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House husbands

Main reason given by families for men looking after children was that the woman was the higher earner, according to study.

entertainment Updated: Apr 08, 2010 20:13 IST

The number of fathers who give up work to look after their children has soared tenfold during the past decade, research suggests.
Approximately, six per cent fathers, or 600,000, now consider themselves to be their child’s primary care takers, stated the insurance firm, Aviva.

Eighteen percent of the couples participating in the research said that they shared the responsibilities of looking after their child, equally, while they were working.

The main reason most of the families gave for men looking after the children was that the woman was the higher earner. The woman is the main breadwinner in 16 per cent of families with dependent children.

The study also found that in 85 per cent of households with children, one parent had reduced working hours or given up work to look after their offspring. A third said they had done so because of the cost of childcare.

But many women who are the main earner find the role reversal difficult, with 37 per cent saying they felt guilty about leaving their children. Fifteen percent admitted they occasionally resented the fact that their partner did not work. Men appeared to be happier with the arrangement than women, with 75 per cent saying they felt lucky to be able to spend so much time with their children. Nearly a third said that looking after their offspring was more rewarding than going to work, although 10 per cent admitted that looking after children made them feel less like a man.

Louise Colley, head of protection marketing for Aviva, said: “While both roles are equally valuable, nowadays it’s quite likely that women will be heading off to the office while men are changing nappies and doing the school run.” questioned 1,084 parents during March.

The Guardian

First Published: Apr 08, 2010 16:08 IST