I feel like "switches" in the community is an incredibly uncommon, unrealistic “personality”. Instead, I believe in big brother, big sister, and big sibling types to more accurately describe someone who regresses but can also comfortable caretake at times. So, a lot of what I'm going to say is going to reference that point in my mind and experience. I don't have anything against
people who claim to identify as switches, but I don't believe it's likely accurate and is probably a misunderstanding of what being a little is in reality.
Littles are much like children, and often have very childlike base personalities at all times, sometimes expressed more clearly than at other times. I think we all agree that a large portion of the little personality trait is being childish and childlike frequently. It isn't something people have developed to "cope"
with maturity or "deal" with stress, but it is something that is inherit about them. While it is uncommon, being a little is
a personality trait. It isn't a role, an action, an idea, a game, or a mechanism for anything.
Being a little is very similar to childhood in that sometimes children seem more mature than they truly are at the time. Being a little also has fluctuations where there are times the little seems more comfortable with responsibilities than other times. Sometimes a little doesn't necessarily display their personality trait in clearly obvious ways. Sometimes they feel very regressed or childlike and it is apparent they are a little.
Being a little is something of an adult naturally being drawn to childlike mannerisms, behaviors, emotional responses, and interests. There are some things that we naturally mature out of as we age, but littles often don't seem to do this in the way that is to be expected.
What I’m getting to here is that children like to roleplay. Children like to "play house" and "play school". It's incredibly common that children pair or group up with one another and assign someone as the makeshift parent of other the other child(ren). This make-believe helps the child gain a better understanding of responsibility in a stress-free situation where they are not expected to logically perform exactly as a parent. The children do not suddenly "switch" into actually being adults or infants during this roleplay. It's just a temporary, and very enjoyable even, game to play together.
After awhile those children become tired or bored with pretending to be who they are not. While the game is good, fun, and enjoyable it always must come to an end at some point because that isn't who they truly, really are as individuals. It can even become irritating to a child if they feel pressured to continue playing when they don’t want to anymore. At some point the "parent" child may say, "Okay, I'm tired. Let's play something else," or the "baby" child says, "I don't want to be a baby any more, can we play something else?" and they will move onto something else. Nobody wants to play pretend all day long, every day. You’d feel disconnected from yourself, right? Children also feel that way and want to go back to being themselves no matter how nice the game was.
Littles already play pretend a lot when it comes to things like school, work, and even becoming parents to biological children. These are roles they have learned to act out, sometimes very well or very comfortably even. They’ve gone through years of pressure to learn how to act out these parts. They can begin to feel disconnected though if they don’t feel able to express who they are sufficiently or frequently enough though. It isn’t that they change personalities, it’s just that they have learned how to get through the need to role play as a typical adult by societal expectations. At some point that little needs to reconnect in some way. This is why littles often talk about wanting to have a “little day” or time after work to regress and fully feel themselves. It’s why they begin to long for regress or even fantasize it. For some people they need this frequently and some others not as much, but all littles desire to express their trait at some point. All littles are so by personality and never having a way to feel like their true selves is going to lead to some unhappiness, such as depression, anxiety, or feels of personal conflict.
Parents (who are not little
) don’t feel a desire to pretend to be their boss at work, instructor in a course, or grandparent. They also don’t desire to role play as a child. They’ve matured past that as expected. There is no strange fluctuation back and forth from being a dependable parent to being a vulnerable child. A parent is a parent and generally does not prefer to pretend they’re not, and a child is a child even when they play pretend. Even under great duress a parent is unlikely to fantasize about being a child again (unless they have the little personality
A “switch” is supposedly someone who is a matured and responsible parent but also a small/young child. Supposedly this person can fluctuate between two very distinct, opposite personalities without issue.
When someone identifies themselves as a "switch" in the community here it seems most common
that this person later reveals that they are "mostly a little" with periodic, short-term periods of being a Caregiver. This absolutely coincides with biological childhood and the make believe roles of "playing house" with other kids!
What does that likely mean then? Perhaps that most "switches" are simply confusing "playing pretend" with the actual personality trait and core identity of being a Caregiver. There is nothing about "playing house" occasionally that isn't actually a part of littlespace. Just being you play house sometimes doesn't mean you are not just a little. As a matter of fact, one should expect most littles beyond little-age 4 or so to enjoy "playing house" and "playing school" from time to time since it's something children naturally enjoy doing. So, again, littles can very much be comfortable with playing house and pretending to be a Mommy or a Daddy but that isn’t who they truly are so they will need breaks.
In my 15+ years in the community I have yet to personally meet someone who identifies as a "switch" but then later claims they are truly mostly a Caregiver. Personally, every single “switch” I’ve interacted with has revealed to me that they’re just a little and have compromised for a partner in agreeing to temporarily take care of them by role playing as their Caregiver at times. It’s a sweet gesture, and well with the capabilities of a little, but it’s still just playing pretend.
I suppose if someone claimed to me to “mostly be a Caregiver” but claimed to be a switch and still regress at times then perhaps it is that the person is most likely an older age regressor, such as a preteen or teen. Teens are often left in charge of younger siblings, but likely haven’t matured enough to be a constant, safe guardian yet. Sometimes they still act childishly or still need to be taken care of, watched our for, guided, and corrected.
I, myself, am the Mommy of a middle who is sometimes much like a young teen majority of the time. I suppose if he was placed in the right conditions he could become a caregiver over a much younger little while still displaying his less-than-matured personality trait of also technically being a little.
Being a little is not a light switch that is flipped on and off. You don’t toggle between being a little and not. You are either a little or you are not. A little can be a parent of a biological child, even. That little can feign maturity for awhile, but still has the little personality trait. They absolutely can parent someone else, but it doesn't mean they're not still a little. A part of being a little is that you have learned to feign maturity and have learned ways to perform reasonably as an adult individual. A little can learn how to play pretend as a Caregiver.
I feel like there is a reason why you need a break from being the parental partner that stems from not exactly being a parental personality at your core. I have a very strong feeling that you are not a "switch" but honestly just a little/middle who still has those connections to childhood. I believe it would be more accurate and clearer to others to describe yourself as a big sister to your partner.
There is something in psychology that is frequently seen in younger teens. It is that many, if not most, teenagers sometimes still play with their childhood toys as if they are much younger. A lot of teens even feel very ashamed and conflicted that they do this, but it's extremely common and what we believe to be normal in the natural progression of human maturity. A teenager is still a teenager though.
Misidentifying as a "switch" is not an awful thing to have done, but I feel like it places unnecessary pressure on yourself to perform in both roles at times when that's simply not realistic. There is the underlying notion that when you are identifying as Caregiver at some point that you are comfortable remaining in that position with no break. There is no thought of, "Oh, we're just kids playing house right now and this will end when one of us grows tired or bored with it," but, rather, "Well, you said you were comfortable doing this because it's who you are, right?"
"Switch" comes from the idea that we are tied to roles within the BDSM community. We are not actors playing roles though, and we've learned that we have core personality traits that are uncommon compared to other adults of our chronological ages.
I would encourage you to reconsider the labels you have given yourselves and try to be more honest with not only one another but yourselves. Perhaps your "Daddy" is really someone who fluctuates from 5-15 at times, and perhaps that's then easier to see that sometimes he is even just overwhelmed by "playing house" as a father-figure at times. Perhaps you are more like 8-15 too at times, and constantly role playing house a “Mommy” is becoming too disconnecting for you. And perhaps that could alleviate the idea that, "Oh, you can be completely comfortable being my Caregiver for long periods of time!" and bring in the notion of, "You're doing your best and I know you need your time too since you're just like me. We don’t have to always be playing house to have a good time together."
Talk with your partner and discuss more logically how you’d like to see things going. Let him know that things are a little rocky right now but that you want to work with him in achieving happiness for you both. Try to redefine what your compromises with one another are and what you need. Be honest but also understanding of his thoughts too. Open up the idea that you aren’t
a Caregiver even though you like to play pretend sometimes and perhaps you are actually just a little too, and while he is probably just a little too that you will need to work together in providing for one another as partners. You have needs and he has needs. You can find your happiness with one another, but you will have to talk about this a lot so that you can find the right things you both enjoy.