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Williston, ND native Eric Shapiro, 22, looks after his 8-month old son Rylen soon after finishing up an Algebra test at Northland Community and Technical College Thursday June 12. Photo by Luke Franke/ Grand Forks Herald

Study finds more choosing to be stay-at-home fathers

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Study finds more choosing to be stay-at-home fathers
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Cody Floden, a Grand Forks father, didn’t plan on making child care his full-time occupation.

“Initially I just kind of fell into it,” said Floden, a stay-at-home dad for three girls.


When Floden and his wife, Angela, had their first daughter, Quincie, they decided it was too difficult to have an infant in day care. So Cody decided it was best to stay home. Eleven years later, the couple has two more girls, Lydia, 8, and Audrey, 5.

“My being home works out well for us because my wife’s schedule is pretty good. We have weekends and evenings together with the kids. I’m happy I’m a stay-at-home dad,” said Floden.

He said he feels more men would have stayed home more in the past, had it been more socially acceptable.

According to a survey conducted by Pew Research in 2013, in 1989 roughly 1.1 million dads stayed at home with their children. In the last 20 years, that number has nearly doubled. It reached its peak, 2.2 million, at the end of the recession in 2010.

Eric Shapiro, 22, father of 8-month-old Rylen agreed with Floden.

“I think it’s the new thing for our generation. It’s more socially acceptable. Before, the standard was the mother stayed at home and the father worked. Now, it’s not so strict. There isn’t a label on everything” said Shapiro.

Family care

Pew Research’s survey shows that in 2013, nearly 21 percent of stay-at-home dads said they were home to care for their family, a big increase from the five percent in 1989.

The largest group of stay-at-home fathers, according to the study, is those who are unable to work because of health or disability, but that has fallen from 56 percent to 35 percent since 1989. Men unable to find jobs made up 23 percent of the fathers, up from 15 in the earlier survey.

Shapiro, a full time-student and with a part-time job, said he prefers to work part-time in part because of school, “but mostly because (he doesn’t) want (his) schedule to be completely packed with work and have no time to be at home with Rylen.”

Floden said he, too, stays home for the family — and has fun doing it.

“Oh gosh we do lots. We ride bike, play ball, read stories, play card games, lots of stuff,” he said.

“It’s more fun being able to spend time with Rylen and my family in general,” said Shapiro. “Plus me being home gives my fiancée, Allison, a much deserved and needed break,” he added.

Though more fathers choose to stay home, other Pew findings show that public opinion still favors mothers staying with children. A 2013 study found that 51 percent of those surveyed said children are better off if mothers stayed at home, but only 8 percent said it was better for fathers to be at home.

Spending time

A survey conducted by Boston College’s Center for Work and Family found “77 percent of the fathers wished they had more time to spend with their kids and more than half said that, if given the choice and if finances permitted, they’d prefer to quit their jobs and stay home to take care of the kids.”

“I want to see him grow up. I was at school when he started crawling, and I don’t want to have to miss any of that stuff again,” said Shapiro.

Pew Research shows 48 percent of working fathers and 52 percent of working mothers said they would prefer being home with raising their children than at work, but they can’t be a stay-at-home mom or dad because they need the income.

Despite this, Shapiro and Floden predict the trend will continue.

“I think other dads want to spend time with their kids too, I mean, who wouldn’t?” said Shapiro.

More On the Web: Read the Pew study at