Why Being the 'Default Parent' is a Never-Ending Job

A mom recently posted an all too relatable video on TikTok to show exactly what it's like for so-called 'default parents' everywhere when we leave the house.

Mom with two kids and dad sitting in next room

Michael Heffernan / Getty Images

If your kids have ever walked straight past all the other adults in the household to present you with their list of demands, then you just may be the default parent in your home. A mom took to TikTok in an all too relatable video to show what it's like for default parents everywhere when we leave the house. In the video with now over four million views, user @tinyann22 shared a recording from what appears to be her front porch doorbell camera with the text overlay "when mom goes to the store and leaves kids with dad".

Two young kids can be seen calling mom from the camera after they realize she's left the house. They not only want to know where she is but also inform her of the "problems" they are having at home.

"My tablet's not working," the daughter says. "My tablet is dead," her son informs her. In the video, the mom can be heard repeatedly asking the kids, "Where's Daddy?" Neither of the children was as interested in answering her questions as they were in finding out her location so she could help them. (Technology sure has made tracking down that default parent even easier!)

Being the default parent is a real thing that exists way beyond social media. Amber Thornton, PsyD. has written about the role of the default parent. She defines it as typically one who is "first in line" when it comes to caring for children, child-related responsibilities, or home-related tasks. Assuming there are two parents or caregivers present, the default parent is more likely to carry the bigger load.

I am almost certain the video has gotten the buzz it's received because at least one parent in every household can relate. I can be 100% percent naked and in my bathroom when all of my children come in to ask me to open the bread for them and walk right past their father. If dad is awake and I've already entered REM sleep they are not opposed to peeling my eyelids back to make their demands. I am my children's default parent and it's exhausting.

"Honestly, I'm 40 and if my mom had a ring doorbell, I'd do the same thing," one commenter mused asking questions like: "Do I get any tax deductions? How long do I boil eggs for?" That user's comment just confirms that nothing is quite like the parent-child bond no matter how old said child is. I called my mom thousands of miles away while in college to ask how to use the washing machine since we didn't have one in our home.

In a follow-up video, mom answered the one question everyone wanted to know—where exactly was dad? Their son can be seen in the frame of the doorbell camera announcing, "Daddy right here!" While dad had been mere feet away the entire time, the kids still brought their troubles to the mom who was at the grocery store.

"I have literally watched my kid walk out of the room without saying a word just to go ask her mom a question" one dad pointed out in the comments of the original video.

Personally, the kids just know who to ask. In our house, if you ask daddy you're going to be waiting a long time for results. If you ask mommy she's going to do it right away. Not because mommy is any more knowledgeable or capable than daddy is. Mommy simply doesn't want to hear the same request repeated 50 times so she gets it done for her own sanity.

While being the parent who can't poop in peace definitely has its drawbacks, I have an innate ability to look on the bright side. The bond I've formed with my children is special. Even if that means I'll never grocery shop uninterrupted again.

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