Being the default parent is HARD. By definition, the default parent is the one who carries the majority of the mental and physical load of running a household. While this might start innocently enough, it can quickly become exhausting – and resentment will inevitably show up. So, let’s take a look at how can you get your partner more involved in sharing the load. Here are a few ideas to help;

  1. Talk to your partner calmly – sometimes all it takes is talking to your partner about the toll that the load is having on you. Be ready to calmly discuss all the tasks you take on at home and the ones you would like to let go of, get help with, or hand over. Draw up a list together and negotiate on the tasks. Aiming for 50:50 is rarely realistic, but you can work towards making small, helpful changes that lighten your load.
  2. Find opportunities for them to experience the load – whether it is just for a few hours or a whole weekend, give your partner the chance to hold all the responsibilities while you take time for yourself. Try to do as little preparation as possible, remembering they are a capable adult who can figure it out for themselves.
  3. Let go of control – I know doing the above will bring up all kinds of anxiety for many parents, who are used to having total control over all the tasks at home. Try letting go of some of the control and let your partner figure out their own way of dong things. Their way may not be the same, balls may be dropped, and that’s okay.
  4. Let your partner make mistakes – learning takes time, and mistakes are common. Let your partner struggle so they can learn and build their confidence in the same way you did.
  5. If your partner can’t or won’t help, find additional support where you can. Remember, parenting was never meant to happen alone. We have lost our village, and sometimes we need to build one. Don’t be afraid to outsource or ask for help.
  6. Finally, if your partner lacks empathy or refuses to engage, then it might be worth seeking out a therapist for support. You don’t have to struggle alone.

Rebalancing the load when you’re the default parent takes time and effort – but it is definitely worth it!  So have those crucial conversations, sit with your own discomfort and theirs, and keep at it. You deserve it!

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