I had the great pleasure of attending my first At-Home Dads Convention in our nation’s capital this past weekend. That’s right, I said AT-HOME DADS CONVENTION. No doubt, some of you are saying to yourselves, “They actually have one of those?” The answer is YES, and they have been going on for a while – 16 years to be exact. The next question that likely comes to your mind is, “What do you do at an at-home dads convention?”  Today’s post is an overview of that very question.  Over the next few weeks I will be posting on some other convention topics that were very helpful to me personally.

YOU FIND SUPPORT

One of the immediate things that I noticed was unconditional support from the gentlemen in attendance at the convention. I had to wait for my wife to get off of work before heading down the road, and like any other day in Washington D.C., there was a ton of traffic.  So, I was late for the registration reception, and I felt like I had to explain why I was late, but it wasn’t even necessary.  I was welcomed and included from the get-go.  As a stay at home parent, you can’t put a price on unconditional support!

YOU HAVE FUN

One of the best parts of the convention are the two days leading up to it.  Saturday’s convention is all business, but Thursday and Friday are full of opportunities to relax and just have a good time with other guys.  If you can talk beer, sports, food and music, you will get along just fine.  There are structured activities as well as unstructured down time to just relax; after all, we have been cooped up with our kids all year!

YOU EAT GOOD FOOD

One thing you can guarantee that an at home dads convention will get right is the food.  And they did!  Just look at this spread that we had for lunch including pizza, subs, chips, granola bars, cheesecake, sodas, Gatorade, etc.  Good thing there was a session on home workouts for parents!

There are also many opportunities leading up to and after the convention to share a meal with the other dads.

YOU REST

I’m sure that a lot of dads found this weekend very restful.  Even if we didn’t get much sleep, it was great to have two or three days that didn’t involve chasing toddlers or running teens to soccer practice.  It helped to recharge the dad batteries, and get us even more geared up to improve our homes and families.

YOU GET EXPERT INFORMATION

The guest speakers that presented on Saturday were amazing.  There were topics for every dad from discipline, to self-esteem, getting your child ready to read, starting your own dad’s group, and even a session on recognizing depression in other dads so that you can help them out.  The key note speaker was Dr. Aaron Rochlen.  He presented several interesting and revealing bits of information that he has discovered while researching at home dads and their wives.  Another great speaker was Dr. Rene Hackney who shared skills that we can use to increase our child’s self-esteem.  She also gave us practical advice on discipline.  One of the favorite sessions was the age-based open forum.  It provided an opportunity for dads to talk to other dads and share struggles and successes.  Most of all, it let us know that we were not alone.

YOU BUILD RELATIONSHIPS

The men who attended this convention are all top-notch dads.  We want to make our families better.  We want to change the way dads are portrayed in the media.  We want to rebel against the stereotypes and stigmas of stay at home dads.  We want to love our spouses and children like crazy, and never leave them wanting more.  And most importantly, we want to support YOU in that effort as well, so get connected!

YOU COME BACK NEXT YEAR

I can’t speak highly enough of the men who planned and executed this convention.  They did an outstanding job.  If you are an at home dad, or even a working dad who is looking for ways to engage his family, check out DaddysHome.org and AtHomeDad.org.  These sites are great resources for anyone looking to connect with other dads.  And be sure to keep your eye on AtHomeDadConvention.com for the latest information about next year’s convention in Washington, D.C.