On Friday afternoon, this city boy found himself standing in the middle of America in Omaha of all places. A drastic change from the bustle of NYC. I travelled to Omaha to attend the 14th Annual At-Home-Dads Convention. It was hard to imagine what was in store for the weekend, but I was optimistic I would meet many caring dads from around the country and inhale a tasty steak. The weekend delivered on both accounts. Arriving alone and not flanked by a wingman from our NYC Dads Group, I was immediately thrust into meeting some new friends.
On a snowy Saturday morning, over fifty dads from thirteen different states (and Canada) arrived at The Durham Museum, an architectural and historical masterpiece at the top of a hill overlooking Omaha’s Old Market. Photo above courtesy of Bill Ekhardt! Initially, we congregated in an oversized auditorium where the dads were so spaced out that no guy was sitting directly to anyone; Typical machismo style, with most guys sitting towards the back like the “cool” dads on the back of the school bus. Like myself, about half of the attendees were “newbies”, attending their first conference. It didn’t matter if this was your first or tenth conference, there was something there for everyone!
One of the many highlights of my weekend was meeting the dads who were members of active dads groups from across the country. We swapped success stories about our weekly gatherings, shared best practices, described challenges, discussed group differences, dads night out, and mapped out plans for the future. All of this was taking place while rubbing elbows with some of the legends in the field of at-home-dads. Legends like research guru, Dr. Aaron Rochlen…Jeremy Smith for his cutting edge book The Daddy Shift…Brian Reid for pioneering the internet charge with Rebeldad, a dads internet mecca…Hogan Hilling of Oprah fame and founder of Proud dads, Inc.
As I reflect on my overall weekend, the only thing I don’t understand is why only 50 dads came to this convention when it had been meticulously planned out at a top-notch venue, with cutting edge guest speakers, and relevant small-group discussion topics….add in some awesome steaks, a few dirt-cheap beers, great college sports on TV, the camaraderie of a brotherhood of dads…and leaving recharged to race home to your family so you can be a better father and husband! A special thanks to the Lincoln/Omaha Dads Group & the entire convention planning committee for playing such great hosts to this solo dad from NYC. I am hopeful to return to Omaha next year for the 15th Annual At-Home-Dads Convention…with maybe a few guys from our group.