Some California fathers may be among the 48 percent who say they would like to quit their jobs and stay home with their children but cannot because they need the income. Just over half of mothers say the same thing. The number of households in which the father is the breadwinner has dropped significantly since 1970 when almost half of couples were in families with children in which only the father worked outside the home. By 2015, this had dropped to 27 percent.
These were among the findings of a Pew Research Center survey conducted in 2015. The survey also found that roughly the same number of fathers as mothers considered being a parent a central part of their identity. By 2015, fathers had nearly tripled the amount of time they spent on child care compared to 50 years earlier at seven hours per week. However, mothers still spent 15 hours per week on child care. Fathers were more likely than mothers to say they did not spend enough time with their children at 48 to 25 percent.
There is still some public perception that mothers are better caregivers than fathers. While just over half of people said it did not matter which parent stayed home with the children, 45 percent said the stay-at-home parent should be the mother.
In some child custody cases, a parent may be concerned that a mother will have an advantage over a father, but this is not necessarily true. Parents may be able to work out a joint custody agreement. If a father wants primary custody, he may able to demonstrate that he has been the child’s main caregiver or played a significant role in the child’s life. Parents going through a divorce may want to discuss these issues with an attorney.