Newsflash: “Mom” is not a gender– it’s a role. And “the mom role” can be successfully played in a family of two dads. This week we asked Julia Dennison, executive editor of and also a co-parenting single mom of a toddler, to join us for a discussion on gender roles and how they’re changing, and about guiding your child to be comfortable with the differences in his family structure.

The “traditional mom role” – or social stereotype of what is maternal – includes cuddling love, talking about feelings, sensitivity to the kids’ needs, soft attitude (including on education). Can gay dads fill that role? Absolutely!

“Of course we all have social stereotypes and ideas about what is maternal,” says Julia Dennison, Executive Editor of, “the word ‘maternal’ has all these connotations like, ‘the caregiver,’ ‘the person that the kids run to if they need an extra hug,’ there’s all these ideas about what moms might do and in the past that included a lot of things like keeping up the house alongside everything, cooking and cleaning. Of course now those moms, these women, are at the work place just as much as men, these ideas of what makes a mom or what makes a woman, are really changing so that the rest of the world is starting to be just as confused or just as changing.”

In the developing discussion, we talked about the differences between men and women, even if we can’t put our finger on what it is, is there a basic value to having both genders present in the upbringing of a Child. 

Dennison thinks that the ‘maternal’ relationship with the child contributes a lot to the positive development of the child — but this relationship doesn’t have to be with a ‘mother.’

“If being a mother means talking about emotions and nurturing and the cuddling side, we see a ton of benefit from that,” she says, “so whoever does that, it doesn’t have to be [a woman], I think that there’s a benefit to that maternal relationship between the parents and the children.”

Co-Host: Braden Sanford

Guest Host Braden Sanford

Braden is a blogger and a stay-at-home Dad raising 4 kids under 3… including triplets and identical girls (aka a valiant attempt to retain my sanity…). Braden blogs at

Our Guest: Julia Dennison

Julia Dennison, Executive Editor of talks about the mom role and what is maternal

Julia Dennison is the executive editor of She co-parents her 3-year-old daughter Esme (and pughuahua) with her ex . With an amazing experience in digital and print media, Julia is a content strategist, covering a wide range of topics from health, parenting, and women’s lifestyle, to pop culture, politics, food and technology. 

Follow Julia Dennison:
Instagram: @juliadennison
Twitter: @julsdennison

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Episode Credits

Co-Hosts: Yan Dekel, Alex Maghen
Guest Host: Braden Sanford
Guest: Julia Dennison
Opening Theme: Hercules & Love Affair, “Leonora” buy here
Articles Related to this episode:
How to Make Your Marriage Gayer (Stephanie Coontz, The New York Times)

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