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men who change diapers change the world

Monday, 21 August 2006

Topic: at-home dad convention
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On November 11th, 2006 between 8 am and 5 pm, the At-Home Dad’s Convention will be beginning its second decade in a new home, Kansas City, Missouri. Hosted by the University of Missouri’s Women’s Center, this year’s convention is geared towards helping the at-home dad make his job easier. Some of the breakout sessions that will be offered this year include: Keeping Track Of Your Kids On The Internet,  Growing Your At-Home Dad Group, Informational Resources For At-Home Dads, Home Business Networking, Kids, Nutrition, and Behavior, Investing For The Future , Digital Photography Archiving, Child Safety,  “Is it just my kid?” An Age-Group Based open Forum and how to Create and Publish a Blog.  Big thanks for all those who have taken on this volunteer effort to keep the convention going!

Posted by athomedad at 2:25 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 17 January 2006
The End of the At-Home Dad Convention
Topic: at-home dad convention
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At-Home Dads 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

Posted by athomedad at 1:39 PM EST
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Tuesday, 6 September 2005
The Tenth At-Home Dad Convention Program
Topic: at-home dad convention
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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.

Posted by athomedad at 5:20 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 1 October 2005 1:33 PM EDT
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Monday, 29 November 2004
I'll have some prolactin with lactation on the side please.
Topic: at-home dad convention
New Page 1 Some notes from the convention I promised

Some notes from the convention I promised you - Veteran at-home dad researcher Kyle Pruett of the president-producing Yale U delivered the at-home dad convention keynote speech. Although It was weighed down with research data and words like "prolactin" no one whined or took a nap. It's because he's a pretty funny guy, didn't show any diagrams like the one at right, and he knows his dad stuff. (If the diagram excites you, click on it and you can learn everything there is to know about prolactin.)

Pruett talked about the piles of studies on the hormone level changes in a dad's body before and after he becomes a father.
One hormone, prolactin, (which helps moms produce milk) was up 20 percent in new dads while testosterone levels dropped.. He mentioned one study that was well covered by Psychology Today ??researchers asked couples to hold dolls that had been wrapped in receiving blankets worn by a newborn within the preceding 24 hours. (After their wives gave birth, fathers held their actual baby.) They listened to a six-minute tape of a real newborn crying and then watched a video of a baby struggling to breast-feed. The investigators took blood from the men and women before the test and 30 minutes later. What they found is startling: Men who expressed the greatest desire to comfort the crying baby had the highest prolactin levels and the greatest reduction in testosterone. And testosterone levels plummeted in those men who held the doll for the full half-hour.?

Pruett's 4 main talking points:

"What I found out was what you are doing is all right and that you do not have to have a sex change to do it"

"Babies respond better to higher tones, but once they are upset they respond better to a lower voice, so [the dads] should get up when the baby cries at night"

We are genetically wired to be good fathers just as moms are - In his book The Nurturing Father he writes "We know for certain that men can be competent, capable, creative caretakers of newborns. This is all the more remarkable given that most men are typically raised with an understanding that they are destined through some natural law to be ineffective nurturers. . . . The research on the subject, some of it now decades old, says this assumption is just not so. And it says it over and over again, in data from many different discipliners.

When your wife disagrees with you she is right also - Pruett notes while mom and dad will handle the same situation differently they are ?both right? in their actions. For example he says "Fathers are more likely to encourage their kids to tolerate frustration and master tasks on their own before they offer help," he explains, "whereas mothers tend to assist a fussing child earlier." With this balance the kid understands that he need to take risks but he knows to be careful the next time he wants to steer the sled off your breezeway roof.

I?ll add a few notes about some of the other dads at the convention tomorrow.. - Pete

Posted by athomedad at 3:38 PM EST
Updated: Saturday, 18 December 2004 4:25 PM EST
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Wednesday, 1 September 2004
Keynote Speaker Kyle Pruett - At-Home Dads' Convention
Topic: at-home dad convention
Here is the final program for the ninth At-Home Dads'Convention. Looking forward to seing you all there. It is looking to be a good one with one of the bigger names in fathering research, child psychiatrist Kyle Pruett taking the helm as the keynote this year. Yes thats him in the photo at right as he also sings opera and performs professionally. Maybe if a few of you bring your guitars and we buy him a few drinks... Anyhow read this if you are interested in his musical side (scroll about half way down to read his story).

Rebel Dad plans to shake up the convention a bit with a talk titled "Sex and the At-Home Dad: Triumph, Satisfaction or Oxymoron?"

A little bland statistics news...Andrea Kay of Gannett News Service served up this article about Mothers and More who found that about 71 percent of its stay-at-home mom members plan to return to work. Dr Bob Frank asked the same question on his survey of At-Home Dad Newsletter readers back in 1996. 37.8% Said they were definately going back outside the home, 25.3% said they would work at home and 23.6% were not sure.

Posted by athomedad at 7:33 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 18 December 2004 4:28 PM EST
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Thursday, 15 January 2004
At-Home Dad Convention
Topic: at-home dad convention
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Tenth Annual At-Home Dads' Convention  

At Home Dads Logo


Sponsored by Oakton Community College  


The At-Home Dad Newsletter

Saturday, November 19, 2005

8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

1600 E. Golf Road, Des Plaines, IL 60016   


Updated .pdf version of the convention brochure 





8 a.m. Registration and Continental Breakfast

8 a.m. Welcome and Introductions (Dr. Bob Frank, Peter Baylies, Barry Reszel, Brian Chalmers)

8:45 a.m. Keynote Address: At-Home Dad?So What? HERE?S WHAT!  (Dr. Kyle Pruett, Child Study Center)

10 am Break

10:15 a.m     Small  Group Discussions (Coordinated by Dr. Kyle Pruett, facilitated by       veteran at-home dads)

11:15 a.m.  Review of Small Group  Data  (Dr. Kyle Pruett)

12:15 a.m.  Lunch, Conversation. Book Signings, Therapy Consultations

1:15 a.m.  Let?s Talk About It #1 These are facilitated small group discussions, not lectures. Share your own thoughts and experiences as well as questions and solutions. 

Old Guys Help the New Guys: Veteran At-Home Dads Tackle Any Question

(Bruce Drobeck, Jim LoCascio, Dave Weiss)

2. Let?s Have Some Fun: Injecting Creativity Into Your Parenting

(Marshall Cook)

3. A League of Your Own: Starting and Marketing Your At-Home Dads? Group

(Bill Beagle and Steve Wolcott)

4. The At-Home Dad Lounge: Just Hang Out and Talk Informally

2 p.m. Let?s Talk About It Part II

 Role Reversal in 2005  (Ron Dayney)

Dealing With Sleep Issues (Hans Lonroth)

School's in session: What?s an At-Home Dad to Do?  (Chad Curtis and Chris Coby)

 The At-Home Dad Lounge: Just Hang Out and Talk Informally

2:45 p.m.  Break

3:00 p.m.   Let?s Talk About It Part III  (Choose One)

Ten Years On: Growing the At-Home Dad Community:

(Jay Massey, Barry Reszel, Steve Klem, Marty Josephson, Bob Frank)

 Stretching the Household Budget

(Gary Foshkul)

 Stuff Happens: Parenting in Tough Times

(Richard Axel)

The At-Home Dad Lounge: Just Hang Out and Talk Informally

3:45 p.m.  Large Group Discussion: How Our Wives? Feel About Being Married to At-Home Dads?  (Linda and Bob Frank PhD)

4:15 p.m.  Annual At-Home Dads? Anecdotes  (Bob Noonan)

4:30 p.m.  10-Year Wrap-Up (Bob Frank, Barry Reszel, Brian Chalmers)

4:45 Surveys and Farewell

The Keynoter

Dr. Kyle Dean Pruett, the 2004 At-Home Dads Convention Keynote Speaker, returns by popular demand to lead the morning sessions for the convention?s 10th anniversary this year.

Dr. Pruett is the principal author of more than sixty original scientific articles and books including the award winning The Nurturing Father, Me, Myself and I, and Fatherneed: Why Father Care is as Essential as Mother Care for Your Child. Dr. Pruett has also served as a consultant to ABC, ABC News, CBS Morning News, Sesame Workshop, and served as a co-host of a nationally distributed videotape for new parents with Oprah Winfrey, Begin with Love. He lectures internationally and represented the United States at the UN?s first International Summit on Fathers and Children. He has been a columnist and contributing editor to Goodhousekeeping, Parents, and Child magazines. Dr. Pruett hosted his own Lifetime Cable series ?Your Child Six to Twelve with Dr. Kyle Pruett?, and has appeared frequently on CNN, Oprah, ABC News, NPR and Good Morning America. He and his wife Marsha Kline Pruett, Ph.D., M.S.L., are parents to three daughters and one son.

Dr. Pruett was educated at Yale University and Tufts University School of Medicine. He is a clinical professor of psychiatry, coordinator of education at the Yale Child Study Center (DMS); Yale University School of Medicine and School of Nursing. He served as principal investigator for the longitudinal study of children of primary paternal care; co-principal investigator for the collaborative divorce project (Richardson Foundation); and co-principal investigator of leadership development initiative (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation). Dr. Pruett has also maintained a private practice in infant, child adolescent and family psychiatry since 1974. His areas of interest and expertise include the developmental vulnerabilities and mental health in infants, toddlers and young children, school and day care consultation (public and private), clinical and legal dimensions of fatherhood (biological and non-biological), and role of the media in children?s lives. He served as consultant to Vice President Al Gore, Jr., for White House Conferences Men in Children's Lives. Dr. Pruett was also the founder of Yale Conference on Medicine and Performing Arts and a founding member of Father to Father.


Cast of Characters 

Click above to see the list and descriptions of speakers


Registration Form  

Register now via credit card by calling (847) 635-1812

or link to and print the registration form here

or fill out the form below and mail it to Oakton at the address below

Bea Cornelissen, College Relations

Oakton Community College

1600 E. Golf Rd. Des Plains, IL 60016



If registering by mail, fill out the form here and send it, along with a check payable to Oakton Community College, to:

Bea Cornelissen, College Relations, 1600 E. Golf Rd., Des Plaines, IL 60016. Attention: At-Home Dads convention.

Name ________________________________________________________________________

Address _______________________________________________________________________

City/State/Zip __________________________________________________________________

Phone _____________________________ E-mail ____________________________________


___$65 Individual Registration for At-Home Dads? convention (before October 20)

___$75 Individual Registration for At-Home Dads? convention (after October 20)

___$85 Individual Registration for At-Home Dads? convention and Men?s Day (following day)

___ I am unable to attend, but please accept my donation to the Oakton Community

College Educational Foundation.

___ Yes, I will attend the Friday night gathering party at the Best Western Hotel (6:30 - 10 p.m.).

Advisory survey for planning purposes only?costs will be shared among those attending.

___ Yes, I will attend the Saturday post-convention dinner/party at a Chicago restaurant (5:00 - 8:30 p.m.)

Advisory survey for planning purposes only?costs will be shared among those attending.

Hotel Information

Best Western River North Hotel

125 W. Ohio, Chicago, IL 60610

Reservations: 800-727-0800 ext. 123.

Due to the popular demand of at-home dad conventioneers of years past, our convention hotel is located in downtown Chicago. The Best Western River North Hotel is the official hotel of the 2003 At-Home Dads? convention. For reservations, call the number above, mention the At-Home Dads? convention, and receive the special convention rate if booked by October 21 (room availability peding). Parking at the hotel is free. If the hotel becomes booked but you are still looking to stay in the vicinity, search for additional hotel options in the Chicago River North area.

____ Free transportation between the Best Western River North Hotel and the convention (approximately 20 miles each way) will be available. Please check here if you will use this transportation between the hotel and the convention.

For more information, log on to or call 847.635.1812.

For information on Oakton Community College?s Annual Men?s Day, Sunday, November 20, 2004, call Paul Johnson at 847.376.7088


(Below is a past article from a past convention.. )


Fourth At-Home Dad Convention..."Yes!" 

  By Peter Baylies - Director At-Home Dad Network

Reprinted from At-Home Dad, Summer 2000, Issue 24


       I first meet Hogan Hilling at the At-Home Dad Convention, in 1997. I had written an article about his life journey with his son Wesley, a disabled child, earlier that year (Spring 97 issue). Hogan required the patience of a saint to I first met Hogan Hilling at the Chicago O'Hare airport before the

care for his son. So when this normally soft spoken dad of 3 kids stepped up to the mike to start a session titled, At-Home Daddying: What Are Our Issues?, no one expected his verbal onslaught: a boot camp style pep talk that would put any drill sergeant to shame. First, he told the nearly 100 at-home dads to put their total trust in him. Then, he instructed all the dads to make a fist, raise it

high, and at his command, pump down (like pulling a truck horn), and yell, "Who are we? Proud Dads!...YES!"

      The crowd responded weakly at first, Hogan persisted, "That's not good enough, I didn't hear you!" As he looked around the room, I'm sure he could hear them thinking, "Well, this is OK, I guess I can do this" After a few more tries he had the crowd in the palm of his hand. He then

introduced 3 discussion groups to be hosted by Barry Retzel, editor of the At-Home Dad Handbook, Marty Josephson, moderator of the eGroups dads-at-home listserv, and Jim Dicenzo, the leader of the San Diego DAD-to-DAD playgroup. I decided to join Barry's discussion group where the topic was "Being on the same page with your wife". During the session, Jay Massey, the webmaster of, advised that you keep the rules of the house constant. He felt his wife, Joan "was a little softer on the kids and I would find myself reprimanding her under my breath". At the same time, he stressed that it's important to "admit to your wife when you are wrong." (Send an e-mail to me at if you have ever admitted you were wrong. I will let you know how many I get.)

        Richard Axel, author of The Father Daughter Bond, reported about spouse's work habits spilling over to the home life. He found that after a spouse has delegated projects all day at her work place, might come home and stay in that "work-mode" and continue to delegate ssignments once she walks in the door. arry argeed that his wife would delegate "family time," which can be trying to a dad who has just spent an entire day with the kids. The solution brought by others was to divide time you spend with your wife and the kids. After the session was over several rules to live by were announced to the rest of the dads. Jubal Prevette, of Sunnyvale, CA, noted that although some dads like the break your wife can give you when she comes home from work, he has trouble letting go. He finds that he wants to continue to stay with his son and he finds that he has to "let go" and let her have time with him.


     Mark Abraham, of Minnesota Dads at Home, reminded the dads that the kids are listening if you argue. He instructed to his 4 1/2 year old son, if "mommy or daddy start using a mean voice to let us know." He shared one time when they were arguing at the supper table that his son suddenly said, "Mommy! Daddy! ...remember, friendly voice!" Thus the major ground rules are:


1. Your kids hear you argue, keep your disagreement private. Don't intervene if

you think your wife is "solving a kid problem incorrectly." Talk about it later

to set up new ground rules.


2. Keep your communication open, honest and consistent as your expectations

will constantly change over time.


3. And again, the hardest thing is to admit to your wife when you are wrong.


      Another major highlight of the day was viewing of the suburb documentary, Homedaddy, produced by filmmaker Kent Ayyildiz. Kent has used up many rolls of film shooting all 4 conventions and compiling a bio of his own search for a new definition of fatherhood. In the 28 minute film he shows the isolation that built up while at home with his 5 year old Quinn. A classic scene is when convention organizer, Dr Robert Frank talks about the mother assuming her role as a housekeeper when she comes home. Using Dr. Frank's narration Kent shows his wife vacuuming the living room in her pajamas. Zooming in on her, he catches a glaring stare or what you guys might be called "the look" as if to say maybe you should be doing this... The scene had a lot of dads nodding their heads in agreement. In the film he shows how the At- Home Dad convention helped break him of the isolation he felt. Featured in the film was Dr Robert Frank, David Boylan (ex-AOL dad chat moderator), Mark Abraham, Peter Hoh, (editor of the Minnesota Dads at Home Newsletter), and at-home dad Larry Mains of Chicago.


     At the beginning of the film he describes his dad as one who "would work insane hours, have a family and never see them". At the end of the picture Kent's dad makes a startling revelation while visiting his grandfather's grave site. His dad explained that he left his native country without saying farewell to his abusive and newly married father who died shortly after. The sorrow of his dad's absence filled his heart and helped him better understand his own dad's absence in his life. He understood, and could now go home and break that cycle with his own son as an at-home dad. Following the film, Kent got a well deserved 5 minute standing ovation, (the first one at a convention).

     Laura Cobb who is researching at- home dads noted how the themes have changed in the last three years. Although she was not there in 1996, I can say that we were all just glad to see each other, to see the faces that matched the names of those who communicated online and read about in the At-Home Dad Network. Laura identified the themes of the following 3 years: 1997: Getting the word out to the media and having at-home dads be covered more in the press. 1998: In praise of the wives; thanking them for allowing the dads to have the opportunity to stay home with their children. 1999: The men talked about how their role was a "blessing" to them. The last session, titled "The Anatomy of a Working Mom's Brain", was lead by Joan Massey. She spoke of her feelings as she went back to work, saying to he dads, "I hated going back to work. I was absolutely miserable, the only thing that got me through it was [my husband] Jay." During her speech you could tell she had picked up the office-speak as she described cooking and taking care of her child as "multi-tasking". Jay cringed when she noted that he didn't do laundry. But she also remarked that Jay works at home and is willing to pick up the extra "slack".

       Cory McPerrin, a Chicago sportscaster for the FOX network was the keynote speaker for the day. He showed various stories he has covered of local sports figures and their families, such as Michael Jordan and his father Gus and the late Walter Payton and his son. Speaking of his own childhood, he spoke fondly of his dad who served on the school board and was "always there for him". McPerrin got emotional when he noted that his father was a "great dad and that being a great dad is not about winning an emmy award, but winning the "best dad award". The convention ended on a humorous note as Chris Coby came up on stage with a brown paper bag and did a reenactment of funny moments his kids pulled off. While a few women reporters squirmed, Jim pulled out a few tampons and proceeded to show how his kid used them as props. He held up 2 of them wrapped the strings around his ears and with them both dangling, he shouted,"Look, daddy, earrings!" The crowd roared in approval. He then pulled out a few of those thin sanitary pads and held it to his ear and said mimicking his kids again. 'Look, mommy, it's a cellphone." He then ripped off a layer that makes it sticky, stuck it on the side of his head and stuck it on his ear and yelled out, "look a cellphone with no hands!" Hogan Hilling stood up and on cue, every one pumped their fists and shouted, "YES!"

      After the convention DiCenzo wrote in Marty Josephson's e-groups list, "I don't want to go overboard for the guys that weren't there, but I'm very energized today due to the wonderful experience from the convention weekend. I enjoyed meeting all the guys from the dsd listservs as well as the format this year. I was taking [my daughter] Lauren to school this morning almost walking on air and one of the mom's gave me the greatest complement as I was gloating over the weekend. She smiled and said "your kids are so lucky." I thanked her, agreed, and added, "I'm pretty lucky too.

    The 6th Annual At-Home Dads Convention, will be held in Chicago, Saturday November 17, 2001
For more info contact  We will provide more info here as we plan the speakers for 2001


Return to the At-Home Dad Network

Posted by athomedad at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 1 October 2005 1:25 PM EDT
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