Working fathers of the world unite!

A new survey reports that 37 percent of dads say they'd quit their jobs to spend more time with the kids if their spouse made enough money to support them.


Catherine Price
October 30, 2007 10:05PM (UTC)

Here's one for all those working dads out there -- a new survey from CareerBuilder.com about working fathers' relationships with their kids.

The study, conducted from Feb. 15 to March 6, 2007, involved 1,521 men with full-time jobs and kids under 18. (It's not clear from the press release how the fathers were selected or what socioeconomic bracket they were from.) Some of the results are completely unsurprising, like, for example, that working dads spend more time per week at their jobs than they do with their children. (If you work 50 or more hours a week, which 27 percent of dads say they do, it'd be tough to spend an equal amount of time with your kids and still sleep.) A quarter of the dads say they spend less than an hour with their kids each day; 42 percent say they spend less than two.

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What I do find interesting, though, is that 37 percent of the dads say they'd leave their jobs if their spouse or partner made enough to support the family, and 38 percent said they'd take a pay cut if it meant they could spend more time with their kids. Who knows if they'd actually live up to their words (it's one thing to click a box on a survey and another to quit your job for real), but I still think it's heartening. I say that not because I think all men should want to be stay-at-home dads, but because I think it's a shift in attitude that's going to help both genders -- if we're ever going to change our society's work/family balance, we need both men and women onboard.

One statistic from the study that I found particularly interesting was the report that 36 percent of dads said their company didn't offer "flexible work arrangements such as flexible schedules, telecommuting [or] job sharing." Read a different way, that would mean that 64 percent of companies do offer such arrangements. Again, I don't think a 1,500-person study on CareerBuilder.com is likely to represent American society as a whole, but still. The more that working dads insist on flexible schedules that allow them more time with their kids, the better off we'll all be.


Catherine Price

Catherine Price is an award-winning journalist and author of Vitamania: How Vitamins Revolutionized the Way We Think About Food. Her written and multimedia work has appeared in publications including The Best American Science Writing, The New York Times, Popular Science, O: The Oprah Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post Magazine, Salon, Slate, Men’s Journal, Mother Jones, PARADE, Health Magazine, and Outside. Price lives in Philadelphia.

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