Why don’t dads complain about parenthood like moms do?

My male clients in therapy, one of the few places where people are free to speak openly, often tell me how stressed they feel. They feel pressure to support their families (with or without the financial contribution of their wives), they have limited time for social or leisure activities outside work and family play dates, and they are expected to be verbally and emotionally open and engaged with their wives in a way that was never required of men in previous generations. They also often have less-than-fulfilling sex lives. (Sadly, research contemporaneous with the confessional mommy movement indicates that women in long term relationships lose interest in sex more easily than their male partners; this is another topic upon which many women today expound with abandon.)

As the icing on the cake for the fathers in today’s families, they are expected to do half the childcare, while being criticized for how they do it. Further, society appears to dictate that men should never complain about the same tedium and exhaustion that women experience for fear of being considered a throwback, Don Draper-like, uninvolved dad. Yet, he must support his wife in her public admissions of her yelling too much, not paying attention to the kids, playing on her phone while parenting, and even being a pothead.