‘Do it all’ dad: modern fathers stressed, misunderstood but happy

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New research reveals traditional role of fathers is rapidly disappearing as more than half of dads class themselves as modern dads (53%) and get as stuck in with chores and children as they do work.

But the Nationwide Building Society1 poll of 1,000 fathers, commissioned ahead of Father’s Day, also highlights the extent to which many fathers feel stressed trying to balance home and work life.

The research show some four in five (84%) dads are stressed while more than half (53%) don’t think society recognises their contribution as a father. However, on a positive note, the majority (86%) said they are happy with their situation.

Family time:

Although mums still do the lion’s share of childcare, dads are today playing a much bigger role in their kids’ lives than their fathers did, spending on average 12 hours a week quality time with their children. With many mums needing to work due to pressures on family finances, men are, on average, putting in just two hours less a week looking after children. However, when compared to their own fathers, they are ahead by three hours – equivalent to an evening after work.

Top family activities of a modern dad:

Despite the stereotype of men being poor at multitasking, modern dad could prove an exception to the rule as he throws himself into an array of situations. The main family activities dads get involved in include:

Playing to type – mums vs dads:

Although dads are much more involved in family life, mums on average still do much more of the day-to-day childcare and cleaning jobs that they traditionally did. Equally, dads generally conform to stereotype - teaching the children to ride a bike, doing homework and disciplining.

Work vs family life:

The research shows dads are still very much the breadwinner, with the average dad working 33 hours a week and earning £33,426, nearly double the amount than mums work and receive (16 hours work and earning average of £17,233).

However, two thirds (68%) of dads said they would happily give up their day job to be with their kids, while two fifths (41%) work from home just to be able to spend more time with the family. Two in five (41%) dads said they take time off work if their child is sick, for birthdays (35%), for children’s doctor appointments, for sports day (32%) and for the school play (27%).

Regrets and guilt:

The balancing act between career and family has resulted in many dads regretting not spending enough time with their children, but also feeling guilt for losing their temper when they do get time with the family.

Jeff Brazier, Broadcaster, Author and Father, said: “It’s great that Nationwide Building Society is celebrating dads this Father’s Day, as they are playing a much more active role in helping to run the household these days. I have always been a hands-on dad who is proud to shatter the misconception of what a father’s role used to be. Like many dads, I find parenting a constant juggling act between work and family life and sometimes you can feel run ragged, but despite this, I am happy and love being a father.”

To celebrate Father’s Day, Nationwide Building Society is launching some new TV adverts for one day only, featuring fathers from all walks of life, performing spoken word poetry on their experience of being a dad to remind them of the fantastic job they do. As a building society, we are owned by our members and we value people from all walks of life.