From Breadwinner to Breadmaker: The Experiences of Stay-at-Home Fathers in Ireland Today

Eoin O'Brien (Thesis), Dublin Institute of Technology

Document Type Theses, Masters

Successfully submitted for the award of Master of Arts ( M.A.) in Child, Family and Community Studies to the Dublin Institute of Technology, 2012.


The experience and views of men who have become stay-at-home fathers has been an area of research that has, only in recent decades, become popular to study. This study highlights that there is a dearth of literature from an Irish perspective and that little is known about the topic. Internationally, research has shown that there appears to be a strong link between masculine identity and the realm of paid employment. It also shows that fathers struggle in their attempts to balance being involved fathers while maintaining a foothold in paid employment. The literature highlights that stay-at-home fathers begin to break down traditional notions that the domestic sphere is solely the domain of women. Findings from semi-structured interviews are presented and discussed showing that the experiences of stay-at-home fathers have a dramatic impact on fathers’ emotions. It also highlighted that, although the fathers felt them being at home was extremely beneficial to the father/child relationship, they had a strong desire to return to paid employment. Stay-at-home fathers appear to struggle with a renegotiation of their role within their family with many having had little experience of ‘caring’ tasks prior to this time. Recommendations are presented in view of the current research and the findings of this study.


Document Type

Master thesis