The 18th Annual At-Home Dads Convention was recently held in Denver, Colorado. I was honored to be their Keynote speaker, but more importantly I was privileged to be witness to the extraordinary commitment these men have made to their families. Typically, my “No Regrets Parenting” Seminars focus on helping busy parents make the most of the time they spend with their kids, and finding more time despite their frenzied lives. But, for the At-Home Dads, there were two added nuances to my presentation. Stay-at-home parents, dads or moms, spend lots of time with their kids as it is. But these parents have additional challenges:
1. Making sure the need for efficiency – getting everyone where they need to be when they need to be there, and getting everything done around the house – doesn’t overwhelm the joyous experience parenting should be; and
2. Helping the working spouse or partner to get more out of his or her parenting experience.
I hope I was able to convey those important ideas to the Dads last week. But whatever I was able to contribute, they contributed more to me in the lengthy and animated question and answer period following my talk. I started the discussion by asking “what works” in your house to make parenting more fun. I wish I had recorded their answers – it would have been my next book! Fabulous ideas ranging from “Talk like a pirate day (on International Talk Like a Pirate Day)” to “May the Force Be With You Day (on May 4, of course!) ” to practical jokes (put a fork in your kids’ breakfast cereal for a hoot) to scavenger hunts and “geocaching” to homemade ice cream and costume parties.
Jane Goodall, the famous primate researcher, childless herself, is quoted as saying: “One thing I had learned from watching chimpanzees with their infants is that having a child should be fun.” Well, one thing I learned (among many) from the At-Home Dads is…They DO know how to have fun with their kids.
Thanks, Dads, for all the good stuff you are doing for your kids. You are role models for “No Regrets Parenting.” More about the At-Home Dads Network at: http://athomedad.org/