Many at-home dads are like Miss Havisham from Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations:” we are reclusive and rarely venture outside of our homes. We try to do everything ourselves and we don’t think we need any help.

The idea of going to a playgroup or dad’s night out with other “loser at-home dads” seems ridiculous.

Busting the family budget to travel to Omaha for a convention for at-home dads seems even more ridiculous.

“That’s because,” as my good friend and author of the upcoming book ’30 Things Future Dads Need to Know About Pregnancy,’ Hogan Hilling, always says, “you’re not ready to come out of the pantry and admit to yourself and the world that you are an at-home dad.”

Well my fellow at-home dads, it is time to GET OUT OF THE PANTRY!

The happiest and most fulfilled at-home dads you will ever meet are those who have a strong local group and/or attend the annual convention. This is no coincidence. Research by Dr. Aaron Rochlen of the University of Austin-Texas found that at-home dads who had a good social support network reported the highest level of satisfaction in their reversed role.

Every at-home dad I know started out this adventure just like me: lonely and alone. I stuck to myself and resisted outside help. My family was not entirely happy.

When I attended my first Annual At-Home Dad’s Convention in 2005 though, my life changed.

I came out of the pantry.

I met a lot of other awesome at-home dads from all over the country and realized a very exciting thing: I was not alone!

It is impossible to describe how powerful of a feeling it was to be sitting in a room with 50 or so other at-home dads who had the same problems as I did with my kids, my spouse and society in general.

I discovered that these fellow at-home dads could help me be a better husband and father with their advice, their fellowship and their endless ribbing.  I discovered that my family was happier because I had good friends I could count on. I discovered that, despite all that masculinity mumbo-jumbo, I really needed some good male friends.

From then on I made it a top priority in my life to attend and help the Convention any way I could. I wanted other at-home dads to get out of the pantry like I did, find other at-home dads and become better husbands, fathers and men.

It isn’t easy convincing at-home dads that they need to spend their wife’s hard-earned money to come to a convention and learn about “quick and easy hairstyling” or “communicating with schools” or “parenting with confidence.” Most at-home dads think they already know all that stuff.

I did too but found out I was lying to myself.

It also isn’t easy convincing them that sharing a room with a total stranger who will become one of their best friends or laughing at the story about the at-home dad who tried to fix his shower while, unknown to him, his son  spread poop all over his bedroom or sharing the challenges of keeping your marriage together when your wife thinks her house isn’t clean enough is worth the money and time away from their families.

Simply stated, it is and it’s life-changing.

(Don’t just take my word for it; read what many other convention attendees have said.)

So, come on, get out of the pantry! Admit you are an at-home dad and embrace it!

Join me and lots of at-home dads from around the country and register for the 15th Annual At-Home Dads Convention in Omaha on October 2 TODAY!

I promise you that it will help you to reach your “Great Expectations.”