Let me preface this blog post with a very important fact. My husband is very present and he helps a lot. He is my partner in every sense of the word. But at the end of the day, I am the default parent.

Even though we both work, so much falls back on me simply because I am the mom. If I’ve learned anything about men, it’s that they are just wired differently. This may not be the case for all men but it is for an overwhelming amount. Yes, they excel and have strengths that we don’t but damn we carry one hell of a load as women and mothers. We create the lists. We know what everyone needs before they need it. We are always one step ahead.

On the rare occasion my husband and I both wrap up work early, we like to get the girls from school together. This particular day I hadn’t made it to the grocery yet so we stopped there first. As we were checking out I was chatting it up with my man, Ronnie (the checkout clerk). Then I waved and said bye to the other employees as I left. Zach said to me, ‘it’s so funny how you know all of these employees!’ We then had a conversation about how the food gets inside our pantry which led to how every item we use daily gets inside our house which led to how the girls have clothes to wear, get signed up for activities, etc. Spoiler alert, it’s me. The mom. The fall back. The default.

When the girls are sick at school, I am (99% of the time) the one that drops everything to get them. When they are out of school for the million and one holidays, they come to work with me. When we go on a trip, I order everything we need and pack the girls. When we want to do a date night, I coordinate the childcare. The list goes on and actually never ends. Moms are like sponsorships. Life is literally and figuratively made possible by moms. Being the default parent while simultaneously being the mom is a very heavy load to bear. Admittedly, it can be too heavy at times for me to handle and breaks me down. But I get back up because what I know now more than ever is that I can do hard things. I am damn proud of myself for everything I can accomplish. Do yourself a favor; take a step back and look from the outside in. Would you be impressed by everything you do? I’ll answer this one for you. It’s without a doubt a HELL YES. Be proud of yourself!

I think if you ask any dad (or non default parent) they would agree with most of this. I know because I’ve talked about all of it with Zach. He says, ‘I could do what you do, it would just look very different.’ I literally laughed out loud when he said that to me. He tells me that he is endlessly grateful for all I do and the sacrifices I make. And let me tell you, it’s really nice to hear. So to all the dads or partners out there, if you’re reading this, tell the default parent of your family that you see them and appreciate all that they do.

If you’re looking to do something special for the default parent in your life, I would tell you to give them a break from planning it all. Plan a date night (or trip) where they don’t have to handle any aspect of it—from childcare to plans for the kids while you’re gone to where you’re going to what you’ll do when you get there. Truly no better way to show a default parent you see them then by doing what they do every single day. Take the wheel even if it’s only for a night. I can guarantee you, this gesture will go a really long way!