The "Default Parent" Phenomenon Is Quickly Taking Over Social Media

The "default parent" concept is taking over social media, which refers to someone who's first in line to care for their kids and child-related tasks.

Allison DeGrushe - Author

Sep. 8 2023, Published 3:37 p.m. ET

A mom helps their child with their homework.
Source: Getty Images

The Gist:

  • A "default parent" refers to the parent who's first in line to care for their kids and child-related responsibilities.
  • The concept is going viral of social media, especially TikTok.
  • Many parents are taking to the platform to share their experiences as a "default parent."
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If you find your child favoring you over your partner for anything and everything (comfort, permission, etc.), you just might be the "default parent." But wait, what does that actually mean? The relatively new concept is currently taking social media by storm, and we think there's no better time to delve into the intriguing phenomenon.

So, keep scrolling to learn more!

A dad and his three daughters reading a book together.
Source: Getty Images
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What is a "default parent"?

Although being the "default parent" is a massive trend on TikTok, it's more than that — it's an exhausting and stressful experience that destroys the physical and mental well-being of millions of parents (specifically mothers) every day.

According to Psychology Today, the "default parent" is the one who is "first in line when it comes to caring for children, child-related responsibilities, or home-related tasks." Now, even if two parents are present and ready to care for their kid(s), the "default parent" usually carries the bigger load in parenting.

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TikTok user Cassey Ahlas (@casseysjourney) recently spoke about being a "default parent" in a now-viral video, telling her followers that she and all the other "default parents" deserve to be appreciated for all the hard work they do.

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"If you can do daily life things such as go to the grocery store, go to the gym ... and not have to worry about childcare, you better thank the default parent because, let me tell you right now, I'm the default parent in my situation," Cassey said. "24/7, 365 and this s--- is stressful. It is the most selfless, thankless, loving job on the planet."

She continued, "So, if you can do your daily life every day, and not have to worry about your kids being taken care of, you better thank the default parent."

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Many other "default parents" have taken to TikTok to share their frustrations. One woman revealed that she gave her husband their baby so she could get ready for the day. She stopped for two minutes, and her husband saw this as an opportunity to ditch the kid and mow the lawn — even though she clearly wasn't done getting ready.

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"No one understands the resentment of being the 'default parent.' Imagine being the mother and having to ask to do anything, but your husband can just grab his keys and leave," TikTok creator Mariah Olson (@mvolson19) said.

Mariah added, "You're stuck with all the responsibilities of the kids while he gets to leave the house daily to live his life just like it was before kids without feeling guilty or worry about how the kids are ... because you're expected to have it all done. He gets to come home to clean clothes, groceries in the fridge, the kids taken care of, and you're expected to be happy when he's home... please normalize this feeling..."

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