men who change diapers change the world
Convention Comes to an End -
After a ten year reign, Bob Frank's At-Home Dad Convention has come to an
end. It all started 11 years ago with a phone call from Bob pitching the idea
and offering Oakton College as a venue.. Using the mailing list of the
(hardcopy) At-Home Dad Newsletter we sent out a mailing and got over 80 dads
plus to attend the first convention. It was exciting for Bob to pull off
such a stunt. And even though it lost money for the College, the event caught
the attention of the national press and gave hope to the at-home dads across the
country. Bob, Bruce Drobeck, and I had talked of ending it last year at
the ninth convention and we came close to announcing it. We hadn't changed
a diaper in years, and although we still felt we were doing our daddy duties
when the kids come home we were going though very different experiences then
the rookie dads we saw at the conventions. We knew it was time to move
on, but simply it was hard to let go... so we went on another year.. When
Barry Reszel who had done a fabulous job as the program coordinator made his
announcement to step down, it was an easy decision for Bob to make.
I'd like to share the following comments Barry sent out in a e-mail sent out today.
With sadness I write to tell you the 10th Annual At-Home Dads' Convention this past November was the last-at least in the format and at the location we have come to associate with this event.
Though Brian Chalmers stepped forward to volunteer as lead convention coordinator (and for that, I express sincere gratitude), Dr. Bob Frank and Oakton Community College have decided not to host the event going forward. The summary reason is that it's been a great 10-year run, but Bob is looking to do other things and the college is pursuing new programming strategies. We as a community would be remiss if we didn't thank Bob for his time and dedication and Oakton for its facilities, staff, and financial support. I am a richer man and better at-home dad because of my affiliation with the convention; I'm proud to say I have been to all 10.
Over the years, the convention coordinators have adapted formats, changed styles, and worked to, first, forge and nurture the at-home-dads' community and, second, to enlighten those in attendance with information, exercises, discussions, and stories. Sometimes the sessions/presentations were great; sometimes they weren't, but all-in-all, I'd have to say the gatherings achieved their aims.
To those who have called for the convention to be held at alternative places and times or with a different format, perhaps this is the impetus you need to step to this community's forefront and achieve your vision.
In closing, I simply want to reiterate a thought I shared at this year's convention. I believe the legacies we leave will determine how well we have lived. When I gather with a group of at-home dads, I somehow know I am in the midst of men who believe that, too, and live that belief by dedicating themselves to their greatest legacy-their children. For that, we are all heroes in my book.
Best, Barry Reszel
Tenth At-Home Dads Convention - Here's the program and registration for the Tenth At-Home Dad reunion (or as we like to officially call it, the At-Home Dads' Convention). The Keynote will be Kyle Pruett who got a high approval rating from the dads who saw him last year. We held off on announcing him as he almost couldn't make it. For those who have already gone you will be sent a postcard soon as a reminder. You may want to show up to this one as there's other possible big news on the convention.
Meet Mister Mom NBC Aug. 2 at - Watched the advance screening a few weeks ago but wanted to stick my 2 cents in before I go off on vacation again. It's basically set on the formula where 2 moms go on vacation while the dads are left to manage their chaotic households. Since the dads only watch their kids for 7 days it won't win much sympathy from full time dads. Checking in with Rebel Dad he even called for a boycott of the sponsors, but not to worry, you can keep using your Clorox and Glad this thing will be off the air after the first 6 week run. This things is pure mainstream eye candy as the dads get projects like assembling a go-kart for a soap box derby (the kids don't even help) or caring for a farm "pet" dropped off to the 2 dads houses (a llama and a pig) just to get a reaction.
Sharon Jayson of USA Today tapped several blogs, at-home dad playgoups members, myself. and the National Center for Fathering several weeks ago looking for the perfect dad in the Maryland area. The search was tough as she was looking for one of the 98,000 dads who fit the definition of an at-home dad. Her frantic week-long search came up with Michael Paranzino of Bethesda who writes his Full Time Father Blog. He got the full USA Today treatment in today's issue with a full day interview profile, a photographer who tagged along for the day resulting in a nice audio gallery show complete with Mike's narration. A sidebar was also added repeating the 98K number and comparing it to a staggering 5.4 million stay-at-home moms stat. She threw in a quote from Yale researcher Kyle Pruett who agreed that kids of at-home dads, feel loved, adored and treasured but says at-home dads will always be a small segment.... .I don't see us having mass societal shifts in that direction.... our society wants men working hard and making lots of money. I agree to a point with Pruett as dads who don't make a penny will probably remain scarce.. However you can't ignore the increasing number dads who make a few bucks on ebay to pay for the diapers.
At the At-Home Dad message board there's been talk on house cleaning. During the discussion "Cliff" dug up this 2-year-old old research out of UCAL which I couldn't help but to share with all: Dad's that clean house likely to have better behaved children and wives who find them more sexually attractive
2 movies, 2 dads 2 bad - First off this weekend, we got a stay-at-home dad (laid off cartoonist) in Son of the Mask (it's basically Mr Mom meets the Dancin Baby). Then next weekend we got Hollywood's Mr. Macho himself, Vin Diesel taking care of the kids in The Pacifier: Prepare for Bottle. As you click on the official movie link, you see Vin Diesel with his hands full and the Diesel in the background muttering "you gotta be kidding me" Not a good start here. The film is billed as the story of an undercover agent who, after failing to protect an important government scientist, learns the man's family is in danger. In an effort to redeem himself, he agrees to take care of the man's children only to discover that child care is his toughest mission yet. What is fascinating to me, is both movie posters are nearly identical in theme. Both have dad in dead center with a baby (or two) in hand and mom standing on the side. The message is clear, involved dads (or dads trying to be involved) are in high gear and selling in Hollywood. It is encouraging to see the image of dad with their kids featured, but I'll wait for the full reviews to see if we have any improvement over Mr Mom or Daddy Daycare.
Chip off the old blog - I'd like to welcome daddychip
to the daddy blog block. He's a former stay-at-home dad who wishes he could
have stayed at home longer. It's refreshing to see a dad still sharing his
thoughts after his kids are in grade school. From reading his first posts
he's a good dad in my book. Check out his neat post
about the demise of his car. and his son's reaction to Mr Tow truck hauling it
away. These at-home-dad-car-posts have gotten my attention as I was busy
wrecking my Buick Lesabre last week in a harrowing accident with a semi.
The guy just pulled into
my lane (blind spot?) sending me spinning into an Escort which then hit a limo. (No
injuries). Funny though, I remember countless movies of people watching
the world go round when their car spins, but when I was whirling around, I can
just remember one moment in time looking directly into the oncoming cars headed
toward before a second back-side SMASH into the truck. The Buick probably saved
my life, If I had a SUV I would
have rolled over, If I had an escort I wouldn't be here. In any case my car was totaled
so I am in the hunt for a new car.. Sorry, I don't think I will be buying
as I will
continue with a new Buick. (The Escort post should probably be posted in
We all know at-home dad penguins can treat their wives like this on a bad day, but would you believe they stand outside in sub-zero temps with no food for 65 days for their kids? The National Geographic reports that the penguin egg?s father balances it on his feet and covers it with his brood pouch, a very warm layer of feathered skin designed to keep the egg cozy. There the males stand, for about 65 days, through icy temperatures, cruel winds, and blinding storms. And they eat nothing that whole time. Due to this evidence, the Northeast Wisconsin At Home Dads features their new hero on their site.
Reporter Anna Krejci, of the Green Bay News Chronicle interviewed the Northeast Wisconsin group leader Bruce Cantrall and 2 other dads about the penguin while they were corralling 6 kids at their local library. Bruce reports, We were asked by the reporter if we do a "background check" on our members. (We have an application process on our web page before joining the email list or having anyone look at photos). I do not expect a reporter would ask anyone from a Mom's group that question. I asked the reporter if she had children or was married, she said she was single with no kids . I suggested that she could always become a work-at-home or away mom as a reporter with a stay-at-home dad taking care of her children. Did she ever think of that when looking at possible mates? No was her answer. All in all, the story bought in one more dad and Bruce notes that The group feels it was a very positive article on the importance of dads in their children's lives. They included 3 nice photos with the kids and the dads doing things together
I have been admiring Ben MacNeill's stunning graphics at the Trixie Update over the past year. It should follow some of the "early" computer art circa 1984. He ought to submit this one or my favorite, the daily feeding cycle (agitated) into the Museum of Modern Art. It should be labeled informational minimalist art so we can get the next art movement started. Ben's latest work of art at left breaks down the famous "two naps to one" event. For those not in the know Ben hits a certain keyboard key every time his daughter does nearly anything. (He has smacked the F9 key three thousand five hundred and thirteen times due to diaper changes). It was fun to check these stats, but the graphs didn't seem to show the trends in the short term. Over the long haul however, you can actually see the agonizingly slow and uneven process of naptimes on his graphs. By taking the emotional element out of the process, it's reassuring to any new dad to step back and see Ben's visual proof that those diaper leaks, naps and bottle routines that seem like they will never end always do.
Playgroup update: I've added 2 new playgroups and a new website to the Network.Tom Henry of Stockton, CA.(firstname.lastname@example.org), Matthew Feinberg of Missouri City, TX (email@example.com) and Seattledads new site at www.seattledads.org.