Or maybe it’s sometimes you have clean clothes to wear and sometimes you have none?
I’m pretty sure it was PalMD over at White Coat Underground who talked about the “default parent” and that always seemed particularly apt to me. I’m the default parent. There’s never any question about who will do…whatever for the children because nine times out of ten that’s going to fall to me.
You could also call me the default home runner person. I always struggle with what to call myself because I’m not a homemaker, even if that’s what anyone who has a form wants to call me. I don’t make a home because you can’t really make a home. It’s intangible. Conceptual. A feeling. A state of mind. You can’t force it, it just is.
As for the rest of the titles? They’re kind of silly. Domestic Engineer? Please, that’s like folks who pull out a thesaurus when they’re sitting down to write their resume.
Default parent, though? That’s what I am because someone has to. At least someone has to when the other’s work schedule is unpredictable. When the job is demanding and you don’t want to have to scramble in order to figure out who is going to pick up the kids tonight.
Who’s going to do the dishes? Who will feed the kids? Who’s going to get Groceries up so that he’s at school on time? Default setting like the default setting on my dishwasher. All you have to do is hit the start button and it goes on washing dishes merrily without anyone having to think through the different settings.
And laundry. Who’s going to take the laundry downstairs? Sort it? Put it in and take it out of each machine? Fold it? Put it away?
On account of everything else I have going on, puppy, I may not get everything done around here because while I am the default parent, I am not a machine. I will not keep plugging away at things just because I’m the default. Sometimes even mama needs a break.
At the moment that means that often, by the time I’m finished with the laundry from last week, the laundry from this week is ready for me to start the process with all over again. We’re not even going to talk about socks and underwear. That, my friends is a free-for-all basket and best of luck to you there. Hmm…nor will we talk about the two baskets full of folded miscellany that still needs to be put away.
I suppose it’s just another side of the evil and dastardly thing called feminism. You know, that thing that says that I’m valuable beyond my role as default parent even when the laundry doesn’t always get put away. I don’t have to be a machine in my role. All of which is just the very sort of thing that certain conservatives and fundagelicals blame for any ill in society they can’t control.
And the husband? He helps when he can and generally keeps his mouth shut because he agrees that I’m more than a machine. He married me for more than my role as default parent. But mostly? It’s because his arms aren’t broken and he can put things away too.