scorecardAll I want for Christmas is for my husband to be the default parent
  1. Home
  2. life
  3. news
  4. All I want for Christmas is for my husband to be the default parent

All I want for Christmas is for my husband to be the default parent

Whitney Sandoval   

All I want for Christmas is for my husband to be the default parent
LifeThelife2 min read
  • I'm a mom of three young kids, and I'm usually the default primary parent.
  • While my husband and I have cultivated an equal household, Christmas reminds me of the imbalances.

The stockings are draped on the back of a chair, waiting for the hooks so they can be hung up with care. It's officially Christmas season in my house.

Every year I prance out of Thanksgiving and into the holiday season with glee and wonderment, but I eventually morph into the Grinch.

Christmas has become my end-of-the-year reminder that despite trying to cultivate fairness and an equal division of labor between me and my husband, I'm still the default parent.

I'm the one answering all the questions

I'm the parent who receives texts from well-meaning grandparents asking what the kids would like for Christmas this year. Has my husband been asked what our kids would like for Christmas? No.

Each year my resentment about having to ask my kids what they want for Christmas just to relay it to at least five people grows, especially now that my kids are capable of answering the question themselves. I don't understand why everyone defaults to asking me which gifts they should buy.

On its own, it's a small question that shouldn't bother me. It should just be a quick text response. I should just keep a note on my phone that I can quickly and preemptively share with all family members who may be buying gifts. But why should I be in charge of this too?

I'm in charge of coordinating so many things

During the holiday season, this simple task snowballs into my never-ending to-do list. On top of our normal day-to-day, I'm making flu-shot appointments, bringing treats for class parties, finding a plain red T-shirt for the holiday choir concert, and trying to coordinate gifts for teachers.

Every day there seems to be something else to remember, something else to buy, something else to drop off. During the winter there are several reminders that I'm the default parent — like the school calling me before calling my husband to let us know our daughter has a fever — but the most frequent ones come from our family members, the people who are supposed to know us best.

Nobody means to make me the default parent or add to my plate. Each ding of my phone isn't an intentional patriarchal conspiracy to suppress my independent spirit and remind me my place is to oversee and organize every aspect of my family's life.

But every holiday season I'm left feeling that no matter how much we divide household chores or how equal our working hours are, I will always be the default parent.

My husband is the gift expert

The worst part is that my husband is actually the gift giver. For birthdays and holidays he always finds the best presents. He's bought nearly all my kids' favorite toys. He'll scour the internet for gifts that align with their passions and run to Target the week of Christmas to buy a couple of last-minute presents.

Meanwhile, I have no idea what our kids want. I buy them clothes and practical gifts. I point out that they'll get a thousand presents from family members so we can save our money and buy them random things throughout the year. When they open their gifts from us on Christmas morning, I'm just as surprised and excited about what they got as they are.

With each text reminding me I still haven't passed along any gift ideas, my holiday spirit wanes. Though nobody in these messages has asked what I want for Christmas, I would like it to be known that all I want for Christmas is to stop being the default parent.