With the news that a study has shown 50 per cent of adults feel that a child is better off with a stay-at-home parent, you could be forgiven for thinking we had time travelled back to 1954.
And a second look at the study shows that 45 per cent of adults say it’s better if the mother is the parent who isn’t employed outside the home. Just over half aren’t fussed just as long as it’s one of the parents and only two per cent think it should be the dad. It just re-confirms that the next thing you should do it put on your bobby socks and poodle skirt and rock on out to Bill Haley and his Comets.
Because we sure haven’t come a long way with our entrenched beliefs.
The research by the Pew Research Centre found that about four-in-10 (39 per cent) say children are just as well off when their parents work outside the home, despite almost half of those respondents who think a child needs a stay-at-home parents coming from a household where two parents work.
In Australia, we have 5.4 million two parent families, and 63 per cent of them have both parents in employment. There are millions of single parent families and same-sex parent families as well, but in keeping with the “1954” theme these this research ignored them completely.
Only two per cent thought the dad should be the one to stay home. Via Lego.
The study found that men are more likely than women to say that children in two-parent households are better off when a parent stays home (63 per cent vs 55 per cent).
They are the kind of statistics that make you wonder why.
Why do only two per cent of people think that fathers should take on the stay at home parent role?
Why do we have such entrenched attitudes about having a stay-at-home-parent at all?
And in 2016 when more and more work places are encouraging flexibility with working from home and part time work what on earth is the definition of a stay-at-home parent these days anyway?
While we are seeing increased numbers of men moving in to the role - it's a slow shift. The Australian Bureau of Statistics shows us that the number of fathers using flexible working arrangements to care for their children has doubled since the mid-1990s.
“Around 30 per cent of dads took advantage of flexible work hours to look after young children (under 12), compared with 16 per cent of dads two decades ago,” Director of Family and Community Statistics Lisa Conolly told News Limited.
“The number of dads working from home to care for their children doubled from seven per cent to 14 per cent, while dads who worked part-time to care for their children rose from one per cent to five per cent.”
But, as News Limited reports, 90 per cent of dads with children under 15 are employed, compared with 65 per cent of mums.
There would have been many benefits to living in 1954.
The cost of a house was around £3000, Grace Kelly was a fashion icon you could try to emulate and Facebook hadn’t yet started mummy-shaming (that was left to the gossips over the back fence instead) but there is no question life for women has become easier since those times.
What we need now is society's attitude to catch up to where we want to be and perhaps at some point in the future studies like this will be best left alongside Bill Haley and his Comets in a long forgotten era.