The Mid-South's Premier Parenting Resource

primary parent and son
Are You the Primary Parent?

People often say that parenting is a50/50 thing … a shared task … an equal responsibility. However, I think that’s complete malarky. And, as a matter of fact, I think it complicates parenting even more if it isn’t clear which parent is in charge. 50/50 parenting is a myth. There is always a primary parent … or at least there should be.

A friend and her husband recently became instant parents through the foster care system, and she asked me for my greatest piece of parenting advice. “Decide who is going to be the primary parent,” I told her. “It makes things so much easier.” In most families, this happens naturally … but it doesn’t hurt to clarify who is the boss.

mom walk to school

Here’s why. Think of all the discussions you WON’T have to have. Who is going to get the children’s schoolbags ready? Who is responsible for maintaining the patient portals with their pediatrician? Who signs the field trip forms? Who registers them for summer camps? Who makes sure they get all their vaccinations and well-child exams? Who fills up their social calendar? Who buys them clothes for the upcoming season? Who gives them medicine before bed? Who decides when it’s time for potty training? I could go on for days, but you get the point.

I’m not saying that both parents can’t be involved in some of these decisions. But who is the default? Which parent always checks with the other first because they are the final decision-maker when it comes to the kids? Somebody has to have the final say.

In our house, we casually refer to this phenomenon as “departments.” My husband would never commit the kids to something, or schedule a doctor’s appointment, or discuss something with our kids’ teachers without talking to me first because that’s my department. Just like I would never switch our Internet provider, or schedule someone to clean our pool, or change the oil in our cars—those things are his department.

mom (the primary parent) and son

For us, it takes a lot of stress out of everyday situations. I’m the primary parent. We all know that—even the kids. And it helps keep our household harmonious.

And for all of you out there thinking that this is not you—that you and your partner have the perfect little 50/50 parenting situation—I still say that’s bologna. Even if you discuss literally everything that comes up…and you make the decision together (awe, that’s sweet), I venture to say it’s still a 51/49 situation.

So, I’m just curious to see how many of you will admit it? Are you the primary parent or not?

More Great Articles

{MMB Thankful Series} :: When Turning Out the Lights Isn’t Enough
Throughout the month of November and in preparation for Thanksgiving, we are sharing the things that we are thankful for as mothers. We're calling this our "Thankful Series." Our contributor Amanda Parks is mother to 9-month-old Madison, and has several things she just couldn't live without as a first-time mom. As a new mother, I'm […]
It’s Time :: Moms, Let’s Do Better
I have a serious question. (This rarely happens. *wink*) When did it become okay to be late? Maybe I’m old-school or am just imagining it (I’m not.), but it seems these days it’s becoming more and more typical for people to casually stroll into meetings 10-15 minutes late, blow off dinner plans for an hour […]
Veterans Day and Our Kids
My first memories of celebrating Veterans Day are from elementary school. In my tiny hometown of Bruceton, TN, we had an awesome celebration each year to honor veterans in the area. Since our school had kindergarten through 12th grade in the same building, the entire school attended the program. I have such fond memories of the Veterans of […]


Memphis Moms is the Mid-South's premier parenting resource.

Encouraging + Equipping + Empowering moms

We strive to build community by connecting area families to relevant resources, local businesses, digital guides, can’t-miss happenings, and most of all — each other!