The rise of the stay-at-home dad: One in seven families now have father as primary carer for children

Here are now ten times as many stay-at-home dads as a decade ago, a survey has revealed.

The findings suggest there are 1.4million men – in one in seven families – whose main role is primary carer for their children.

The result is ten times higher than similar surveys found a decade ago and shows that fathers are now willing in large numbers to relinquish the responsibility for being the family breadwinner and instead take on the burdens of the home.

Among the fathers, 43 per cent said they felt lucky to have the opportunity to stay at home and bring up their children, but 46 per cent said the decision to stay at home was taken to allow the family’s main earner to keep working.

And the research also found a downside to the switch of childcare duties from women to men, with almost one in five stay-at-home fathers saying that their role makes them feel ‘less of a man’, while around one in eight admitted that looking after children is harder than holding down a job.

The collapse of the gender pay gap – women under 30 now earn more than men and older women are usually only paid less if they take time off to bring up families – means mothers are highly likely to have fatter pay packets than fathers.

And while women are now able to be the family breadwinner, a third of mothers feel guilty about going out to work and leaving the children.

A further one in five complain that they are really doing two jobs because they have to look after the home when they get back from work, and one in ten say the division of household chores causes marital discord.

Around two out of three mothers of young children have jobs, encouraged by family-friendly and flexible working laws and the need for many families to have two incomes in order to pay mortgages and meet the bills.

There was strong evidence that many women would prefer to stay at home themselves if the family economics were different. In the past surveys have repeatedly found that three quarters of working mothers would prefer to stay at home.

This one showed just 15 per cent of mothers said they felt lucky to be able to go out to work while their husband looked after the children.