By: Laura Petix, MS OTR/LEPISODE 96


This one is for my fellow default parents and their partners!

I have a wonderful husband, Mark, who is such an amazing partner and father. And yet, I have fallen into the default parent role. And I know so many of you identify with this, and how suffocating and challenging it can be. All the invisible and mental labor on top of the actual labor! And even moreso for the default parent of a neurodivergent kid.

Despite this, encouraged by Mark, I recently went on a much-needed solo 17-day trip to visit my extended family in the Philippines. I prepared Mark for as much as I could, but I knew I couldn’t (and shouldn’t!) prepare him for everything.

Listen in as I ask Mark about what it was like taking on the role of default parent for those 17 days.

What you’ll hear in this episode:

Trial by fire

I have to leave it to Mark to tell you in his own voice how it went. But here are some of the takeaways that made him say that he would absolutely want to do it again.

I do hope you’ll listen to the episode and that inspires you default parents to take your hands off the reins for a little while if you can. We all need it.

Episode Links

Unscripted: My husband was the default parent for 17 days
Speaker 1 0:00 I think also, part of it is just like a construct that is put upon our society that the mother has to do or be expected to be in that role in certain in certain ways where I think that males are more than capable enough. And I've proven to myself over...

Speaker 1 0:00 I think also, part of it is just like a construct that is put upon our society that the mother has to do or be expected to be in that role in certain in certain ways where I think that males are more than capable enough. And I’ve proven to myself over the last 17 days stretch where you are in here that I was able to do any and everything that you have done for Laura Petix 0:29 Welcome to the sensory wise solutions podcast for parents, where parents can get real, actionable strategies to support kids with sensory processing disorder. I’m Laura, OT and mom to Lilyana a sensory sensitive kid who inherited my anxiety and my love for all things Disney. Consider me your new ot mom, bestie. I know my stuff. But I also know what it’s really like in the trenches of parenting a child with sensory processing disorder. Speaker 2 0:58 Okay, mom, enough about me. Let’s try the podcast. Laura Petix 1:06 Hello, hello, everyone. Welcome back to the podcast. Today’s episode is the second time I get to have my sweet husband Mark on the podcast with me. If you want to go back and listen to our other podcast episode, that was episode 43, called unscripted my husband’s neurodivergent parenting experience. And you can find that in the links below or just type in the OT 43. To find it. Today’s episode is also unscripted as you can quickly tell by the way that we’re talking casually and having fun with it in the episode, but this is more focused on the time that he got to spend with our daughter with me out of the country for 17 days. So we’re talking about how he got to experience default parenting life a little bit. And apologies in advance if the sound is off, I tried my best to edit it appropriately. But this was the first time I had recorded with two people in the same room using two separate mics. So there was a little bit of audio feedback I tried to adjust for. But other than that, let’s get started. Hey, how are you my love? This is your second time back on the podcast. Speaker 1 2:29 I feel very honored. No, that’s happened a lot. I’m Laura Petix 2:33 guessing. So this is completely unplanned, how much notice that I give you of today’s podcast episode 20 to 30 minutes 20 to 30 minutes. But the people want to know, well, people have been asking, I’m going to link in the show notes below our previous episode that we did. And they said that they wanted you back and I keep meaning to have you back but wanted like a specific topic. And I think this makes the most sense, because I just got back from a 17 day trip to the Philippines. And you were left all alone with our sweet, sweet six year old. So I wanted to recap live with you about how it went. We’ve already talked a little bit but I can tell by the way that you were sharing stories that people would want to hear because I always talk about the default parent and the burden of being the default parent and I think you were the default parent for 17 days would you agree by default. So the default parent, obviously, if you’re a single parent, and you are raising a child on your own with no help, you’re automatically the default parent. But I talked about and a lot of parents, a lot of moms feel like we are the default parent, which is when we are the ones who are thinking about a lot of the invisible things that it takes to raise a kid and run a household. And then we are just automatically the first person that the child goes to to ask for literally everything and it doesn’t mean that you’re not willing to help. It’s just Lilyana will just like 99.9% of the time ask me for help that for things that you are very well capable of doing. So for 17 days, you were the default parent, what are your What are your thoughts on that? How did that go? I Speaker 1 4:47 mean, there’s a lot of ways I could take that. But I think just going off of what you’re saying specifically, like the idea of a default parent. I mean, there’s to me it’s like in some ways Yes, I understand because cuz as her mother, you, she came from you and I can never think fathers can never replicate that bond. I mean, it’s impossible. There’s something very real about like that sixth sense that you have an attachment to her, like, there was that example I don’t get into it. But like, you think of things about hers, like, did she take her advent calendar thing yesterday, and she so happened to miss that specific day out of like, you know, two weeks worth, and is something you know, like that. But to say that, like the default parent, the idea of that, to me being the mom is natural, because that’s where the that’s Laura Petix 5:38 Yeah, but there, but there’s like families that have that don’t have biological parents, Speaker 1 5:44 is what I’m getting to is I think also, part of it is just like a construct that is put upon our society that the mother has to do or be expected to be in that role in, in certain ways, where I think that males are more than capable enough. And I’ve proven to myself, over the last 17 days stretch where you are in here that I was able to do any and everything that you have done for her. And as a matter of fact, like as it went on, it got easier and it got more palatable, it didn’t become a thing of like worrying whatsoever, it was just, this is like a, b, c, d, e, f, g, all the way to the alphabet of what you have to do in a day to take care of her which, again, shout out to you and every mom that has to do the things that like I didn’t see. Because you get shielded a little bit if you’re not the default parent, and you’re not the one that’s doing it every day, day over day consistently. Ever. Everything is like the minutiae of the mornings of getting up and packing her breakfast, getting her ready. I’m sorry, packing her lunch, making her breakfast, getting her ready for school, dropping her off at a set time and then just doing that day over day over day. I mean, that doesn’t sound like a lot to do when you do it. Laura Petix 7:09 Yeah, those are the those are the daily routine things. But I’m wondering where there’s some because you already do on our normal routine, you already do every aspect of her day to day routine, just not as much as I do I do it like more often, right? Because Speaker 1 7:24 see is just the ratio of what you do. But I still have them. Yeah. And Laura Petix 7:28 if there was a day when you know if I can’t like do her dinner, but can you take care of dinner, I don’t tell you what to make you still do it. But I still kind of like or like remind you like, don’t forget her snack to forget or dinner. So for 17 days, I didn’t give you any reminders. I couldn’t even because I was on the complete other side of the world. So I’m curious if there are things that you didn’t realize that I did? Or if there are things that you were like that I didn’t prepare you for that you didn’t think of that happened, like, by mistake, you’re like, Oh, I didn’t know I should have done that? Or is there something that was new for you that you figured out kind of stumbled upon? Speaker 1 8:02 No, I think that I think there was not something as specific as XYZ was, like I didn’t I wasn’t expecting this, it’s I think the overarching dynamic of I put a lot of responsibility on myself to not have her just be in another room on a screen on an iPad or just watching bluey for seven straight hours. Like, I wanted to make sure that she was doing things that broke up per day. And we weren’t and I have a tendency to do this because I work remotely from home that a whole day will go by and if especially if I’m juggling work that you realize I haven’t really got outside and I think that’s the biggest thing that jumped out at me is not having a safety net of knowing for over two weeks, unless I actually take her to the park unless I take her to the spectrum you know, to just get air and we go out to eat and all that stuff. Like it’s just the the need to have to be the one to plan and plot the entire day. And honestly, like just make sure that she’s not wasting too much not wasting is not the right time terminology but like everything in moderation and it like put a clock in my head that wouldn’t go away. And so yeah, Zack and I didn’t really feel I again, it’s a luxury that I have because you’re the one who’s usually you know, taking charge of these things and I’m mostly riding shotgun like the most husbands are but like when you’re not there and it’s on me to make sure that she’s lined up for school and picked up at school every day. And she’s making you know, I mean she’s she’s making an effort to enrich herself so she’s not just looking at an iPad like I just have a problem with that myself like and I know Laura Petix 9:50 like you weren’t just able to turn off or like do your own thing like you’re constantly having there’s constantly like a snack you need to remember to prepare for dinner a bad time to get up And then out of, she’s been on the screen for how like you just like you can never fully like turn off that part of your brain. Speaker 1 10:06 It’s an ongoing thing that. I mean, again, I think it speaks to the fact that for those two weeks, I took a full week of work almost unexpectedly off just right beforehand, just because I was like, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. And I needed that week to get adjusted to not having to, because I mean, working remote in what I do with, you know, in working in media and answering emails and always kind of being on around the clock managing a TV network, because like, that doesn’t really turn off either. So it’s like, if I’m not if I’m heightening the, the need to be on 24/7 with her and not leaning on you and all the gaps that you feel. And then I had work as well. So like that second week, when I was with her my, like, my goodness student, I’ve probably few times in my life have I felt that level of pressure just on a full nonstop like, Man, I gotta get this much stuff done in one day just to get to the end of the day. And it’s like, that’s why I’m like single parents that are working career oriented or like, different people. They’re like the real MVPs you Laura Petix 11:09 figured something out the hard way? When you took her to a four D movie experience. Even when you told me this, I already knew backstory, Mark sent me a picture of them. Like when I was in the Philippines, he sent me a picture of him in the movie theater with her with like a bucket of popcorn. Like we’re seeing a movie today. And I was like, Oh, cool. How fun. Like that’s all I got. I thought they just saw a movie came home. And he told me that that was the second movie theater they were in because the first one did not go so well. Because he tried to take her to a Ford D experience. And for those of you who know, you know where this goes, but I want to I haven’t I haven’t let him elaborate. And I want to let me elaborate. So what did you learn? A Speaker 1 11:56 couple of things. Let me just say let me back it up. Now let me let me go in with the reasoning and the logic as to why I thought this may work. We go to Disneyland quite often. And there are several rides that I’ve watched a few movies in this four dx theater setting, which is motion sensor, the seats are activated. There’s you know, it moves and vibrates with the sounds of them of the movie stuff sprays at you all that stuff. So I’m like, Yeah, this is kind of like that. That new. That new ride of that Mickey ride, right? Where do you minis? Yeah, there’s a lot going on in that and I was like, That’s Apples to Apples enough. I’m like, okay, and it’s trolls so I’m like, Okay, it’s, it’s a movie where it’s a relatively safe bet it’s gonna be it’s gonna be tamed. But then we get there and we’re sitting and we get there early enough to catch a preview and then there’s this crazy intense preview for basically to show off the four dx settings in the feed, which is what what are the four DS which is what I was explaining you it’s basically you’re sitting on an earthquake type seat where it’s going to move and it’s going to be vibrations with anything that’s happening in the movie. There’s loud noises. Water will spray and air you know, air wind will spray in your face to mimic it all that stuff right? I probably should have thought of that part a little bit closer that’s on me but like I’m like also, she likes rides and she’s getting a little bit older. What’s the worst event I mean? You never know until you try so I want to try I don’t want to proactively rule out what it takes to it right i That wasn’t the case that didn’t end up happening like I said we were there the preview happened it was just crazy intense like thriller scene that was meant to play up the intensity of water is sprayed the whole deal and she lost it like really big freaking out freaking out and I was begging you I promise it won’t be like this when the trolls are out right branch will be a lot and could not even make it past the opening credits and I was like if you want to go again trolls was playing every 20 minutes yeah several theaters hopped out went to a different theater left that off like I said I didn’t tell you that part because there was no need to share that with you but lesson learned Laura Petix 14:21 what’s the lesson Speaker 1 14:24 she heard the things that she is uncomfortable with that is pretty predictable like that probably should be looked at a little bit closer by me that’s a my bad you don’t I mean that’s that’s all Laura Petix 14:36 like that you are willing to try it out and that you’re just saying are like that Speaker 1 14:41 I maintain my reasoning will stay the same even if it’s something that is again, I didn’t put into enough stock that it was far likely to end up that way but I needed to see it myself because Laura Petix 14:53 watch the second movie and she was fine. Like enjoyed it. She was able to like regulate and get into it. Yeah, she wasn’t like okay, Okay, we Speaker 1 15:00 were totally fine. It ended up being a smaller theaters way more her pace. So, yeah, I think the things, I just got to put more stock into knowing that if there is something that is likely to cause a disruption to the things that I am clearly aware of after six plus years, then yeah, do you pay attention? Laura Petix 15:20 I think it’s fair that you wanted to try it. Speaker 1 15:23 But that’s my point is I will maintain that, knowing that you would never go into that scenario because you just know too much. I still have a little bit of naive you’re Laura Petix 15:32 like a learn by what is it? What like, what Speaker 1 15:35 did I file? Like, if you tell me an error person? Tell me that pot is hot. I still probably gonna touch you to see how how Laura Petix 15:42 hot is it? Like that hot. Okay, Unknown Speaker 15:45 but this one was really hot. Laura Petix 15:47 I got burned. Yes. Unknown Speaker 15:48 But at the end of the day, I mean, like I say it was 10 minute lesson. And now I know better for the next time. So were there anything else like that? Yeah, I thought she wanted to see the Grinch. She doesn’t like the Grinch. We’re not gonna you Laura Petix 16:03 I think the overall theme for her and for like I’ve said this about myself. We don’t like surprises. neurodivergent people do not like surprises like it’s not fun. It’s genuinely not fun for us. So I think those two things right? You wanted to you bought like Grinch tickets to see the musical as a surprise. Talk Speaker 1 16:22 about that. Yeah, to your point. I woke her up on Saturday morning with a surprise Hey, guess what? Vu grandma are going to see the Grinch. Yeah. Primo seats. Ceri. You know what I mean? Center or center mezzanine. Didn’t even know Grinch gives me nightmares. The last X amount of times I’ve seen it. Well guess what Dave? Grinch is now gonna give me nightmares for completely different reasons. Laura Petix 16:45 So you get to resell tickets. Speaker 1 16:48 Yeah, that’s yeah, took a little bit of a took a little bit of a hit on that too. But that Laura Petix 16:52 is your thing. You love surprises. You love surprising other people which is very sweet and thoughtful. And also you’re learning that some people like it will, like, decrease the value of the gift for some people myself and Liliana. I Speaker 1 17:09 think to that point. I think you’ve realized over the 15 years we’ve been together I pick my spots way more on surprise. Yeah, although two Yeah. And I pick them to win. I know that they’re more likely to. And again, like to your point, it lessens the impact when you’re always trying to surprise but that again the troll thing wasn’t necessarily a surprise that was a miss judgment that was like Oh, I thought this was going to enhance the movie that we were going to watch anyway. Laura Petix 17:34 I guess surprise meaning not knowing what to expect like if I would have taken if I was so brave to try a 40 I would tell her exactly what it’s like the chairs are gonna move no no. Water went the other way. I was like didn’t even tell her what took about air dropper Speaker 1 17:47 and the seat and see what happens and didn’t even make it to the opening number man. I was like, Can you at least wait until branch comes out? It’ll be like bright. Like it’ll be vibrating but like happiness. And Laura Petix 18:00 you? No, no. Oh, no, it didn’t work out. Unknown Speaker 18:05 That’s okay. But you Laura Petix 18:07 I didn’t remind you I was remembering to remind you but I did it to like sign her homework folder because I on Thursdays I usually get her folder out. I sign it and I like prop it up in her backpack for Friday mornings when you do her school so that you don’t forget. I didn’t set any of that up. Yeah, Speaker 1 18:24 no, I mean, honestly, I felt like there was a support group amongst the folks at her school where they all realize you are gone because they just it’s funny because you can’t hide whenever you got to do drop like it’s it’s like wait a minute, why are we seeing dad 12 straight days or 13 straight days when moms Laura Petix 18:46 don’t even think I told her teacher? No, I know. The entire village knew that I was not their teacher came Speaker 1 18:55 out when she was like solo dad. How are we doing? It’s this is news in the class apparently. But and also man, I can’t say it enough. I was telling it to you and telling it to her like she deserves all the credit in the world. And she made it so easy on me. Well, yeah, that was really good for you. Yeah, man. She’s like a little you she really is. Like, I think as she gets older, because she she sees how you are then she’s just gonna mimic you naturally Laura Petix 19:21 because she’ll tell you if you do something wrong that’s why I kind of these are all the papers Speaker 1 19:25 like keep them over here so we can show mommy later. Yeah, and you sign this and she Laura Petix 19:29 Yeah, she was kind of like half half running it a little bit as well you know, but I have to say because I like I I shared this on Instagram like the story and I was like Mark did so well and he then they ran everything as well as they could and all this and I’m so proud of him and this and then a lot of moms were like proud and happy to but they’re like when it’s just us like no like we just expected like we don’t get like if you if the roles were reversed and you went away for 17 days. Oh yeah, no one would be like how did Laura do? Like well Great Lord. It’s just like the same old thing, right? Like, how do you feel about the fact that people, there’s like a conversation now a lot about how dads get overly appreciated when they do anything, parent related and public, like a dad is pushing a cart at Costco with two kids without the mom and like, oh my god, what a great dad. And the mom is doing it. And like, it’s just like, oh, there’s like another thing. It’s like, what do you think? Do you think dads should not get as much credit? Or do you think we should give moms more credit? Or like, what do you think? Speaker 1 20:31 Are the My take is that it speaks to the fact that it’s not been normalized in our society that dads are doing these things frequently enough that yeah, actually needs to be recognized. Like, these are things you should be doing like I don’t I, if people want to, because it’s the traditional, I’m the dad, and she’s a daddy daughter. And it looks Oh, my gosh, she did so like, I’m not in it for that. I’m just doing what I’m supposed to do. And I just feel like it’s Laura Petix 20:59 but do you think if you see a dad, like out with his daughter, or son or just without the mom that it’s like, oh, like what a good dad? Or is it just like, he’s being a parent? Speaker 1 21:09 I don’t look at it as Oh, I just think he’s being apparent, because that’s how I am. And if people see me out in public with her and think that, yeah, I can’t You can’t control other people’s thoughts. But I just think that, once that, that I just feel like there’s still and a little bit of an a lack of recognition to the fact that dads have been doing this to me, and it’s like, I don’t think it needs to be overly praised. Like, I just think that it’s like, oh, cool. He’s capable, like I’m capable. Laura Petix 21:39 I mean, I will always praise you as my partner and showing appreciation for you. But I don’t think that the publicity, the public upright, what am I trying to say, the public of public appreciation needs to be as like, Oh, my God, he did it. And it’s like, Speaker 1 21:55 and I think that’s what I’m saying. I think from the person doing it, I don’t expect that I’ll do it for that. When we’re partners. It’s not unlike being on it’s any team that I’ve been on, when I was playing sports growing up, it’s like, you have to be able to depend on the other person. And conversely, you don’t want to not be able to carry your own weight, like I don’t want to ever not, I don’t ever want to be the weak link. So I take that personally, I’m always like, okay, fine, you want to be like, I will make it so that you can be gone and there’s no drop off, right? It’s like needing to pick up a slack for for the for a teammate who’s injured or something like that. It’s like, oh, you’re not gonna be around, you’re not full capability then step up. Like that’s, again a different mental mindset mentality. But that also helped me to and she also to her credit as a six year old is so much different as she then she was when you’re talking about her, a two year old, two years old, or four years old. And, you know, she made it to where I could tell she adapted. Because in the way she’s acted since you’ve been back, she was not acting like that. And she was giving more rope. And she was she was seeing like the like the friggin expression of stress and frustration and guilt Sometimes a combination of work, but just having a juggle her and she’d be like, Okay, daddy, I can do this myself. Like, she would just be super aware to the point where I was like, that’s really considerate of her. So it was like nice to see that from her in a way that I don’t think would be possible when well, Laura Petix 23:21 and I already sort of said this, this is expected they hold it together for the non default parent. She kind of like releases and I get that as I’m like that as well. Did you have to manage any big emotions or meltdowns when I was gone? Like there was not even an option. There Speaker 1 23:39 was not a me and a half two episode of her. Again, I think knowing Liliana could see that I was literally doing everything I could because it’s like who’s getting you ready for school? Right? And like I’m in there and I’m I’m like, Hey, can you eat breakfast while I jump on a zoom call, right? Like, on that level. And just like at so many times, I’m like, this is this is brutal. This is this is super hard. But her adaptability, like really jumped out because I actually it’s one of those things where like I it was she was acting so good and making it like, palatable for me where it was like, I actively notice I’m like, down. I was like you like making it to where this is managed was like thanks for being so good. And she’s just like, she was she was good. I know. It was she was just acting different. So would you do this again? 1,000% I want to do it again. You do? I do. You’re so sweet. I’m serious. Laura Petix 24:36 Really? Like yeah, like what do you think considering I mean, obviously, it wasn’t easy. Speaker 1 24:41 If I can remove work from the equation especially Yes, because like I said, I think the stress of always being on as a remote, you know, employee for major or, you know, major media company. There’s always an underlying level of work stress that gets compounded whenever where you’re like, hey, you’re, you’re you’re running point by yourself. But, I mean, this is one of like, as much as you were saying, and that’s what I was trying to get across to you is that I didn’t share some of these things with you, because I was not trying to add any stress to you, because it’s not gonna, it’s not going to help ya by any means. But also, it really wasn’t that stressful of a time, like in all things being considered, everything was going so well that I wanted to convey to you that like, you shouldn’t feel any sense of guilt or worry or concern that man, maybe I stay too long or Oh, I you know, I could have cut the trip earlier because like, look at how not Dude, we were chillin, like, we were swimming, going back to what you said, what I do it again, I would say 1,000% Because like, I can’t ever get back the one on one with her. It was like, it was nice. I Laura Petix 25:51 know. And I know, for a long time, there was like, even you know, recently, but for a long time, in her earlier years, you had a hard time not connecting with her, but like feeling adequate. I think, as her parent, I think you’ve also talked about how it’s harder. Being a partner of parenting with me, someone like me, who knows so much that you just naturally always feel inadequate about that. And the fact that she’s not a, an average neurotypical kid where you can just rely on instinct for her. And it’s like a second language. And then she’s so emotional. And so much like you that it’s also harder to see, like, there’s so many things at play that I know some of her earlier times and her dynamic with you is tricky. I’ve heard you say that before about, you know, you and her connecting over things and, and feeling confident in your relationships. I’m glad I knew that this would be good for everybody. But the way that it played out I think is way better than I could have anticipated. That makes me happy. I remember when we were having the hardest time with her. And a big part of it was you and her kept bumping heads. Like every time she had a meltdown. If you showed your face, she would just like lose it even more. I remember talking about this with my therapist who was really on basically our family therapist at this point. And she was talking about how you doing more self care tasks for her are with her like bath time getting ready, like all the those things that just naturally creates more of an attachment and a bond that stronger. So I remember her saying that you should do more of that. And I remember feeling like I don’t think I can ask Mark to do more than what he’s doing because we’re already stressed. And then how is he going to want to do that if every time he’s around her they’re like bickering. So that was like a stuck point for me. But I remember two things. One, before you went to Atlanta, before we moved out of the bay area for like that month before you left you were doing bath time, like every single day, bath time and bedtime, it was your thing because I was like I’m soaking up all like my nighttime time before you leave. So it was like a full month or more of every night was your bath time. And I remember you guys were so strong at that point. And now forwarding it back to this and noticing how you guys bonded over her her and she appreciates you doing things for even though now she could do a lot of independent but she knows what goes into morning routines like I can see it and that’s exactly what the therapist was talking about when when they feel cared for and taken care of. That’s like the strongest form or one of the ways to bond so I think that that’s a huge thing to keep to keep so I’m excited that this feels like a new level I feel like of our like triangle family, which we always talk about now is one and done and I feel so I feel stronger about that decision. Every day. We talked about this in last episode like it doesn’t waver I don’t get baby fever. I get dog fever. If anything I want a dog but for our family like we’re just getting stronger and stronger. Unknown Speaker 29:02 I feel I don’t get fever at all. Laura Petix 29:04 I feel more competent. Do you feel more confident as a parent? Unknown Speaker 29:07 I feel I’ve never Laura Petix 29:08 makes coffee? Do you feel so good? Yeah, as Speaker 1 29:10 confident as a parent is like adults and anything because like and Laura Petix 29:14 you’re so much more confident and fluent in like conscious parenting or dental parenting decisions and logic and like that’s so new. No, Speaker 1 29:24 it was clear that it strengthen our connection together because you know, it’s something that I want us to be able to do independent of you I don’t I like I want to have a bond with her. That’s just us too. That is going to require time to you for you to not be in the room and I and vice versa and I’m going to be gone in times where I’m out on whether it’s work, whether it is trips with friends or family, whatever that is going to be you and her and you guys are always going to have the connection of being mother daughter, right? Like there’s that same gender connection right so I I just feel like I got to do everything I can to take advantage of an opportunity like this and not look at it as like, oh my god, I’m dreading, how am I going to survive? It’s like, no, like, I’m going to thrive, I’m going to do things my way. Like I said, she might have had Lunchables a few more times and you would have been cool with at the end of the day, she survived like, and yeah, she probably she hit the popsicle cart like seven days in a row after school. That’s not flying with you, right? Like, to me, these are the concessions that I can make where I’m like, Cool. Like you given me the ball, I can run point, I played point guard differently than you I have a different style, I have a different style to my game. And ultimately, we’re going to get the same result we’re going to win. But like I know that I’m flashier in this way, I’m going to do it. I’m going to try to do this Trolls Movie and have it blow up in my face like a turnover by like trying to throw us behind my back. Always trying to make an analogy for sports. Sorry, but like, I just I that’s the way I thought of it is like I looked at it as and I think that that’s what I would hope anybody that gets put in a situation where you know, PSA to any of my friggin husbands out there like, yeah, bro, you can do this. Like if you’re in it every step of the way. Let your significant others let the moms of the world let let you get your sanity back, right, because I see you come back. You’re more refreshed than I’ve seen you the entire year, a year that you absolutely dominated which you earned the right to go and do your thing and get right. And now you come back and you refresh all of us. So it’s like, yeah, it helps system, Laura Petix 31:35 it’s a system. Speaker 1 31:36 That’s the thing meant to just be the person who’s setting the whole course for the day with meals and where we’re going. There was that level of like, I don’t want to just stay at home for several reasons. One, she’s just gonna stay on more likely to just stay on the screen. And yeah, too. It’s just like, okay, but that takes some more energy. It’s like, yeah, we gotta I gotta round them up, we got to go to the park, we got to go find parking, we got to find a restaurant and nobody’s making decisions. And that’s where I feel like when you are here, and you’re just because that’s how you’re structured. And I usually just default and defer to you. Because you’re usually very much more particular about the windows of timing in your day than I am. That’s why you end up naturally taking lead because you’re like, Well, are we going 30 or 245? That whole dynamic of I can’t just wake up and take care of my own day. Oh my gosh, dude. And the first week no work much easier. Second week with Oh, I got zoom calls at like 730-839-1030. And then oh, by the way, we’re still trying to go to downtown Disney tonight around traffic and I gotta figure out what we’re like, Dude, I got pickup. All of that. I was like, I don’t know how people do this as like a full time living. Laura Petix 32:47 I think the thing that helped the most. In the past year was what it’s been a year because I got COVID This time last year. That was when I last I was still doing her. You got it. I was. Yeah, I was doing all school drop offs, all school pickups, unless I like couldn’t. So it’d be every once in a while. And I would say Daddy’s taking you to school today. Mommy has a call or dad, he’s picking you up. It was like sporadic and not predictable. And then the week I got COVID I woke up obviously, untested. And I had COVID. And I was like, I can’t take her to school. So it was not prepared for her. And that was like a really bad drop off for you. Right. And then the next week was also bad. And then I didn’t have COVID. But I remember my therapist again was like, I think you should make this like a weekly thing. So she gets used to it and Mark gets used to it. You get reps in and I was like, that’s a good idea. But again, I felt guilty asking and I was like, Why do I feel guilty asking? It’s her other parent. It’s not like a favor. It’s, you know, like, it’s not even something I need to say please, thank you sorry to do. It’s like, okay, she’s right. And we started doing that. And it was a transition. But eventually it got easier. It was just expected. So I think and that’s what gave you then you had every single part of her day and week already done and covered and knew what to do that just you just did it every day for seven. But I always recommend that for families if they’re trying to get their other spouse or partner involved. Make it a routine and start small at first so that it’s predictable even for the child and even when it’s uncomfortable, not rescue them like there was a couple mornings I was like should I just step in and I’m like nope, I’m not going to rescue them I’m going to let them stumble through it have a hard time eventually these will go away and it worked but well done comfortable. You Speaker 1 34:32 can’t just come in for when things are at its best like that. Yes. I mean again that’s like a lesson for life like it’s not about when things are going well it’s about when you have to deal with adversity, right? Yeah. And especially with her you knew that in her especially your when she was younger there were it’s not a matter of if there’s gonna be another one. It’s like, oh, when the next one comes next month. Am I gonna take it the next meltdown? Yes, exactly. Yeah, sorry. I didn’t need to be clear. Yeah, it was never going to be question of if it was like, Alright, I gotta be better. So it’s just like anything else? How are you going to better react to what’s going to happen? Because she’s gonna be the same when this happens again, what are you going to do to not be? Right? I guess I’m saying this to me, but like, yeah, that’s how I would start trying to approach it. But yeah, it’s just reps, you need to be thrown into the fire a little bit. And I think to your point of like, the pickup or school drop offs and doing things in the morning, and I mean, for me, it was because my, you know, again, and companies based in the East Coast, I work earlier in the morning. So I know you probably felt the level of guilt because I do have a lot of calls at the time where she has dropped off. I mean, I literally had to move stuff around when you were gone. But I mean, going back to that, though, the you should feel no level. Like I felt the when you asked me, I felt like I was obligated to Columbia. I was like, Yeah, of course I can, one day out of the week on Fridays, when usually things are more chill with work in emails. And yeah, so that definitely, once you took that, and you remove the kind of veil from Oh, that’s what the morning looks like what you do whenever I’m usually fortunate enough to either sleep or have to jump on a call, right? If you’re taking your, you know, to school, once I’ve seen it, and I’ve seen it on Fridays, it’s like, yeah, it’s gonna just be more reps doing it every day. But I already know what the blueprint is. When you don’t have that mental block in your head, like, I can’t get ready for school. Like, it’s so much it’s the hair and it’s like, oh, you brush your teeth and what you’re making her lunch, you’re not doing it, then I’m like, dude, yeah, when you let yourself get all in, but it’s like, Dude, it’s just break it down, wake up. Same time, it’s routine. And that’s all it becomes. And again, we know her she’s a creature of habit, like most kids aren’t like, she appreciated that. And we were in line early every day whenever I was there, because I didn’t want to, you know, so hyper aware of like, I got no safety net if I don’t wake up, so I made sure that she’s there. So all that to say is, I just think that naturally, you know, when you’re you’re that they’re the void got filled. You mean at work? You have to I mean, all the choice and fortunately, it’s her and she’s your daughter, right? What does that mean? You know what that means? You know, damn, well, when I’m saying, Look at me, like, she’s, she’s your Dude, she’s a little you already I came in and imagine what my life is gonna be like, when she’s four or five, six years from now, twice her age, like, she’s going to just be just the how you are the way she approaches things. And I appreciated that because she’s very compassionate though. Like, that’s the thing that came across to me more than anything is that, you know, I’m pretty expressive with my emotions, whenever I’m going through a lot. And if I’m huffing and puffing, he’s just kind of reading the route like her ability to read the room as a six year old. Incredible dude. He’s Laura Petix 37:51 very, very aware like Speaker 1 37:52 in neutral he really did. I’m not even joke like I’m saying I struggled but like, it neutralized me a couple of times because it’s okay to like, the way it cracked me up where it was like frustrated interaction, maybe just tired from the day and someone on the road, didn’t use their turn sit didn’t use their blinker. And I’m like, oh, you know, I just I me I make a comment around it. Come on, bro. Just turn your blinker on and she from the backseat. It’s okay, Daddy, you’re a good driver. It’s Laura Petix 38:23 like when she when that happens. She feels so responsible for our feelings. It’s very compassionate, but also something that I want to clarify with her like you’re not responsible for our feelings, you know, but she which is why with kids like her who are very highly sensitive from a sensory perspective and emotional perspective. Like I’m always an as someone for myself who’s so anxious. I’m always trying to like not radiate that off onto her. But it’s hard. We’re both emotionally expressive people. Speaker 1 38:53 I mean, if I can be honest, yeah, the radiation thing, it feels like that does happen. Back in here now. She’s acting if number of times she says mommy and she’s asking for things that when you weren’t here, she didn’t. Laura Petix 39:07 It was just I know, I know. She’s wanting just and that’s what I’m talking about. Like when you take care of them and you do things for them. They feel loved and attached. And she’s asking for me to like brush her teeth, and to help like wash part of her body that I’ve never I haven’t had to do in a long time. She’s just really wanting to soak up more of the connection with me from when I was gone, which I get that so I’ve been trying to be really patient about it like a Speaker 1 39:30 hangover boomerang to I mean, like she hasn’t even greeted me the last few days. Say, Hey, bro, I’m still here. Laura Petix 39:36 I know. She does have a hard time managing like the love and connection for both of us at the same time. The three of us combined in a room or whatever we do is more likely to cause a fight or an argument than when she’s just with you or just with me that’s been a constant since she’s been little. Speaker 1 39:52 It’s like my visuals. We both have a cup, one cup of love each right? Yeah, you have a cup. I have a cup and she has one cup when you work I got to fill her cup all the way to the top. Yeah, overflow, right? Yeah, Laura Petix 40:02 yeah, that’s your back row, most of it. And it’s too much. I could totally see that great analogy. Listen, Speaker 1 40:08 man, you know what I mean? This is not what I’m specialized in, by the way, just really good at my day job. I’m just telling you what I see. You’re Laura Petix 40:17 great. Okay. Love you. Thanks for being here. Speaker 1 40:23 I love you too. Babe. I’m always here. See Laura Petix 40:27 you next time. Take care. Before I sign off, I just had to record this last final message out there, I want to say thank you again, to my sweet husband for taking the time to dish. Everything that happened while I was gone. He is such a good sport. I know I mentioned it in the episode that I feel like some dads today may get a little too much credit. Maybe that’s because moms feel underappreciated. But in this particular scenario, I don’t think I give enough appreciation to my husband, this was such a huge trip. And not one ounce of guilt on my end was felt from him for taking so much time away from my family. He not only didn’t make me feel guilty, but he encouraged every late night, every drink I had, He really really wanted me to fully fully unwind. And that is that is something that I am very, very grateful for. And so if there are any non default parents out there listening, this is your sign to give the default parent some some time for themselves, whatever that may look like whatever you can afford in terms of time, resources, finances, make it happen, let them know that you appreciate them. Because it can get pretty exhausting and draining and very easy to lose yourself in the day to day of being a default parent. All right, take care. I’ll talk to you next time. If you enjoyed this podcast, please consider rating it and leaving a review which helps other parents find me as well. Want to learn more from me. I share tons more over on Instagram at the OT butterfly. See you next time. Transcribed by




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Laura Petix, MS OTR/L

I’m an enneagram 6, so my brain is constantly moving. My OT lenses never turn off and I can’t “un-see” the sensory and other developmental skills that go in to literally every activity. I love taking what I see and breaking it down into simple terms so parents can understand what goes into their child’s behavior and skills.

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