We partnered with Edelman Public Relations on an exclusive survey of 600 dads with kids 12 and under to find out how much they pitch in on childcare and housework, how they feel about being portrayed as clueless, and what kind of parents they really are.
#1: They Don’t Appreciate the Dad Jokes
You know that stereotype of the know-nothing dad, frequently the go-to in commercials for household products? Dad is not amused. The majority of fathers feel that there is a societal bias against dads, and newer dads feel it even more keenly. A whopping 82 percent of first-time fathers believe an anti-dad bias exists, compared with the average of 66 percent among all dads.
#2: They Do More Than They Get Credit For
The dads surveyed say that they do their part in everything from diapering to carpool—and yet they are still portrayed at bumbling ‘50s dads. The truth is that the percentage of dads that says they pitch in half or more of the time is high for bath time (68 percent), getting kids ready for school (70 percent), shuttling to activities (77 percent), and helping with homework (80 percent). Only three percent of dads surveyed admitted they don’t do diapers.
#3: …Especially in the Kitchen
While the conventional wisdom is that moms rule when it comes to feeding their families, the reality is that dads are getting in the kitchen. While almost 77 percent help in some way with meal prep, 26 percent of dads say that they do all of the grocery shopping for their families, and 22 percent say that they do all of the cooking. Today’s dads are conscious of what’s going in their kids’ bodies, too; they are more likely than moms to buy locally-grown produce, even if it costs more.
#4: They Take on More as Their Kids Get Older
When the kids are babies, dads tend to be more hands-off, perhaps because of the close physical bond babies and their moms share. But as the kids get older, the gap narrows. While 1 in 4 first-time dads feel that their partner is the coach and Dad is just the water boy (he does a lot of the grunt work, but she still calls the shots), that number goes down to 12 percent by the time Dad’s oldest child is 13+. In fact, 60 percent of dads with kids 13 and over feel that they are teammates with their partners.
#5: They Trust Themselves as Parents
While moms are googling “tantrums make it stop,” 1 in 4 dads don’t seek out parenting advice anywhere or from anyone. While the greatest number of respondents (35 percent) admitted to turning to their wives/partners for the majority of the childcare advice, 27 percent say that they don’t need any input— they just go with their instinct when it comes to raising kids. Only four percent seek advice from their own fathers, and a scant five percent go to their dad friends. And, uh oh: only three percent consult parenting magazines.
When it comes to making purchase decisions, however, dads are all about the recon. Fifty-nine percent of dads say they use four or more sources of information to help them make purchase decisions, compared with only 44 percent of moms.
#6: They Brag About Their Kids on Facebook Too
Think it’s just mamas who just can’t believe how much their kids like broccoli? Think again. Dads, especially first-time dads, love to post about their family on social media too. A few times a week, more than 23 percent of dads post family-related status updates, 29 percent post family snapshots, and 15 percent post videos of the kids.
#7: They Don’t Play Bad Cop…or Good Cop
The wait-until-your-father-comes-home threat is officially over, now that Mom is just as likely as Dad to discipline the kids. Almost 47 percent of dad reported that when it comes to keeping kids in line, they split it down the middle. Only about 19 percent of fathers said they handle discipline on their own.
#8: Dads Can be Nurses Too
When the kids are sick, who stays home from work? Only about seven percent say “not it,” and leave it to Mom. As for the rest, 32 percent say they split sick time equally, 19 percent say they usually are the one to stay home, and 20 percent say they always play nurse to sick kids.