In a few weeks, at-home dads from across the country will converge on downtown Portland, Ore., for a weekend of enlightenment. The 22nd Annual At-Home Dads Convention, aka HomeDadCon 2017, will take place on Sept. 14 to 16. Men who take on the lion’s share of care for their children will meet to learn, share and grow by day, and eat, drink and be merry by night.
If you’re just finding out about it now, or have been on the fence about attending, here are a 10 reasons why I think you should sign up.
1. HomeDadCon is not just for stay-at-home dads.
While you’re bound to meet a lot of guys like me, who left the workforce to raise their kids, you’re bound to bump into a lot of dads who juggle work and fatherhood in a variety of ways. Many of our veteran members have returned full-time to the workforce while their kids are in school and have a wealth of knowledge to share.
2. HomeDadCon can help you grow professionally.
Almost every industry has a convention for professional development, from bartenders to accountants. Dads are no different and once a year we offer a chance to develop your parenting skills and creativity as a full-time dad.
3. Enjoy a weekend away.
Everyone needs a vacation from their job, and dads are no different. Leave the kids with someone else for the weekend and enjoy some time where you can blow off steam, unfiltered. There will be no shortage of attendees looking to cut loose after a day spent in sessions, so bring your party hat.
4. Support network growth.
For at-home dads, building a strong support network is crucial when you spend your days in the parks, libraries and grocery stores surrounded by moms. Two days a year we meet for the HomeDadCon, but the other 363 days we exist in a myriad of social networks, sharing stories, asking questions, and providing a safe space for dads to vent.
5. Find an ear or a shoulder.
Many of our attendees have been coming to our conventions for years, building relationships with everyone to the point where they look to each other as brothers. Many of our breakout sessions are open forums where guys can talk about problems in a safe and trusting space.
6. Experience the Portland behind ‘Portlandia.’
HomeDadCon will be held in Portland for the first-time ever. Whether you’re local to the PDX or visiting from other states, this is a great time to get out and experience Portland: beards, weirds and all! Arrive early and enjoy various tours guided by some of our local dads.
7. You may go home with some helpful gear.
Our generous sponsors are just as committed to making sure you get the most out of this convention as ever. HomeDadCon attendees always go home with some great swag to help make their life as a dad easier. Leave some extra room in the luggage for the return home, and rest assured we’ve got you covered for souvenirs.
8. Learn how to grow a group.
If you’re finding it difficult to meet and get together with other at-home dads in your area, you won’t be alone. Group leaders from cities, big and small, attend the convention with the intention of bringing as much information back to the dads in their hometown as possible. These leaders includes local co-host, PDX Dads Group, a chapter of the national support and social network City Dads Group — a co-sponsor of a special pre-convention “Dad’s Night Out” for early arrivals. It’s a great chance to talk with guys about obstacles they faced in getting a playgroup together.
9. Hear from the other side.
We will be hosting a panel of executive women whose husbands are at-home dads. You’ll have the unique opportunity to talk to the other side, and gain some perspective on what your own partner might be facing.
10. Teach others and share expertise.
If you have a special skill or expertise, whether it’s in dealing with developmental delays or home-brewing beer, someone will want to learn from you. Come to Portland to learn and be ready to teach, as some of your peers will be looking for guidance on issues you most likely have already faced.
About the author
Austin Dowd is the secretary for the the National At-Home Dads Network. The father of two boys, is also the founder of Triangle Stay At Home Dads in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., and a freelance photographer.