Survey: Dads with kids at home work more than others

Dad Days of Summer: While Momania’s Theresa Walsh Giarrusso takes a vacation, local dad and sportswriter Andy Johnston will be filling in. You can e-mail him at

A recent survey found that men who have kids at home work more hours a week than men who don’t.

The Families and Work Institute, a non-profit organization, surveyed 3,500 people in 2008 to find out those dads work about 47 hours a week. Men who don’t have kids or don’t live with them, work about 44 hours a week, according to a story in USA Today.

Andy and his son Ty.

Andy and his son Ty.

The worst stat was this: 42 percent of the men with kids under 18 years old who live at home work about 50 hours a week.

More than 3,500 people were surveyed in 2008 to produce the report.

The story quoted Ellen Galinsky, president of the institute as saying, “Men are working longer to bring in more money for their families. In open-ended questions … their answers were about earning more money. I think the breadwinner image is a part of it, particularly for men with children.”

The new analysis focuses on reasons for the increase in men’s conflict and appears to dispel notions that dads duck out of the office for child-related issues and don’t pull their weight at work.

“For many years, there was a strong focus on women and their work-family conflict,” Galinsky says. “This study shows it’s not just women, it’s men.”

The survey included working both at the office and at home but did not calculate them separately.

I was one of the worst offenders of this until about 18 months after Ty was born. Part of it was that I loved my job, and the other part was because I have workaholic tendencies.

Finally, we realized it would better for us if I went cold turkey and stayed at home to raise Ty.

Obviously most men have to work to support their families, even feeling an overwhelming pressure to do so, a point that was made in the article.

Do you know men who fit the findings of this survey?

Do the men in your lives struggle balancing family and work?

- By Andy Johnston, for the Momania blog

23 comments Add your comment


July 20th, 2011
7:19 am

Let’s see…(no kids)come home, relax on the couch with a beer and watch some TV. vs. (kids)come home listen to the complaints from wife, fights about homework, get kids ready for bed. Yeah, sounds plausible to me that one would “need” to spend more time a work. Just sayin’.

Seriously, most men I know are happy to come home and see their kids. I don’t know if they would work more or less without them. My husband is self employed and works until the job is done. Sometimes that means being home all day and sometimes that means working ’til 9o’clock several days straight. My husband would much rather be home than at work. In fact, I have often suggested that he stay home with the kids. I don’t make much but our bills are low and I have full insurance benefits and very stable employment.

I do remember thinking that a lot of men I know worked more once they got married. Maybe it was the need to provide or maybe it was the need to not be nagged at too early in the evening. Probably a little a both. I bet the survey results would be the same if it was “married vs. single” and kids were not part of the equation.


July 20th, 2011
7:58 am

My husband has typically worked just about 40 hours per week. He is salaried and if he works extra, he can take that time off on another date. His commute adds 2 hours per day. I have always worked too, so maybe that factors in? He did have another business, on the side, while the kids were smaller and I was working less. That was about 10 years ago.


July 20th, 2011
8:04 am

Could be several factors:
The dad with a job and kids at home (whichnmeans he’s still with the female) could be more responsible than the no kids male. Maybe the no kids at home doesn’t have kids at all or he is divorced. Maybe his social life is a factor in his working less.

Maybe the dad with kids at home is, as has been mentioned, the sole breadwinner and feels the need to secure his job and income for his family by working longer and harder.

Maybe he doesn’t WANT to go home.


July 20th, 2011
8:37 am

Who would want to walk into a house where everyone is complaining? My neighbor, when he gets home from work, instantly starts bitching about the house and what wasn’t done during the day. He hasn’t even kissed the wife or said hi to her, just starts right in. I wouldn’t want to be in their home. After a long day of work, communiting, running errands, I wouldn’t want that.

I like walking into a quiet home. My daughter is there, but she’s usually watching tv. She’ll turn it off so we can chat about our days. Neither one of us starts the evening off complaining. It just sets a bad tone for the rest of the night. No thank you!!!!

No stress, no drama.

Andy Johnston

July 20th, 2011
10:42 am

Interesting that a couple of y’all mentioned that dad doesn’t want to come home from work. Obviously, the homelives of some families are pretty bad. I wonder how big a factor that was in this survey.


July 20th, 2011
10:50 am

HA! Staying longer to avoid the family. I muse about that one some nights, but I’d rather deal with a cranky toddler any day than have to stay at the office one minute longer than I have to.


July 20th, 2011
10:57 am

So good research dollars was spent to come to this obvious conclusion. Why not do a survey on the disparity between married working parent and single parent households? Nevermind, that one is obvious too.


July 20th, 2011
11:10 am

I think it is a myth that a bad economy keeps couples from divorcing. I see alot of stress and turmoil in many families lately, no one seems to care anymore.

Regarding dad’s work hours, I think you have to balance what is best for the family and the job. I have seen a trend of dad’s loosing jobs when they dedicate too much time to their kids activities. For instance, many of the dad’s I observe at the baseball or football fields either don’t have demanding, high paying jobs. Those that do have careers that require more work hours have suffered financially and personally because that dedicated to much of themselves to their kids, not necessarily the spouse.

Lifestyles are drastically changing for many folks. Many of the dad’s I mentioned in the previous paragraph are becoming the primary caregiver for their children as well. The dynamics of the family are changing and I hate to say I see many mom’s just walking away.

I know my husband is under alot of stress at work. No job loss, but he is not folish enough to think it can’t happen to him. As a wife I try to be supportive and I am taking on alot more at home that I ever have. However, I am not a single mom and I am under the stress of “what if” as well. I don’t vent because I don’t want to stress him out. Even I have a breaking point on how supportive I can be.

I think the problem is many men (dad’s) want to keep that traditional role but they can’t. Things have changed for all!


July 20th, 2011
12:16 pm

My husband is a Physician’s Assistant so he works 7 12-hour shifts every 2 weeks. It’s great for us because I’m self-employed and have a flexible schedule so on the days he doesn’t work he gets to take care of our 2 year old and have some “Dad-Son” bonding time. I can work a full-time day and we don’t have to pay for daycare those days!

Donna P.

July 20th, 2011
12:48 pm

Maybe dads work longer hours because kids are EXPENSIVE! Also, men traditionally make more money than women. Hooray to the dads that work, come home, and spend time with their kids.

Masters Degree

July 20th, 2011
12:51 pm

I have a different spin that I live… I have three kids 4,3,2… and I work harder now cause I want more for them…… how about men are working harder to provide.. when I was younger I would be rushing out to party.


July 20th, 2011
1:22 pm

Interesting article……As a working stay at home Dad, i was the primary caregiver, survived 2 major surgeries, Coached his Sports teams and took care of everything at home from laundry to yard work while the Ex did the Corporate thing….traversing the globe on company jets, staying at 5 Star Hotels with her 3 passports.

She woke up one day 2 years ago and said i can’t do this anymore….and “that i needed to get a real job”. She decided to leave and pulled every horrible act imaginable….depleting accounts beforehand, hiding assets, stealing my work computer, and had friends perjure affidavits………As i wasted over 120K in legal fees….just mediating ? Wtf.

How many guys do you know (other than me) have affidavits for custody from the child’s Pediatrician ?

It’s funny, She has a grand life today with all the gold bells and whistles….yet still yearns for happiness and contentment…….alone.

They say the children eventually “figure it out, and put the puzzle together”……..he is beginning to get it @ age 13.

And btw, there is no other side of the story : )

They will have to face their demons and karma eventually.

Any ideas on where to find honest, single, intelligent, and attractive woman in the ATL other than bars ?


July 20th, 2011
1:34 pm

I’m with Donna P. on this – is it simply b/c they need to work hard to provide for their families? I think some men see working extra hours as a way to extend job security.


July 20th, 2011
2:10 pm

@godoggo – how old are you? I’m sorry for what happened to you, and I could have written that same story 19 years ago. It happened to me…..


July 20th, 2011
3:39 pm

The real question, to me, is what families need. Not everyone agrees on this.

Example: We can take 2-3 vacations for the same price other people spend on one. I am very thrifty and we love to travel. I do not want to put all my eggs in one basket…so to speak!

It is true that some Dads could work until they keel over, while trying to provide for their families and it will never be enough.

I just heard a story about a HS student who used her parent’s CC to purchase a $200 pair of shorts. I can confidently tell you that I could give my kids a CC on my account and know they would NEVER try this. Mine also do not drive the kinds of cars some kids drive. If you have two teens who are not working and driving late model cars all summer, using your CC…you will be working long hours!


July 20th, 2011
3:53 pm

$200 for a pair of shorts? Are they made of gold?


July 20th, 2011
4:08 pm

My husband is a workaholic, but it comes with his line of work. He is on call 24/7/365 and they never hesitate to call in the wee hours of morning. He is salaried, so no over time. :o( If he got that, I could quit my job, hire a few maids, travel at my leisure…you get the idea!!! I’d say he works, on average, about 70-80 hours per week. When he gets home from the office, the first thing he does is fire the laptop back up and start checking on things at work.

I’m not a nagger, and he is happy to be home with us & the kids, even if we are sometimes just background noise on his conference calls. :o) I know he struggles a bit to squeeze enough family time in, but we all understand.


July 20th, 2011
4:36 pm

To each his own. Every family’s dynamics are different for sure!

My husband said this to me yesterday, ” I need to go in to work on Saturday for 4 hours or so…is that I problem?”

Reply..” no not on my end. We have nothing planned and I will be town for several weeks, so if something comes up….I can handle it.”

He is not a workaholic but will typically do whatever they need him to.


July 20th, 2011
4:44 pm

jj and mjg-my daughter had friends in high school who would shop and buy $250 plus coach purses online when they were in class. she would freak! of course it was their parents cc…my kids have only used my cards when they went on a little trip as an in case of emergency thing…but they would never ever charge something like that…but thats because they were taught not to and taught the value of money.

i think as someone said-lots of men put in more hours due to being a tad job scared and needing to make the extra $$…but also-it is still mostly the moms who have to leave work to take the kids here and there and stay home when they are sick…id say if a woman has a live in nanny the number wouldnt be so far apart.


July 20th, 2011
5:00 pm

I’d probably shoot my kid if she paid $200.00 for a pair of shorts..:~) OK, not really, but I would be like JJ, I’d be looking for the gold in them..

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

July 20th, 2011
7:28 pm

I’m one of these dads who puts in 45-50 hours a week.

For me it’s simple….I never took my job as seriously as I do now that I have a kid relying on me. Positioning myself as best i can to convince my company that they’re better off with me than without me is in my, and more importantly, my family’s best interests. Before the kid, the prospect of losing our jobs was almost like an opportunity to live a grand adventure by tapping out our retirement and starting all over in some exotic location. that doesn’t fly when your kid likes his school, needs stability, etc. His stability is paramount to me. My wife and I are already planning our escape from our jobs and starting someplace new once he’s out on his own. My job, and how much of my soul I put into it, is directly related to how much I have riding on keeping it. And right now, it’s a lot.


July 21st, 2011
2:43 am

The answer (for most men who fit the “working 50 hours category) is reall quite simple. Obviously the economy is not what it was. I went from a grand a week job to $600 evrery two weeks. Not because I wanted to, because I had to.

The decision was made for my wife to stay home with the kids for many reasons. My job, not only as bill payer, is to be a living example to my children as they grow. If 60 Hour work weeks provide and secure my family, then that is my duty as dad.

I would love to see the same people answer the question: how many hours do you still spend with family even after working that much? There you may find answers similar to these. As dada, we do what we do for our children. It is what we are called to do. Involved dads will work to the bone and spend ample quality time still.

Now ask me how much I sleep lol. In the end, very hour is worth it.

-::steps off opinion box::-


July 21st, 2011
11:36 pm

TheDaddyYoDude….great comments. Children need to see that, and im sure you enjoy, savor, relish, and spoil them with love when you are with them.

I’ve just touched on a minutia of what i had to deal with……but my Son has deduced most : )

He will be moving in with me next year, and unfortunately i can already sense the pain she is going to have to endure…..i have the patience of “job” though which she did not count on……i never called her a name, cursed at them, or raised my voice… just made them more incensed.

I have concerns that he will never worry, or want for anything….Ever…..She buys him $180 Nikes, Xbox games, and herself $5000 purses…….but when he is with me, i do my best to keep him balanced……..

I consult now with Men and Woman dealing with difficult Corporate Divorces….i know most of the loopholes…..and have made many an Attorney blush : )… just dealing with the facts…..a No spin zone. Many don’t need Attorneys….they can be a Horrible, Horrible waste of Assets…..and just Breed on your emotion.