Al Watts, the president of National At-Home Dad Network, explains what dads can expect (and not expect) to find at the year’s Annual At-Home Dads Convention.
On September 19-20 this year, over 100 stay-at-home dads from throughout North America will converge on Denver, CO for the 19th Annual At-Home Dads Convention Delivered by Huggies®.
It is one of the longest-running fatherhood events in the country and possibly the most unique since it is organized by volunteer dads for dads and attracts some of the top parenting experts in the U.S.
Every year is a unique experience, but I can assure you these 29 things WILL happen to you when you attend:
1. Your number of Facebook friends will double.
2. You will see mountains. And we’re not talking about the Rocky Mountains. (Hint: At the airport).
3. You will meet a new stay-at-home dad for the first time who you will hug the last time you see him on Saturday night.
4. You will watch the Colorado Rockies lose at the Dad’s Night Out hosted by the Denver Dads Group at the Rooftop Terrace of Coors Field on Thursday night, September 18 (The Rockies are terrible this year, but the food and atmosphere will be outstanding!).
5. You will learn something that you will start implementing right away when you get home.
6. You will laugh until it hurts.
7. You will eat too many Slim Jims.
8. Lunch on Saturday will be wild courtesy of the online virtual playground for kids, Animal Jam.
9. Your wife will send you a gift pack of micro brews (it did happen for one dad last year and we are hoping this gift, or any gift, catches on with all our wives).
10. You will need to tell your son or daughter good night by phone at least once or else he or she will refuse to go to bed.
11. Learn how to be prepared for any disaster, except for the in-laws calling to say they are dropping by in an hour.
12. John Elway will try to sell you a car (he owns several car dealerships in the area).
13. It will rain at 3pm for about 10 minutes at least one day.
14. Lots of dads will sign one book at the Friday night Meet & Greet Social presented by Dads Behaving DADLY: 67 Truths, Tears and Triumphs of Modern Fatherhood (Motivational Press, 2014).
15. You will meet a dad who has an Orange Bowl ring.
16. Some guest at the SpringHill Suites Hotel (location of this year’s convention) will ask you why you are in Denver and, when you tell him or her that it is for a convention for stay-at-home dads, the response will be “There’s a convention for that?”
17. You will become re-energized to be a better dad because the Convention’s keynote speaker, Barbara Coloroso, an internationally-recognized expert on child education, will explain why Kids Are Worth It.
18. You will meet someone who is nothing like you but with whom you will become good friends.
19. Someone will give a memorable speech as a candidate for the Board of Directors for the National At-Home Dad Network.
20. You will learn what your wife is going through as the breadwinner and what she really thinks of you in one of the panel discussions.
21. You will discover masculinity is exactly as you think it is, not what others have been telling you it is.
22. When you get home, you will re-install your car seat, correctly this time, after watching the demonstrations by Sarah Tilton, Child Passenger Safety Advocacy Manager, presented by BRITAX Child Safety, Inc.
23. Poop will be discussed. Often.
24. You will learn from the Denver Library’s Alberto Pellicer that playing with your kids is even more important than you thought.
25. You will be even more proud of your role as a stay-at-home dad.
26. As you watch the final video presentation, which includes pictures of kids of the dads at the Convention, you will wonder why the dad next to you is tearing up until you see your kids on the screen.
27. You will find many dads to look up to, literally (several dads who attend are 6’6” or taller).
28. The conversation at the dinner on Saturday night at the Denver ChopHouse & Brewery (included in registration fee) will be so loud that many guys will have lost their voice by Sunday morning.
29. You will call your wife and tell her to block out the calendar for October 2-3, 2015 because you are going to the 20th Annual At-Home Dads Convention in Raleigh, North Carolina.
And these 13 things will NOT happen:
1. Go hungry—Included in your registration fee is lunch on Friday, heavy appetizers on Friday night at the Meet & Greet, lunch on Saturday provided by Animal Jam, and dinner Saturday night at the world-famous Denver ChopHouse & Brewery.
2. Catch a home run by a Rockies player (like I said, the Rockies are terrible this year).
3. Peyton Manning shows up and asks you to be a wide receiver on the Broncos.
4. Feel awkward and out of place.
5. Take more than 10 minutes to make a friend, even if you refuse to talk to anyone.
6. Your wife or partner regret spending the money to send you to Denver.
7. Have to explain to someone you are not from Dallas (that cannot happen twice!)
8. Feel like less of a man because you don’t earn a significant income for your family.
9. Frown. Even once.
10. Find a way to clean the house faster (sorry, we’re not miracle workers here).
11. Learn why Elich Gardens is not a garden.
12. Discover your challenges are dramatically different from other stay-at-home dads.
13. Get woken up before your alarm goes off.
Register today at www.athomedadconvention.com for an experience that will truly change your life.
Images courtesy of the author