Last October 18 and 19, Denver was home to the 18th Annual At-Home Dads Convention and I was lucky enough to be invited to present on behalf of the Denver Public Library's Early Literacy Department. If you are a parent you will find a lot of useful information in this post. Keep on reading papás y mamás!
According to the U.S. Census, in 2012 there were only 189,000 At-Home Dads. However, Beth Latshaw, an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Appalachian State University in her “Is Fatherhood a Full-Time Job? Mixed Methods Insights into Measuring Stay-at-Home Fatherhood" found the true number of at-home dads is at least 1.4 million. This study shows that the U.S. Census significantly under-counts the number of at-home dads by only counting those who are not in the labor force. Latshaw found that most fathers who are, by most societal definitions, “stay-at-home dads,” do in fact work part-time or opposite shifts from their spouses.
The main goals of fathers flying in from all over the U.S. and Canada were connecting with other stay-at-home dads and enhancing their parenting skills. All the sessions were facilitated discussions which provided the at-home dads in attendance the opportunity to ask questions and offer comments to the experts and/or experienced dads.
Two of my favorite sessions were led by Jarrod Hindman on Friday and Harley Rotbart on Saturday. Mr. Hindman presented www.mantherapy.org, an interactive mental health campaign targeting working age men (25-54) that employs humor to cut through stigma and tackle issues like depression, divorce and anxiety. The campaign, which originated in Colorado, features the fictional Dr. Rich Mahogany, a mixture of Dr. Phil, Ron Swanson and Ron Burgundy.
On the other hand, Dr. Rotbart is a nationally-recognized parenting expert and pediatrician. Dr. Rotbart talked about “turning long days and short years into cherished moments with your kids” a motto I am planning to apply to my recent fatherhood. He discussed several tips and strategies to enjoy parenting. All the details can be found in his recent book, No Regrets Parenting.
The second day of the convention offered several breakout sessions. I had a well attended workshop where I provided an overview of five familiar practices Read, Write, Play, Sing and Talk that help develop the foundational skills that children need to succeed at school. To illustrate those practices we enjoyed books like Press Here by Hervé Tullet or Animal Dads by Sneed Collard.
If you are or know a stay home dad, please put them in touch with the National At-Home Network and start thinking about how you can send them next year to this convention (Denver 2014!!). In addition, you can join one of the multiple At-Home Dad groups, create your own or share your thoughts in any of the blogs created by At-Home fathers. You can also stop by your local DPL branch to hang out with parents and caregivers at our storytimes or to check out some resources like my personal favorite The Daddy Guide by Kevin Nelson, anything by Dr. Sears or Daddy Smarts by Bradley Richardson. And talking about resources on parenting... do you have any suggestions or concerns? Any guidance for those new parents out there? A hidden, cool place to visit? Feel free to comment on this post or email me. Let's connect!
Although my husband runs his own very demanding business, he is in every way as much a caregiver to our kids as I am. One minute he's on a client call; the next, he's white-boarding an algebra problem with our middle-schooler. We could not function without his contribution. Dads rock! Thank you, Alberto, for providing these excellent resources. Enjoy your special time with your new baby!