Stay At Home Dads Still Do Less Housework Than Mums

  • Parents Only

By: Alex Harmon, ellaslist

While it's great to see more and more dads are choosing to stay at home and become the full-time carers of their children, a new report suggests that they are still leaving the brunt of the housework to their working wives and partners. 

There are now 75,000 stay-at-home dads across the country, the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) research found, which compared to 1981 when there was only 30,000 doing the same, is a huge improvement.

However, it has been revealed that they actually do less of the childcare than their counterparts, meaning when both parents are home, Mums are taking over the duties while Dad takes a backseat. Dads are also slacking off in the the housework department, the report says, meaning their working wives are coming home to do that after a hard day's work too. 

“In stay-at-home-dad families, dads spent an average of 19 hours a week on childcare, while the ‘working’ mothers also spent 21 hours on childcare,” researcher Dr Jennifer Baxter said. “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.”

What Are Dads Doing?

The research found the stay-at-home Dads put in longer hours ferrying their children around, and minding them when they were ill, but mums were more likely to help get them dressed (38pc versus 15pc), off to bed (28 per cent versus 16 per cent) and finish their homework (28 per cent versus 21 per cent).

Families with homemaker dads now make up 4 per cent of all heterosexual parent families, compared with 31 per cent of stay-at-home mums, or 495,600 women.

“The fathers tend to be older, with older children and they don’t tend to pick up the full domestic workload to the same extent that stay-at-home mothers traditionally have,” AIFS director Anne Hollonds said.

For many families the cost of childcare and a woman's higher wage kept Dad at home, while for others unemployment and job searching meant Mum went to work. 

We Still Have Big Respect For SAHD's

Even if they're not all mopping the floors while bub naps! Attitudes about whether the kids were alright with Mum bringing home the bacon were shown to be positive in the study: around half (57% of mothers and 50% of fathers) agreed that children will do just as well. Very few disagreed (6-7% of mothers and fathers).

But sadly we still keep hearing in the news about dads getting funny looks in changing rooms or even cheered on for doing what most Mums do every day without a ticker tape parade. It's sad that Dads still have to explain themselves when they're seen walking the pram to the park. "Got the day off today?" is not an uncommon question to a Dad pushing his kid on a swing at the playground on a weekday. While there's a lot more SAHD's than there was 50 years ago, some of the old-fashioned attitudes towards these Dads still linger.