A new term has popped up in the vocabulary of parents and families in the United States recently: the “default parent.” It is leading people to wonder, what exactly is a default parent? Apparently, this type of parent is the one the child goes to for emotional, physical and other needs. It is the parent that is most often readily available, and typically, reports are saying it is usually the mom.
The default parent is the one who when both spouses are together and present, and hear the child cry, gets up to tend to the child. It is the one who knows the name of the child’s friends, goes on field trips, organizes parties, bakes cupcakes for the class on the child’s birthday, frequently shops at stores such as Walmart and Staples for poster board and school supplies, and is a personal driver among other things. If people are wondering what a default parent is, they may also be wondering what the other parent should be called.
The other parent, apparently usually the father, is referred to as the “backup parent.” These trendy labels are raising questions as to whether or not the classifications are fair. For example, women who claim themselves to be the default parent admit that their husbands call on days when their children are at dance, or soccer, or whatever activity they so happen to be involved in, asking if they should pick them up and bring them home. Women tend to become irritated because the husbands may not remember the time they are supposed to pick the child up.
It may be the case that the default parents feel the need to be in control. If the husband is calling to help, but forgets the time the child’s activity ends, the woman reportedly becomes frustrated in many cases, according to an editorial recently published by the Huffington Post, because they feel the husband should already know the time, as they have been told so many times in the past.
In a blog recently posted by a woman known as M. Blazoned, claiming to be a default parent, she admits to her husband reaching out to help her and immediately becoming annoyed. She also claimed that there is no escape from being a default parent, and that those who are default parents are doomed to be worn out and exhausted.
Both men and women on the internet spoke out against the default parent and back up parent labels. One woman responded to the article in protest saying that Blazoned was a control freak and that if her husband was trying to help with the kids she should be grateful and allow him to help.
Her article sparked a bit of outrage among fathers who argue that just because their wives may do the carpool, bake the cupcakes and make the Halloween costumes, that they are still an equal partner in the relationship, as well as in the development and raising of their children. Many of them stated that Blazoned spoke as though she was a single mother, which she is not, and it was unfair to her husband. The question has been raised as to what is a default parent, and whether or not the label is unfair. In addition, people are questioning the term back-up parent as well.
By: Rebecca Savastio