"Let's take a road trip" they say.
"Great!" I said. "Where to?"
"The Stay At Home Dad Convention."
"Will my family be OK without me for a couple of days? I don't know if you've heard, but my daughter has a thing for power tools and destruction. She's one step away from dawning some shoulder pads and doing a re-imagination of the "Road Warrior" in my living room. She would totally kick Mel Gibson's ass."
"How can they complain?" they responded. "You're going to learn how to be a better parent!"
Rock Freaking On.
So 10 SAHDs loaded up and went to Omaha to participate in the annual Stay at Home Dad convention. It was just like college road trips except the 1982 Ford pickup with the rusted through floor has been replaced with a fully loaded mini-van with DVD player and headphones. OK, so we're still dads with multiple kids. BUT we hooked up an Xbox to the DVD player--and there's our mancard back. Little side note: video game playing in the car makes me a little sick. However, giving the controller to the worst gamer ever equals 3 hours of hilarity.
You may think that it is a little weird that SAHDs have their own convention. But why not I ask you? There's actually a convention for Xena the Warrior Princess (yes, that's true) so why shouldn't there be one for SAHDs? Besides, us primary care giving dudes need a place to ask questions where it won't result in a strange look and a possible restraining order.
Ponytails, they scare me. My daughter tried to cut her own hair rather than have me comb it.
Convention's Answer: Hairstyling for Toddlers (that will be a totally different blog, calm down)
My nutrition experience is limited to non-fat cheese on super chili nachos. Can you help?
Convention's Answer: Absolutely--Kids Nutrition, Room 102
What about toddler issues and dudes. Would a mom understand a child who has a obsession for nail guns and the walls that love them?
Convention's Answer: Breakout sessions with guys whose kids like power tools just as much as yours do!
I like to blog, can you offer me any advice and possibly some refreshments?
Convention's Answer: Meet Rebeldad, swoon. Beer and Pizza is served at 5.
Why wouldn't we do this? Throw in a legitimate college professor talking about parenting trends and the author of the Daddy Shift reading excerpts and we've taken it to the next step. Now we have credibility! Look at me weird on the playground now, will you?!
50 dads gathered together to support one another, to learn from each other and to talk to 2 in the morning about our feelings. And by feelings I mean how hard it is to cope with a fantasy team that is in dead last and breaking your heart every time they fumble at the goal line. I'm sorry, I just can't talk about it to much right now, a little to close to the heart.
The classes were great, the speakers were great, the town was great and the hotel didn't seem to get upset at the few that perhaps drank to much. But more than any of that, it was hanging with a lot of the other dads that made this road trip so worth it. From all over the country we came like a flock of geese going south for the winter except no one shot at us but I did hear some bird calls because we look good in tight jeans. Dads from the east coast, from the west coast, from down south and from up north. All together in one space to confirm one thing: we may do this a little different than mom at times but dammit if we aren't going to eat a lot of beer and pizza. We are still men, after all.
But truthfully it was really cool to be around a bunch of guys that was as committed to this as I was. We are already planning our road trip for next year. Maybe this time we can replace the small DVD player with a Plasma. That would be cool.