By Charlotte Young
These days the kids aren’t waiting in anticipation for daddy to come home from work. They’ve been with him all day. According to Bloomberg, while mommy is working, it’s the husbands that take on the role of keeping house and children.
Stay-at-home fathers are no new trend. According to family demographer Lynda Laughlin with the Census Bureau, the number has been growing since about 1988. But now, data from the Census Survey of Income and Program Participation shows that 54 percent of unemployed fathers with a working wife and preschool-age children are the primary caregivers, or the adult that spends the most time with the child. The number of dads providing consistent child care to children under 15 jumped to 32 percent in 2010.
Part of the reason behind the rise is attributed to the recession. Men were hit harder than women financially when the economy took a downturn. A report from the Pew Research Center revealed that men lost more jobs between December 2007 and May 2011 than women.
The recession may have taken a toll on the financial strength and the traditional roles in the family, but it certainly brought untold happiness to kids glad to have their daddy around.
“You can’t put a price on a father-daughter relationship.” Jeff VanderHejiden told Bloomberg. The former counselor at a residential program for troubled teens was fired last year, two weeks after he’d received a raise and a promotion.
But the recession can’t be blamed completely for the rising number of fathers as primary caregivers. Despite the loss, the study also revealed that men have regained job more quickly than women. It seems some men want to stay at home with the kids.
Ellen Galinksy, president and co-founder of the Families and Work Institute in New York, tells Bloomberg that as women become a stronger economic force, more men are deciding to stay home with the kids.
Some couples make the decision for the husband to stay at home as a financial decision regardless of the recession. After budgeting the potential cost of outside child care and the income of a low-paying job, they realize the two cancel each other out.
Patrick Spillman, 42 made the decision to stay home with his daughter for that very reason.
“If I’m making X and my wife is making X plus 10, who do you want making the money?” He said to Bloomberg. “It’s a matter of dollars and cents.”