Arthur and Carah Wentworth-Fisher both work part-time and spend the rest of the time with little ones Darcy and Millie.
Arthur and Carah Wentworth-Fisher both work part-time and spend the rest of the time with little ones Darcy and Millie.

Part-time work, full-time reward

WHILE the days of the stay-at-home mum being the only parenting method are over, a recent report shows men still spend less time with their children due to work commitments.

But one Warwick family is bucking the trend.

Unlike many families where the man is the breadwinner and the woman works full-time, part-time or not at all, the Wentworth-Fishers took a different approach when the stork delivered their firstborn, Darcy, two years ago.

Arthur and wife of six and a half years, Carah, stepped back from their jobs to work part-time.

The arrangement worked so well they decided to stick to it when Millie, now 10 months old, came along.

"We decided well before having kids that we were going to share the load," Mr Wentworth-Fisher said.

"This arrangement isn't going to last forever.

"Life is short and there is only a short time when we get to do this before they go to school.

"Carah really loves her work so she didn't want to give that up.

"This is a good balance that works out for everybody."

But according to a report - Fathering in Australia among couple families with young children - by Jennifer Baxter and Diana Smart of the Australian Institute of Family Studies, the Wentworth-Fishers' arrangement is unusual.

"The proportion of families in which both mother and father work part-time hours is very small, at less than 3% overall," the report said.

Mr Wentworth-Fisher works at WIRAC, helping keeping Warwickites in shape on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. His wife works at Warwick West School in the Early Development Centre on Mondays and Thursdays.

Mr Wentworth-Fisher said there were many rewards for being a stay-at-home dad.

"I get to see a lot of firsts - first steps, first words," he said.

"There is definitely a closer bond between us because I do spend all day with them.

"I wanted to have that close relationship with them.

"I got on well with my parents but I wasn't that close to them."

Not all fathers felt working full-time was a negative.

Nearly three quarters of men surveyed for the report agreed their full-time jobs helped them to better appreciate the time they spent with their children.

"Just over half agreed their work had a positive effect on their children and almost half agreed their working made them a better parent," the report said.

But Mr Wentworth-Fisher hopes more families will follow their lead.

"Then hopefully there'll be some more dads to hang out with during the day," he said.


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