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Stay-at-home dads putting kids before careers

A Pew Research Center study last year found stay-at-home dads now account for more than 16 percent of at-home caretakers
Daddy duty: More men choosing to put kids ahead of careers 03:42

Commercials like the recent Dove Super Bowl ad are just one sign of the powerful bond between dads and their kids. The number of fathers staying home nearly doubled from a quarter-century ago and now many are choosing to put a commitment to parenting ahead of their careers, reports CBS News correspondent Dean Reynolds.

The scene at a bowling alley in suburban Chicago had the look of a typical weekend outing of dads and their kids, but it happened to be a Thursday. These dads weren't taking a day off from their jobs, because hanging with their kids is their job -- their full-time job.

"It's unconventional, but it's right for our family and that's all that matters," stay-at-home dad Brian Dykes said.

He's a former lighting director whose job now is to take care of his two daughters, ages 3 and 5. He has no problem that his wife is the breadwinner even if most of the mothers he meets at the playground think the arrangement is a little strange.

"Sometimes they're like, 'Oh, you just took a day off from work.' And you're like 'Yeah. I took every day off from work,'" Dykes said.

A Pew Research Center study last year found stay-at-home dads account for more than 16 percent of at-home caretakers. With more than 20 percent of wives now out-earning their husbands the trend is growing.

"The statistics are hard to get a good handle on, what the Pew Research Center says is there's about two million stay-at-home dads. And I think that's pretty close to accurate in this country," National At-Home Dad Network president Al Watts said.

Over the last twelve years, as each of his four children were born, Al has been the primary care-giver. His wife Shirley is a well-paid executive at ConAgra Foods.

Like many stay-at-home dads, he initially suffered from social isolation, but says networking has eased the anxiety.

"Stay-at-home dads are discovering that when they find other stay at home dads like them, they feel more competent in their own self," Al said. "They feel more confident themselves, they enjoy the camaraderie."

Shirley said in her eyes, her husband's willingness to take care of their children makes him more of a man.

"He's willing to, you know, go beyond what the stereotype would say is required of a man," she said.

A separate survey by Boston College found that a majority of working men wish they could switch places with their stay-at-home wives if it was financially feasible.

Al said it's surprisingly doable and he's written a book called "Dads Behaving Dadly," a compendium of stories dads like him have to tell.

He does the cooking, the laundering, the housekeeping, the snow-shoveling and of course the schlepping to soccer practice, in addition to his parenting TLC.

"I certainly know that a lot of my female counterparts and colleagues are like, 'Wow! How can I get one of those?'" Shirley said.

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