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Friday, 28 April, 2000, 07:44 GMT 08:44 UK
Men keen to hold baby
Dads at home
Dads would prefer to stay at home
Working mothers are throwing themselves into their careers while men are increasingly willing to stay at home and be "Dad", a survey suggests.

A study of Britain's "21st Century Family" found that today's dads are keener to work fewer hours to look after their families, even if this means a salary cut or worsened career prospects.

The survey of 1,774 adults, by Mintel, found almost a quarter of working fathers, compared with 18% of working mothers with children under five, would like to work fewer hours.

The research also revealed 53% of women working full-time enjoyed their job compared with 47% of men.
Family Dads
A quarter of men would like to work fewer hours
40% of men say their families suffer because of their work
Half of men say they do not spend enough time with their families
20% of fathers buy 'guilt presents' for their children

Working mothers are more likely than working fathers to attach importance to the companionship and social life they get from their jobs, the survey found.

Meanwhile four in 10 men complained that their social or family life actually suffered because of their work, compared with 30% of women.

Research manager Angela Hughes said: "Research suggests that the introduction of parental leave and more flexible working hours will be welcomed by both fathers and mothers of children under the age of five, who are more likely than others to wish they could spend less time working."

Family life changing

The trends shown in the study revealed clear changes in family life as the "traditional family unit", of a husband and wife with two young children, is gradually eclipsed.

In 1979, this type of family represented a third of all households in Britain, but now accounts for less than one in four homes.

But overall, 21st Century families are more interested in work than domestic life.

Just 12% of all working parents would prefer to be at home all of the time.
women working
Women are becoming career-obsessed

Many working parents were found to feel guilty about the lack of time spent at home with their children, and admitted buying their offspring presents as compensation.

Fathers are almost twice as likely as mothers to be motivated by guilt at not spending enough time with their families, with nearly one in five giving this as a reason for buying them things.

Meanwhile 41% of full-time mothers, compared with 27% of others, admitted to feeling blackmailed by their children into buying things they could not afford.

Three-quarters of parents agreed that children today are "obsessed with money" and seven in 10 said they found bringing up children much more expensive than expected.

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