This study draws on identity theory to explore parental and work-related identities by comparing primary caregivers and breadwinners. It examined how the salience and centrality of identities vary by gender and family role, and the relationships between identities and individuals’ involvement in paid work and childcare. A sample of 236 parents with young children completed extensive questionnaires. As hypothesised, primary breadwinners had more salient and central work identities than primary caregivers. However, there was no difference in parental identities, and within each role category, women had more salient and central work identities than men. Finally, the salience and centrality of parents’ work-related identities were positively related to time investment in paid work and negatively related to hours of childcare. These findings shed light on the complex relationships between family roles, gender and identities and emphasise the importance of distinguishing between identity salience and centrality as two components of self-structure.