through with this task for the rest of their lives. But when your kids barge into the bathroom while you’re showering only to tell you that they want to draw, or breeze past their dad to tell you that their imaginary friend is hungry when you’re in the middle of a work call, you know this is a problem. It’s time to sit down as a family and let your kids know that they can go to your partner even when you are around. Because being around doesn’t always mean that you are available. Let your kids know that they can depend on your partner to meet their needs as well.

Being the one parent your child comes to for everything sounds great in theory but can be disastrous in reality. The truth is that it takes a few more hands to deal with catering to your child’s needs, and that’s okay. So, make sure you don’t become a default parent and encourage your child to seek out a trusting relationship with your partner as well.

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Kezia John

Kezia JohnBA

Kezia holds a deep interest in writing about women adapting to motherhood and childcare. She writes on several topics that help women navigate the joys and responsibilities of being a new mom and celebrate every stage of their baby's development. When she is not writing for MomJunction, she sings in a classical Western choir and reads endlessly.