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The National At-Home Dad Network announces our:
HomeDadCon 2019 Speakers
First Round of Presenters
Dr. Anna Machin, Evolutionary Anthropologist, Oxford. Top left.
Mark A. Meier, MSW, LISCW, Face It Foundation. Top right.
Brian P. Heilman, Senior Research Officer, Promundo-US. Lower left.
Dr. Leslie C. Bell, LCSW, Berkeley.  Lower Right.
HomeDadCon 2019 is just 101 days away!

We are excited to share with you our first round of speakers selected to present at the 24th Annual At-Home Dad Convention. Minneapolis is shaping up to be both a great opportunity to meet other dads and relax, and a chance to converse with some of the top fatherhood and parenting researchers in the world. 

  • Dr. Anna Machin is an Evolutionary Anthropologist, author and researcher at Oxford, whose work includes but is not limited to: researching the role fatherhood plays in our lives, the bond fathers have with their newborn children, and the way our closest relationships effect our parenting.  Her parenting guide The Life Of Dad: The Making of a Modern Father, was published in June 2018.
  • Mark Meier is the Founder and Executive Director of the Face It Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization focused specifically on the needs of men with depression and suicide prevention. His foundation’s mission includes providing peer support, education, social activities, tools, and training to men who want to recover and take their lives back.
  • Brian Heilman is a lead researcher at Promundo-US where his work focuses on gender based violence, harmful masculine norms, and broader gender equality. He co-authors Promundo’s State of the World’s Fathers report, and is lead author on The Man Box study, that looks at young men and how a rigid view of masculinity negatively affects their lives.
  • Dr. Leslie Bell is a sociologist and psychotherapist coming to us from Berkeley. She is researching couples, where one partner is a primary care-giving father, and the impact that race, culture, sexuality, and class have on them. Her previous research into young adult women and their challenges navigating sexuality, sexual freedom, and relationships culminated in her book Hard To Get: 20-Something Women and the Paradox of Sexual Freedom.

Our presenters will be sharing their knowledge on fatherhood, parenting, relationships, health, and current research about your role as an engaged dad.  We would love to see you at HomeDadCon September 26th, 27th and 28th.  Get your ticket, book your hotel room, and find all the information at our website https://homedadcon.org

Want to get out kayaking on the Mississippi with REI and the National At-Home Dad Network? If there is enough interest, Thursday morning REI Outdoor School will lead a group of dads on a guided tour of the river. Contact convention@athomedad.org if kayaking sounds like something you’d be interested in doing.
Correction: In a previous update, we mistakenly announced September 1st as the last day to reserve your hotel room with Embassy Suites.  The correct date is August 27th.  To ensure our convention discounted room rate, the National At-Home Dad Network room block requires booking your room prior to August 27th.  We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.
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National At-Home Dad Network Blog by National At-home Dad Network - 1M ago

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr, today is the day that we chose to share our new inclusion statement. We understand that we’re an organization that can appear to be under-representative of the diversity we know to exist in the at-home dad community. We are working to change that perception. Our organization is a space where all at-home dads are welcome to participate and we wanted a strong message to make that clear.

Inclusion Statement

The National At-Home Dad Network is an inclusive community committed to equality, education, esteem, and empowerment.

We know that a great community includes a diversity of individuals, ideas, inputs, ideologies, and inspirations. It is not surprising then that we are strongly committed to inclusion.

We value respectful discourse and a free flow of ideas.

We welcome, facilitate, and respect a diversity of ideas, experiences, cultures, beliefs, and backgrounds. In fact, we demand it.

We will defend all members against hatred and bigotry.

As a result, The National At-Home Dad Network is made up of individuals of all abilities, backgrounds, religions, races, cultures, ethnicities, sexual orientations, genders, ages, and expressions.

This commitment to diversity and inclusion not only makes us who we are, but it also makes us better, more creative, more innovative, more understanding and more outstanding.

Above all and including all, we will continue to work to create a safe space for everyone to contribute, to grow, to learn and to redefine fatherhood.

click here to learn more about our purpose, mission, and core values

Respectfully adapted from Mom 2.0’s Inclusion Statement

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National At-Home Dad Network Blog by National At-home Dad Network - 1M ago

Early Bird Registration for HomeDadCon 2019 is finally here!

Join us in Minneapolis, September 26-28 2018.

Registration will be available for a limited time and discounted for HomeDadCon 2019 at $185.

Learn more at HomeDadCon.org.

As one of the longest-running fatherhood events in the country, HomeDadCon — aka the Annual At-Home Dads Convention — is now in its 24th year and is attended by some of the most involved fathers in the country to network, support, and learn from each other. It also attracts renowned authors, researchers and experts on parenting and child behavior as speakers, offering a chance for professional development, specifically for dads. The unique and welcoming atmosphere of this low-pressure event is organized by volunteer dads, for dads.

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The Black Friday Registration Sale for HomeDadCon 2019 is finally here!

Join us in Minneapolis, September 26-28 2018. Save $10 off Early Bird Registration by claiming this deal RIGHT NOW.

Only 30 registrations will be available and discounted for HomeDadCon 2019 at $175 and will include a free copy of Ignore It! by Catherine Pearlman, PhD LCSW. 

Learn more at HomeDadCon.org.

As one of the longest-running fatherhood events in the country, HomeDadCon — aka the Annual At-Home Dads Convention — is now in its 24th year and is attended by some of the most involved fathers in the country to network, support, and learn from each other.  It also attracts renowned authors, researchers and experts on parenting and child behavior as speakers, offering a chance for professional development, specifically for dads. The unique and welcoming atmosphere of this low-pressure event is organized by volunteer dads, for dads.

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National At-Home Dad Network Blog by National At-home Dad Network - 1M ago

Here ye, here ye!!! The dates for HomeDadCon 2019 have finally arrived! Get excited, save the date, gather funds and get ready for our Black Friday sale for registration!!! Find out more at HomeDadCon.org

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National At-Home Dad Network Blog by National At-home Dad Network - 1M ago

Support Men’s Health during Movember by Growing a Mo, Get Moving Daily or Gathering friends to raise funds! Join our Team and help raise awareness of men’s health. Our #MovemberDads team is a joint effort with Life of Dad, Dad 2.0 Summit and City Dads Group.

Find out more HERE!

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Each year at HomeDadCon, we have our Annual Members’ Meeting, as dictated by our bylaws as a 501(c)3 nonprofit, where members of our organization vote on potential nominees. Those running for election will present their abilities, talents, and willingness to serve on the Board of Directors for a three-year term, supporting our mission: “To provide advocacy, community, education and support for families where the fathers are primary caregivers for their children.”

If you have questions about this process, particularly if you are a member who will not be able to attend HomeDadCon this year but would like to participate in voting, please contact Board Secretary Austin Dowd by emailing secretary (at) athomedad (dot) org for instructions on proxy votes.

The following candidates are The National At-Home Dad Network’s 2017 Board Nominees

Micah Adams

Micah Adams, 33, hails from Portage, IN (Chicago area). As a father of two boys, 6.5 and 3.5, he understands the daily challenges of being an at-home dad and master diaper-slinger. Micah has been a stay-at-home dad for about six years, since his oldest son was five months old.

Before that he worked as a board-certified optician. So far Micah has served on the convention planning committee, scholarship committee, one of the admins of the official Facebook group, and helped start up and run the Pinterest account for the National At-Home Dad network. He is also the co-founder of the Northwestern Indiana (NWI) Dad’s Group. Micah is also a bit of a rebel: he has been known to put ketchup on his hot dogs and order pineapple on his pizza. His hobbies include cycling, computer gaming, and his latest addiction of home roasting coffee.

Josh Bellish

Josh Bellish first became a stay at home dad when he and his Husband were the foster parents of 3 kids. He had no prior parenting experience but found himself at home with a newborn, a one year old and a 4 year old. Luckily his many years being yelled at by irrational people in his various corporate positions had prepared him for a task like this one. He was so deft at dodging their constant questions, their never ending stream of demands and stubbornness unlike the world has ever seen that when he and his husband had a kid of their own it was only natural that he would resume his SAHD role. Now Josh takes care of their 2 year old son while at the same time being super active in his local dads group and assisting with his husbands Real Estate group.

Josh helps as an administrator and organizer of the PDX Dads group Facebook Page and Meetup group. He runs 2 Facebook groups for Gay Dads and he spoke on the 2016 HomeDadCons first ever Gay Dads panel. He has also been a key member of the HomeDadCon 2017 planning committee.

Jonathan Heisey-Grove (JHG)

An at-home dad since 2011, Jonathan became an active member with the NAHDN after attending the convention in 2012.

He recognized a need for design of materials for the convention and has volunteered his expertise designing for the NAHDN ever since. He’s the Cub Master of a local Cub Scout Pack, and was president of his homeowner’s association for the past two years. He’s now ready to take on a more active role with the NAHDN. He is deeply committed to being a voice for at-home dads, having been interviewed about his role by NPR and Voice of America, the latter for two different countries.

As a board member he is seeking to bring the lives of at-home dads as caregivers to the mainstream, hoping to be an advocate nationally, not just locally.

Tony Hernandez

Tony Hernandez was born in Orange, California. His mother was a SAHM while he was young. His father was a career Chief Petty Officer (USN). He moved on orders (father) from the age of 6 months until the age of 16. He graduate from high school in 1983. He obtained his Associate of Arts and an Associate of Science in 1986. Two years later he graduated from Lander College with a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science. He worked in private industry until his wife (then girlfriend) finished her undergraduate degree. They both continued their educations at the University of South Carolina. He graduate in 1994 with a Masters of Arts in Teaching. He was a Disability Examiner from 1994 to 1998. He was a professional educator from 2000-2006 teaching Social Studies. He married Lisa Thomas in 1998 and their son was born in 2008.

Along with his professional experience, he also has served on a number of community organizations. Currently, he is Chairman of the Parks and Open Spaces Board in Horry County. He is actively engaged in issues important to SAHDs. Over the past four year he has been actively prompting the mission of the NAHD. He admins for a variety of Stay At-Home Dad groups. He Tweets about politics. He co-admins an 8,500 member FaceBook group which promotes understanding of Attention Deficit Disorder. His wife is an attorney in private practice specializing in civil litigation defense for municipalities and governmental organizations. His son is currently a 3rd grader. He has attended three conventions previously.

Ariel Isenberg

Ariel Isenberg has been employed as a full time at-home dad in the Isenberg household since 2008. Since then, he’s been promoted twice and now has 3 bosses. Ariel also teaches second grade Sunday school, volunteers with his children’s school PTA, volunteers in the school library, and is looking forward to being an active participant and volunteer in his children’s Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops which they start this year.

This will be his 7th convention. His first, in Omaha, NE, had such an impact that he decided to run for the board as a write-in from the floor. Having previously served on the board, including during the organization’s transition and re-branding from Daddy’s Home, Inc. to the National At-Home Dad Network, he is confident he can utilize his past experience, and all he’s learned since, in helping the National At-Home Dad Network continue its mission and growth.

Carl Wilke

Carl Wilke has been a SAHD longer than most of you guys have been married! This year marks his 17th year as a full-time at home dad after a brief six year career as a middle school teacher. He and his wife will celebrate 25 years of (mostly) wedded bliss this January. They have five daughters (ages 22, 18, 15, 7 and 4) and one son (13).

Carl attended his first HomeDadCon in Denver in 2013 and has been an active presence in various social media groups advocating for fathers in general and SAHDs in particular. He has served on the selection committee for the Brian Dickson Memorial Scholarship for the past four years, led a breakout group at HomeDadCon ’14 and will participate in the Trailblazing Dads panel at HomeDadCon ’17. Carl grew up in Wisconsin and brought his love of cheese, the Packers and Badgers with him when he and his family moved west to Tacoma, Washington, in 2011. He’s a pretty big deal because, at 6’8″ tall, he proudly claims the title of “Tallest Stay At Home Dad in the World”!

Spencer Tapia

Spencer is a stay at home dad to a four year old daughter with special medical needs. He resides in San Diego, CA with his wife and daughter.

When not fathering, Spencer works with non profit organizations. Spencer enjoys spending time with his family, traveling around Southern California and spending time at the beach. At 35, Spencer has successfully run a home business since he was 16.

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Finding support for our annual HomeDadCon can sometimes be difficult. In many cases, when I tell people that I am on a Board of Directors for a non-profit for stay at home dads called “The National At Home Dad Network”, they aren’t sure if they should laugh or take me seriously. I recently had one person ask if I was joking when I mentioned that we organize an annual convention just for stay at home dads. “Is that really a thing? I’ve never heard of that until now.”

Who does take us seriously? The sponsors of HomeDadCon. Brands invest in a partnership with the National At-Home Dad Network in order to make our annual at-home dads convention possible understand that dads are an important part of the conversation when it comes to choices centered around what is best for their families. We are proud this year to be partnering with P&G and Albertsons Companies, among others, and appreciate their support of our convention and our organization.

Recently, Board President Chris Routly, got to talk with Ellie Dexheimer, Albertsons National Sales Manager GMHBC about Albertsons Companies and their role in helping dads become a bigger part of the picture as consumers.

A Q&A with Ellie Dexheimer, Albertsons National Sales Manager GMHBC Q:  A big thank you to the Albertsons Companies for their sponsorship of HomeDadCon.  Why did Albertsons decide to support HomeDadCon this year?

A:  Our goal at Albertsons Companies is to be the favorite local supermarketTM in every neighborhood we serve. Over the years a growing number of fathers have become the primary shopper and meal preparer in the family. We celebrate the importance of stay-at-home dads and want to make sure we give dad the all he needs to provide delicious and healthy meals for his family.

Q: There’s been something of an explosion in the number of at-home dads recently, most of whom take on the majority of the grocery purchasing in their home. And, in homes where the man is not in a primary caregiver role, men are taking on or sharing those responsibilities in larger and larger numbers as well. Additionally, in homes with single men or men with gay partners, it’s men doing the shopping, by default. Has ABS seen a change in number of males doing the majority of the grocery shopping in-store?

A: Absolutely! It is important to note that not only are their more men shopping for their families but they are also looking for healthier choices. We have seen an increase in demand across all demographics for natural, organic and local products and we are happy to offer these items at an affordable price.

Q: How has the increase in the number of male shoppers impacted the way that Albertsons communicates with its shoppers from diversity of products to promotions?

A:  Our vendor partners provide more male-oriented products, as well as programs that are geared to both male and female shoppers. Some examples are P&G’s Dad Days of Summer, Simplify Your Routine and the upcoming October Health and Beauty Care Be Fantastic. This program celebrates males and females coming together as FANS, it’s not a man thing or a woman thing, it’s a FAN thing.

Another new addition to most of our stores is our Baby Club with our newest member “Ellie the Elephant.” We are focusing the diversity of our shoppers by naming this the “baby club” as we know that both mom and dad shop in this aisle. The Baby Club offers a $5.00 savings on any baby product after spending $40 or more which allows dads and moms to have an additional cost savings on top of any manufacturer coupons.

Q:  What would be the one message that Albertsons would like DADS to hear?

A: From coast-to-coast we want to be your first choice when it comes to healthy meal solutions for your family. We also offer our busy customers the option for home delivery in many of our markets. So, if you can’t get out of the house to make it to the store, don’t worry, we have you covered. We also welcome feedback and comments that can help us make the shopping experience more delightful for all our customers.

Q:  Can you share any events that Albertsons has coming up this year that would be of interest to our HomeDadCon network?

A:  Albertsons Companies has fun promotions coming up for the holidays, Super Bowl, New Year, New You and of course our now famous Monopoly® Collect and Win game. In addition, you will find many local promotions from our family of banners so we encourage the HomeDadCon network to download the apps of their local Albertsons Company supermarket and check out what’s happening at a store near you.

A huge thanks to Ellie and to Albertsons for their support for HomeDadCon! There are still tickets left, so be sure to make your plans to attend, September 14th-16th, 2017, in Portland, Oregon! Find out more at http://HomeDadCon.org.

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I know I shouldn’t be telling your this. There are things that every stay at home dad knows and tries to ignore. Simple facts we omit when we tell people about what it is like being a stay at home dad. Like all people we too have some secrets. Cracks in our armor and blemishes in the story of the modern stay at home dad. These are the things we don’t tell. These are our secrets.

6 – We aren’t welcome with moms 

We get ready like any other parent. We have our diaper bag, bottles, diapers, snacks, toys and kids ready to go. Then we get to the play group and it happens. We are shunned. Instead of being welcomed like we had hoped, the mom’s look at us like predators, sure we are there to assault them or their kids. We aren’t welcomed into play groups and many mom’s just keep their distance. Like the new kid at school, we go sit by ourselves and try not to draw attention.

In many cases, this will change. The moms will get used to dads being around. They will stop seeing us as predators and not worry so much that we are there to take their children. We only want what they do. A break from our own children. The idea of adding to the number of kids we are in charge of horrifies us as much as them. Then when we attend a new activity we start over.  We are never just another parent there. We are Dads and often, we are not welcome.

5 – Everyone assumes we need help.

I can not tell you the number of times an older women has offered me advice or to help with my kids. But guess what?  I do this every day and I can handle it. When we are at the store and my daughter is throwing the fit, us dads don’t need your advice or for you to step in.  We have dealt with it many many many times before.

We know these women mean well. They assume us dads are out of our element, overmatched and desperate for anyone to save us. Which may be true depending on how bad the kids are. But they aren’t offering to help us. They are offering to replace us. That is the problem. Why does simply being a guy mean we can’t do it? No one asks the mom an isle over if she is ok. They assume she can handle it. We just want the same respect.

4 – Those cute Facebook memes about incompetent dads? We hate that.

You know all of the funny, my husband is stupid, incompetent, or a child meme’s that women love to share on Facebook? They are offensive. But that isn’t the problem. The problem with this is a lot of people believe they are true. After years of being subjected to the dumb dad stereotype, men do not try to be the partners they should. After being told for years you can’t do something why try.

But it gets worse. Women exposed to this stereotype don’t expect as much from their future husbands either. By perpetuating this stereotype we are creating anchors that drag women down. We release our sons from the responsibility of being a good parent, and heap it on our daughters shoulders. Men absolutely need to support women. Women, you have to stop telling men they can’t handle it if we ever expect our daughters to ever reach their full potential.

[tweetthis]Let me Tell You a Secret[/tweetthis]

3 – We feel a like we have to be perfect. No Mistakes.

After telling you how capable dads are it must seem strange that I am claiming the opposite. But it’s the truth. We are not perfect. We make mistakes, our kids misbehave. The moms already don’t trust us or think we are incompetent. This just confirms that we don’t belong there. When our kid is crying, or we forgot something we aren’t just letting our kid down we are letting all dad kind down.

It puts a lot of pressure on dads to be perfect. If we make a mistake without being a failure to stay at home dads everywhere. We want it know that we are capable of raising our children. When a dad screws up, it doesn’t matter how normal the mistake is. I just proves in the eyes of our detractors that we can’t do it. Trying to be that perfect would put a lot of pressure on any parent. Trust me we feel it.

2 – We secretly miss our careers.

All stay at home parents know how important or job is. Unfortunately other people don’t always see the value of a stay at home parent. Especcially when compared to more traditional careers. According to many people, staying at home somehow makes me less successful than my peers working away in normal jobs. I love being a stay at home dad. Nothing I have done in my life has been as meaningful or as fulfilling. I am willing to bet a lot of you can’t say that about your career.

Sometimes, on my bad days, when the girls are fighting and the house is a mess, I miss my old job. I miss my coworkers and being able to take a lunch. I miss doing something that’s value is recognized. I’m proud to be a dad. But when it comes time to answer the “what do you do?” question. Stay at home dad just isn’t as impressive.

1 – This is a choice and I am not looking to go back

I’ll admit I don’t know if this one is a secret. I, like many stay at home dads, am not looking for a job. We love what we do. Being lucky enough to watch our kids grow up means more than any career. As much as we might miss the interaction with other adults, the extra income, or the status a career our kids mean more.

It is strange how many people assume dads are forced into taking care of our kids. They will want to know how soon we will be going back to work jobs men normally do like running businesses, or fixing cars. It is insulting, to say the least. We are dads not by chance, but by choice. Don’t you forget it.

Post was originally posted on Kzoodad.com

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“I don’t know how you do it! I would be so useless at this baby stuff.” That was probably the number one thing I heard come out of men’s mouths when I told them what I did for a living. Sure, a few guys admitted that they would love a shot at being the parent who stayed home to raise kids, but a majority of dudes just couldn’t wait to brag about their domestic ineptitude.

It’s almost like they were proud of the fact they couldn’t possibly master basic child-rearing skills/homemaking duties. Their chests would puff out just a tad when they set the record straight – it was their wives who take care of that baby and kid stuff. In this day and age, I was a bit surprised by this old-fashioned attitude, but I found that while I was out and about with a baby and a toddler, the heartfelt kudos I would get from other moms showed me they were witnessing something rare… a father taking care of very little kids with no sign of the mother.

These random encounters with strangers convinced me that a vast majority of dads really are that hands-off when it comes to parenting small children. Come on! Who can’t pack a diaper bag, a couple bottles of milk and survive in the real world for a few hours? I’ll admit that if you’ve never done it before, your first time out without any backup may turn out to be a complete disaster. That’s when the typical hands-off dad simply gives up and complains, “You see, honey, I tried to take the kids out without you and it was so hard!” Dude, cry me a river.

Gentlemen, I have the solution, and it’s simple. Try learning from your mistakes, and every time you go out solo with baby in tow it gets exponentially easier. That’s why any man who says he couldn’t do what I do is lying through his teeth. He could handle it in a heartbeat. He just doesn’t want to do it, as perhaps he feels this “women’s work” is beneath him or that he’s immensely overqualified for the job. There’s a huge difference between can’t do it and won’t do it. The truth is, any guy could do what I do. Not knowing how to do something is really no excuse. You simply have to want to do it. As the old saying goes, it ain’t rocket science.

Was I an expert right out of the gate? Absolutely not, but there’s a pretty steep learning curve in this parenting business that forced me to get up to speed pretty damned quick! I immediately adopted the attitude that if my kids made it to the end of each day fed, watered, relatively clean and mostly physically unscathed, I had passed with flying colours.

Now, if I’m going to be perfectly honest with you, the week that I started my new mission at home I jokingly played the clueless dad card. I staged several “funny” photographs of me screwing up my first day on the job and emailed them out to all of my friends and family.

There was the picture of me changing the wrong end of baby, another one featured me not knowing that SlimFast isn’t an appropriate breakfast for baby, and my personal favourite was the shot of me testing the temperature of baby’s formula.

Looking back, it’s hard to believe I actually thought this was how to change a diaper. #CluelessDad

Just follow the instructions… a delicious shake for breakfast, another one for lunch and then another for dinner. Follow that with another full can if baby wakes up in the night.

I would usually burn my arm up to five times a day. Wow… I was so clueless!

I had taken some of Lianne’s lipstick to create the illusion of massive burn marks on my forearm. This was before the age of Facebook, but it was the same idea. I was implying that I didn’t know what I was doing, and I wanted as many people as possible to see it! But in my defense, I only did this particular gag the one time and knew when to give it a rest. I’ve always been a bit of a class clown, and I was simply poking some fun at myself and at the stereotype of the out-of-touch father.

I took those photos over 13 years ago, but the funny thing is, I’m still seeing similar gags from dads on my Facebook news feed. I have one friend in particular who recycles the same, tired joke every time his wife leaves town and he becomes the sole caregiver for his kids. His posts strenuously make the point that taking care of kids just isn’t his bag. What do they eat? What’s the bedtime routine? How old are they? What are their names? Don’t worry, we all get it; you’re a man’s man who couldn’t be bothered to learn basic parenting skills. Yup, we all get it; that stuff is all your wife’s domain and any real husband wouldn’t be caught dead braiding his daughter’s hair. I know that the primary point of his posts were to poke a bit of fun at himself and entertain his audience, but the underlying message of it all is undeniable. It’s better to be seen as a clueless dad with his manhood completely intact than some pansy who is fully capable of taking care of his own offspring in his wife’s absence.

This attitude is not all that surprising, but it doesn’t make it any less disappointing. Years ago, I had a married friend with two young kids, a successful career and a husband with a good job… but one that paid significantly less than hers did. They struggled daily with who could leave work early to pick up the kids from the dayhome at 5:00. It seemed both of them deemed their respective jobs more important than their spouses, and that led to almost daily negotiations at quitting time. I asked her once if her husband ever considered staying at home and letting her bring home all of the bacon. She told me that she had hoped he would consider trying it, but the answer was always an unequivocal no.

He simply felt that he needed to contribute monetarily and just couldn’t see himself as completely reliant on his wife for the family’s financial security. I never thought of him as old-fashioned or slightly chauvinistic in any way. In fact, he seemed very much like a modern man, hip with the changing gender roles in our society. He obviously wasn’t, and I’ve come to learn that the overwhelming need to be a provider is a trait that is still very common in a majority of men I’ve met or interacted with. Another thing I’ve discovered is that it isn’t just the obvious, testosterone-filled, macho man who would scoff at the idea of being a stay-at-home dad. It’s actually the norm, and it’s the reason why you still don’t see that many of us out there.

Anyone who knows me can tell you that I’ve never been some kind of “man’s man” or tough guy, or hyper-masculine … or whatever you call that kind of guy these days. That’s not to say that I didn’t have some reservations about having my yearly income drop to zero dollars and zero cents. My salary never came close to Lianne’s, but in my head I would calculate that my monthly wage still paid the mortgage and some other household bills. It wasn’t that much, but at least it was something. My income actually made a difference, and then it was all gone. I became a “kept man”, as some people liked to joke. Did it bug me? Did I feel like less of a man? Did I experience feelings of inferiority, a loss of self-esteem or self-respect? Fortunately, I did not and I’ll tell you why. I knew in my heart and soul that what I was doing was important … way more important than earning a paycheque or succeeding at any job I’ve ever had or will have. As a stay-at-home dad, that attitude remains a must have if I am going to succeed as a parent, a husband and as a human being.

As a group, we are hardly mainstream, but if there is one stat that is encouraging, it’s this. Thirty years ago, only one in every 100 stay-at-home parents were dads. Today, it’s one in eight. The times, attitudes and gender roles are indeed slowly but surely changing, but I’ve never thought of what I do as a big deal, or me as some type of trailblazer or stay-at-home dad expert.

I don’t really have any concrete or detailed advice for anyone considering taking the plunge into stay-at-home fatherhood, but if I had a mantra, motto or catchphrase that summed up my experience so far, it would be this:

If I can do it, anybody can do it.

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