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Ryan Reynolds Admitted He's a Worse Parent Than Blake Lively - and It's a Crucial Reminder to All Dads
Ryan Reynolds looking shocked at wife Blake Lively and kids
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Ryan Reynolds Admitted He's a Worse Parent Than Blake Lively - and It's a Crucial Reminder to All Dads

The father-of-three opens up about how his wife of nearly 10 years motivates him to be a better parent. What does their arrangement say about mental load?

Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively can seemingly do no wrong. 

They’re an undoubted "It Couple" who have been charming people for years with their adorable public appearances, their cheeky social media banter, and the honesty with which they conduct themselves in the spotlight. The love and admiration they hold for each other shine through every step of the way, to the point that we can’t help but aspire to be just like them.


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However, behind the glamor and the humor lies the darker side of marriage and the strenuous work parents have to put in to make sure the ship runs smoothly. 

In a recent interview, Ryan Reynolds shared how his wife shoulders the lion’s share of responsibilities when it comes to raising their three children, James, Inez, and Betty. He does his part, too, but he wouldn’t have been half the father he is today had it not been for his wife’s continuous encouragement and guidance. 

Ryan Reynolds Revealed Who 'Runs the Show' In His Marriage and It's Telling

blake-lively-ryan-reynolds-looking-each-other-lovingly
Photo Credit: Dia Dipasupil / Getty Images

Ryan’s honest admission is a wake-up call that parenthood isn’t a straight road for anyone, and that each parent will go through their individual, distinct struggles along the way. 

In a clip from the as-yet-unreleased fourth season of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman, the Deadpool actor is forthcoming about what it means to be a father and how he compares to his infallible wife Blake. Though the clip is brief, it paints a solid picture of how the scales are always tipped against women, even when their male partners are as reliable and empathetic as Ryan Reynolds. 

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In this scenario, David Letterman and Ryan Reynolds are seen preparing a meal in a kitchen. Referring to the meticulous mise en place on the counter, Ryan says, “Blake — full disclosure — showed me how to do all this.” When asked by Letterman about who “runs the show” in their household, Ryan didn’t hesitate to name his wife. “Blake runs the show. I would really phone things in if it wasn’t for her,” he says. 

David Letterman digs into a layer deeper and poses a hypothetical before Ryan Reynolds. If Blake Lively were to leave for a couple of weeks, with no instruction given on how to manage the household and their children, would Ryan be able to cope? Or would he be overridden with anxiety? Following an innocuous joke about never letting Blake take off in the first place, Ryan taps into his vulnerabilities. 

I think I would find it pretty exciting at first, and then there would be three girls, so that division of labor is very important.

Ryan Reynolds on My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman

What’s intriguing about Ryan’s response is that it can be interpreted in a multitude of ways. In one sense, he’s admitting something important about his partner, Blake, declaring her to be the head honcho of their family unit, the matriarch figure who has not only mastered parenting but a force of nature that actively empowers him to follow in her suit.

At the same time, why are we seeing yet another instance of a man faltering and fumbling with so-called "domestic" duties that his female partner can execute with ease? Does this speak to the resilience of women in our culture or the magnitude of the pressures they have to endure on a daily basis? On top of the others they have to deal with in life, women are simply expected to undertake and fulfill duties in the household, no questions asked. 

And that is hardly fair.

What Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively's Relationship Says about 'Mental Load'

Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively talking behind the scenes of Green Lantern

The apparent imbalance in Ryan and Blake’s parenting arrangement speaks to the idea of "mental load" and how it unfairly skews social dynamics among men and women, even in a time when hard gender lines are eroding, and most people are becoming open to alternative approaches to family.

Mental load doesn’t just encompass the physical activities that keep parents occupied throughout the day — it’s the cognitive labor that takes place when you constantly remind everyone else in your team to uphold their end of the bargain. It’s not enough for you to just do your thing and rest; you need everyone to pull their weight and do what they’re supposed to do, lest the entire partnership breaks down. 

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In an ideal world, Blake Lively wouldn’t have needed to set a high bar for Ryan Reynolds to clear; it’s something he should have aimed to carry out on his own. Unfortunately, we still live in a society where women are supposed to demonstrate near-perfect values when it comes to the family, children, or household. As such, they’re expected to take the lead in these areas and assume the added obligation of reminding their partner to do their task.

It’s an endless cycle wherein men become dependent on women to help them do the most mundane of activities, and women get more and more overwhelmed with an ever-increasing list of errands. 

I try to be as present as possible. We don’t split up. I shoot movies and my wife shoots movies, and we go travel all over the place, and we just all go together. So, I think that’s been the best part of it, is that we really don’t spend a lot of time apart. I get to spend a lot of time with my girls.

Ryan Reynolds to Access Hollywood

Ryan’s acknowledgment of this challenge goes a long way to showcase the inequality that seeps into marriages. Even the self-proclaimed feminist husband Ryan Reynolds can flounder, so it’s an excellent opportunity to remind ourselves about the objective in every relationship, and how we can be more empathetic and cognizant of how our partner is navigating these challenges.

The focus should be on nurturing an open dialogue about what mental load entails and how each person in the partnership can mitigate this issue. That said, we should still appreciate when either one person does get something right, and instead of asking why they aren’t doing more, we should look to cherishing their effort and thanking them for it. 

What Ryan Reynolds’ Marriage Admission Reveals about Relationship Balance

Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively with their kids outside

Nothing will be 100% equal in a relationship. Each individual will have different preferences, capabilities, strengths and weaknesses. However, just because there are tangible differences between how each person approaches the partnership doesn’t mean anyone should be dependent on the other to take the lead.

Balance should be the ultimate objective, where no one party is made to feel like they’re carrying the entire thing on their back. As long as you’re putting in work and prioritizing on instituting balance and reducing mental load as much as possible, and communicating about that balance openly, you’re on the right track. 

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