By Dee-Dee S.C.E.
Stay-at-home-dad families had little in common with stay-at-home-mom families, an analysis made by the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) revealed.
Dr. Jennifer Baxter, AIFS’ Senior Research Fellow, said the analysis showed that families with stay-at-home-dad were not simply the reverse ‘mirror’ image of families with stay-at-home-moms, just with the gender roles reversed.
The analysis showed for example that stay-at-home-dad families, dads spent an average of 19 hours a week on childcare, while mothers spent 21 hours.
Moreover, stay-at-home dads spent 28 hours a week on housework, while mothers spent 23 hours which they managed to combine with an average 35-hour working week paid job.
“In stay-at-home-dad families, parents still often share in child care activities, such as putting children to bed and playing with them. These activities are more often shared rather than being primarily mum’s role, compared to other families. In some stay-at-home-dad families, child care becomes primarily dads’ role, especially caring for sick children and ferrying them to and from places,” Baxter said in a statement.
“The analysis shows that while stay-at-home dads do take on more responsibility for child care than fathers in other family types, the average stay-at-home dad is still far from being ‘Mr. Mum’.”
Australian men who choose to become stay-at-home dads are still comparatively rare despite the growing perception their numbers are increasing.
According to the AIFS, stay-at-home-dad families today number 75,000, accounting for about 4% of two-parent families around the country.
Anne Hollands, AIFS Director, said “men opting for full time fatherhood while their wives and partners bring in the family income are not common and their numbers have changed little over the last five years.”
“For many, becoming a stay-at-home dad is an economic decision, driven by unemployment, under-employment or disability and not a lifestyle choice to spend more time parenting,” Hollands said.
The research referred to a father as “stay at home” if “he has children aged under 15 years living with him, he is not working, and he has a spouse or partner who is working some hours.”