Research has shown that women, especially moms, are in a mental health crisis and needing help more than ever. In fact, a recent survey conducted by Calm found women “take less care of their own mental health after becoming a caregiver, while men take better care of themselves.”
Moms are burnt out and overrun because — *shocker* — women in heteronormative partnerships typically take on the brunt of the parenting — the snacks, the homework help, the rides to a friend’s house. They’re also the ones planning, organizing, and making sure the entire household runs smoothly.
One TikTok mom points out how taxing being a default parent can be as well as how cushy it is to not be the default parent.
Sure, there are dads and partners out there that are more involved than ever. In fact, millennial dads spend 3 times as much time with their kids than previous generations ever did. However, that’s really still not enough. The playing field is not level.
TikTok mom and content creator, Cassey Ahlas, vented in her car, specifically addressing those parents out there who may have it way better than they even know based on their day-to-day life.
“Let me just say this,” Ahlas starts in her now-viral video. “If you can take any job that works any hours without having to worry about your children or child care. If you can get up in the morning and get ready for that job, drink your coffee, eat your breakfast in peace, not have to get any kids ready, not have to take any kids to daycare….”
“If you can make plans and not have to worry about childcare. If you can plan a vacation and not have to worry about packing your kids, making sure your kids have everything, or finding childcare while you take that vacation. If you can do a daily life thing such as go to the grocery store, go to the gym, any of those things, and not have to worry about childcare, you better thank the default parent.”
Ahlas, who admits she is the default parent in her own family, notes how challenging and draining of a job it is on top of everything else in life she has going on.
“I’m the default parent in my situation, 24/7, 365. And this shit 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.”
Ahlas’ video quickly went viral — gaining over 3 million views — with thousands of TikTok users commenting on her video with their own default parent woes.
“I am the default parent. And my husband wonders why I’m always in a bad mood. He has zero stress and I have it all,” one user wrote.
Another commenter didn’t even bother giving non-default parents the benefit of the doubt, writing, “Nah, the non default parent is fully aware of ALL this. They do. not. care. THAT is the burn of it all.”
One user pointed out, “Men can be great providers but fail at being great fathers, and partners. I am so thankful to have a partner whose an amazing father.”
However, men are no longer the sole providers in most households. In 2022, almost 68% of moms with children under 6 participated in the labor force compared with 76.7% of mothers whose youngest child was age 6 to 17.
A recent poll found that 42% of working mothers surveyed were diagnosed with anxiety and/or depression in 2022, compared to 28% of the general population and 25% of child-free coworkers.
One study from 2022 found women in the U.S. spend about 4.5 hours per day caring for their families and homes, while men spend about 2.8 hours a day on the same or similar tasks. This also includes family mental health care. The mental burden becomes even greater for working moms.
So, basically, at the bare minimum, show some gratitude to a default parent (and then let her have a spa day). Or, even better, try doing your part and making it so both you and your partner can have a little time and freedom during the day.