A new study from the Boston College Center for Work & Family confirms what fathers involved with The National At-Home Network have known all along: that most at-home dads make the conscience choice to be the primary caregivers of their children and do so with the benefit for the entire family.
The study, titled The New Dad: Right At Home, shows that dads who stay home with the kids do so because they choose to, not because of the recent recession as many have incorrectly assumed. For nearly all the families in the study, this choice leads to personal fulfillment for the at-home dads as well as helping their wives thrive in the work place. The study also found that the at-home dads who had a strong social support network, something The National At-Home Dad Network offers with its local chapters, online forum and Annual Convention, is very important to the long-term success and fulfillment of at-home dads.
Researchers for the study interviewed 31 at-home dads and 23 of their spouses.
Other findings of the report include that any dad is capable of being the primary caregiver; at-home dads are good parents, not the bumbling fathers that the media often portrays; and dads who want to re-enter the workforce seek flexible schedules.
These are areas The National At-Home Dad Network (formally Daddyshome, Inc.) have long realized and have helped to provide support for at-home fathers around the country, especially as the number of dads in this role has doubled over the last ten years.
However, as these numbers have risen, old stereotypes about fathers remain. Particularly troubling to The National At-Home Dad Network is the term “Mr. Mom” many in the media have used in their stories about this study. “Mr. Mom” is considered a grossly inaccurate description of an at-home dad by The National At-Home Dad Network. It conjures up the image of the movie “Mr. Mom” starring Michael Keaton from 29 years ago who struggled with job loss and his at-home dad duties which is very unlike the at-home dads of today as revealed in the study by Boston College. “Mr. Mom” is also a term that suggests a dad is temporarily doing mom’s duties as if parenting is exclusively the job of mothers. At-home dads are dads who are parenting effectively but differently than moms.
The National At-Home Dad Network strongly urges media to discontinue the use of the term “Mr. Mom.”
The results of the research in The New Dad: Right At Home, finally puts a face on the work at-home dads and the members of The National At-Home Dad Network have been doing for years and how they are changing the perception and dynamic of how families work. “These men, and others like them,” the study concludes, “are forging a new path for what it means to be a successful father.”