Episode 7

Published on:

13th Jul 2023

The Dad Privilege

What is the dad privilege?

The dad privilege, maternal gatekeeping and the mental load.

What is dad privilege?

The internet says: it’s when dads are treated like heroes and get praised for doing the same shit that moms do every fucking day. Dads get praised for just showing up. “Aw, you planned dinners for the whole week!” “Aw, you brought your kids to the birthday party!” “Aw, you gave the baby a bath!” -_-

We also say: it’s the ability to just do things in their lives without considering the bigger family picture/schedule: work late, go out for a beer after a long day, coming home from work (where you didn’t pick up the kids) and going straight to your room to “decompress”. Sleeping in when you didn’t get a lot of sleep that night. Putting yourself on bedrest with no questions asked when you’re sick. 

Basically the bar for dads is so low, don’t be a piece of shit, but for moms, it’s really high

What is maternal gatekeeping?

A mother’s belief about how much and whether or not a father should be involved in their kids’ lives. Basically it’s how we micromanage our spouses and how we try to create “perfection” within the household. 

This happens regardless of relationship status and comes into play when children come into the picture. Why? Women are taught that “mother knows best” so we seek validation through our way being “the right way”

“Mothers might have a difficult time giving up responsibility for care of the family, might want to validate their role as mothers and be recognized for the sacrifices they make for their families, or might view the father as inept or even a danger to his children. This latter view might be based either on actual evidence, the father’s past behaviors, or her personal perceptions of him and his failures as a man and father.

Furthermore, she might protect her child purely as a function of the child’s age. If the child is not old enough to verbalize his or her own needs and desires, she might feel qualified to make decisions and judgments for that child, thus becoming the monitor, supervisor, permission grantor, and controller of all others’ involvement with the child— including the father’s.”

This belief causes her to behave in ways that can include:

  • What she says about the father in front of or directly to their child.
  • Whether and how often she includes and updates dad on their child’s health, schooling, athletic, religious, and social life, and
  • The extent to which she tells dad that she knows what is best for their child and the correct way to do things—while dad doesn’t.

We are taught from a young age our worth and value comes from the home we keep and the children we raise. Moms have “more at stake” in the product (child) than dads since their value isn’t as closely related to the children themselves.

In what ways do we gatekeep in our relationships?

Do moms create or perpetuate the dad privilege? 

This behavior cuts our husbands off at the knees. Even if they want to participate, they don’t because - who wants to be micromanaged or judged?

Aside from tapping out, what happens with our husbands in our relationships?

What are our husband’s reactions?

  • Learned Helplessness

How do we change?

  • Vulnerability?
  • Aim for peace not perfection
  • When we delegate, set expectations upfront and then let it be - don’t micromanage
  • Involve dads more when kids are babies - let them find their stride
  • Remind ourselves that there is more than one right way
  • Explain the why behind some of our “requirements” so our husbands understand what we’re trying to accomplish and why it’s important.

What is one thing you’re going to change now that you’re more aware of how maternal gatekeeping and learned helplessness?

Show artwork for The Mental Load

About the Podcast

The Mental Load
Breaking a generational cycle to create equal households
Two millennial moms explore the mental load. Here’s the deal, we’re the first generation of women who saw both of our parents work outside the home. And, because kids are oblivious to how much work it takes to actually raise them, we naturally assumed that our parents split everything else it took to run our households. Then we grew up, got married and were like what the f***? You know this conversation. You probably have it with your mom friends all the time. It’s your never ending to-do list. The perception that you’re the household manager and keeper of all the stuff and the things. The mental load is so much more complex than delegating out chores and duties or telling women to practice “self care” or “take a day off”. We don’t want a day off, we want husbands who are more “switched on” throughout the day. How do we have this conversation in our household? What systems keep the mental load in place? Why does the mental load even exist? We’re here to explore all of these topics and really dig into the small and large changes that need to happen in order to better support women and therefore, families in America.
And we’re here to bring this conversation to the forefront and help break a generational cycle so that as we raise girls AND boys, they know what it means to truly have an equal household.

About your host

Profile picture for Katlynn Pyatt

Katlynn Pyatt

Hi! I'm Katlynn. I'm a mom of three kids: Hudson, Nora and Willa. I might be biased, but they're pretty amazing kids. I'm super proud of myself for making them! I also have a very loving and supportive husband, Eric.

I'm a marketer from 9-5 but a creative soul all day every day. I love painting with watercolor, sitting on the porch watching the sunrise and meditating. I've always loved to talk, so podcasting is a natural fit for me and over the past year, I've spent a lot of time diving in to mindset and manifestation work. It's changed my outlook on life and made me a lot less high strung.

When I'm not wearing my mom, marketing or spouse hat, I enjoy exercising. Sometimes I'm motivated enough to look like a snack. Other times, I just like eating snacks.