Stereotypes will do that to you.
The 18th annual At-Home Dads Convention touched down in the Mile High City Oct. 18-19, and while I’m not “officially” a stay at home Dad I joined them all the same. The attendees sat through seminars on cooking, blogging and financial advice. They also offered each other support for living a life our culture considers suspect.
What, you can’t find a job? Shouldn’t your wife be the one taking care of the kids? Just how good are you at changing a diaper on the fly?
Those questions aren’t spoken aloud, but they’re asked all the same.
That’s where this organization comes in, but it’s not a chance to wallow in “woe is me” stories. These men are passionate parents, something I saw during a keynote address by Dr. Harley Rotbart. The speaker gave a terrific presentation rich with actionable parenting tips. Then, he opened the session up to let his audience do the same.
The room came alive. Dad after dad beamed at how their creative solutions work like magic with their kids.
Right then I realized how much the At Home Dads organization mattered, and why the cultural stereotypes about these fathers must stop.
I watch my children for the first part of the day until my work shift starts, so my mornings approximate what it means to be an at-home dad. A recent incident gave me a window into their daily routine.
A woman approached me and my two year old son while we were shopping in Target. Turns out her son goes to the same school as my four-year old, and she often sees me toting him back and forth to class.
“You know, you’re a really good Dad,” the woman told me, and I instantly beamed at the compliment. What dad wouldn’t? Later, a less flattering thought crept into my mind. Would she have said the same about my wife, who is certainly no less gifted in shuttling our sons to and from school grounds?
The at-home fathers I met over the weekend aren’t looking for compliments, just the magical smiles of their children. It’s a message our culture needs to hear.