Stay-at-Home Dads: Uncommon and Exceptional - Findings from the 2013 DDB Life Style Study®

Study Determines If Stay-at-Home Dads Are Different From Other Dads and Stay-at-Home Moms

Jun 17, 2013, 19:19 ET from DDB Worldwide

NEW YORK, June 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- DDB Worldwide, part of Omnicom Group (NYSE), has launched a new report from its Life Style Study® that focuses on stay-at-home Dads to determine if, apart from their child-care responsibilities, these men are different from other Dads and stay-at-home Moms when it comes to their attitudes and behaviors towards gender roles, parenting, school, free time and household chores.

While 80% of American adults believe it is perfectly fine for a man to be a stay-at-home parent, few men actually are. Of the nearly 25 million fathers who were part of married-couple families with children younger that 18 in 2011, US Census data indicates that less than 1% were stay-at-home Dads. But the number of married men who are deciding to assume this role is climbing. This rise has been attributed to the weak job market, increasing cost of child care, and even the enlightened perspective of a generation of new parents who themselves were raised in households where gender roles bucked traditional divisions.

It is clear that stay-at-home Dads love being fathers and are devoted to their children. Like all parents, stay-at-home Dads overwhelmingly say that raising a child brings them a great deal of happiness (84% agree), that their kids are more important to them than anyone else (97% agree), and that they focus on their family more than themselves (85% agree).

However, they are more likely to voice the stress of parenthood and have some regrets about the timing of becoming Dads. More stay-at-home Dads say they find parenthood a real burden than both other Dads (29% v. 18%) and Moms (29% v. 13%). Stay-at-home Dads are significantly more likely to admit that they wish they had been older before having kids than other Dads (29% v. 18%) or Moms (29% v. 13%).

One possible reason that these fathers might have wished they had waited longer to become parents is that they realize what they have lost as independent adults and spouses. For the majority, they self-identify first and foremost as Dads.  Thirty-four percent of stay-at-home Dads feel likely they have lost their identity because they are Dads while only 19% of other fathers feel this way.

There are clear gender differences in attitudes towards childcare and other household chores; the spouses of stay-at-home Dads feel more compelled to "do their part" as it relates to other aspects of childcare and running a household given the commitment their husbands are making.

While stay-at-home Dads clearly have a significant caregiving role, 57% say they split childcare responsibilities equally with their spouses. In contrast, 78% of Moms say they have more childcare responsibilities than their spouses.

The working spouses of stay at-home Dads share many of the other household chores that stay-at-home Moms typically assume alone. Forty-five percent of stay-at-home Dads say they are the primary housekeeper, while 87% of Moms identify as primary. Sixty-one percent of stay at-home Dads identify as the primary grocery shopper for the household while 88% of Moms do. While 67% of stay-at-home Dads say they love to cook, only 49% are responsible for cooking most of the meals for the household. Eighty-one percent of Moms are the primary cooks for the household.

"Society is increasingly open-minded about the nontraditional caregiving role of stay-at-home Dads, which augurs well for other fathers who might decide that this is the right choice for their families and themselves," says Denise Delahorne, Senior Vice President, Group Strategy Director at DDB US. "As stay-at-home Dads gain strength in numbers, they are an important segment to consider for products and services that traditionally have been targeted to women who stay at home to care for their children. Those marketers who recognize and portray this group without resorting to the 'Mr. Mom' disparagement of their parenting skills stand a greater chance of winning their favor and loyalty."

Stay-at-Home Dads: Uncommon and Exceptional also answers these and other questions

  • Do people think stay-at-home Dads are good at parenting?
  • What kind of relationship do stay-at-home Dads want with their kids?
  • How do stay-at-home Dads feel about their kids and school?
  • What do stay-at-home Dads hope for and teach their children?
  • Are stay-at-home Dads happy in their marriages?

The DDB Life Style Study® is the nation's longest running and largest longitudinal study of attitudes and behaviors. Conducted annually since 1975, the sample is balanced to the US Census on gender, age and race. This proprietary survey, with its 600+ questions, enables DDB to provide exceptional insight into American consumer attitudes and behaviors. The 2013 study was fielded among 6,429 respondents during January 2013.

Click here to view the full report. 

About DDB
DDB Worldwide Communications Group Inc ( ranks among the top five consolidated advertising and marketing services global networks, according to Advertising Age. DDB emphasizes Social Creativity to grow the value and influence of brands around the world by creating ideas that people want to play with, participate in and pass along. The agency is consistently one of the most awarded at the Cannes Festival of Creativity and was recognized by The Gunn Report as one of the Top 3 Global Networks for 10 of the last 12 years. DDB was also recently named the Spikes Asia Network of the Year for the second consecutive year and the Eurobest Network of the Year for the third consecutive year. DDB Worldwide is part of Omnicom Group Inc. (OMC) and consists of more than 200 offices in over 90 countries.

About Omnicom Group Inc.
Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC) is a leading global marketing and corporate communications company. Omnicom's branded networks and numerous specialty firms provide advertising, strategic media planning and buying, digital and interactive marketing, direct and promotional marketing, public relations and other specialty communications services to over 5,000 clients in more than 100 countries.

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SOURCE DDB Worldwide