I am sitting at the airport waiting to board my flight home from an amazing experience at the HomeDadCon 2023 in Milwaukee, WI. I am exhausted in the best way possible. I had an incredible opportunity to meet and work together with 100 At-Home Dads from all over the United States. This group welcomed me into their community and gave me a deeper view into their lives as At-Home Dads. I called it “sacred space” and was truly honored and humbled to be so warmly embraced and included.
I went to HomeDadCon to share about how at-home parents have a particular need for connection with the people they care for because it makes the at-home-parent job feel worthwhile. No matter what job we have, we all deserve job satisfaction! At-home parents tend to take on lots of the behind-the-scenes logistics of managing a household and the job gets tiresome when you are missing the reward of connection. Connection is the at-home parent’s compensation!
Every family has both universal and unique goals in how they hope their children will turn out as adults. These goals inform our roadmap on the parenting journey. When we can be strategic and intentional about our road-map for parenting, we can show up in a more soul-satisfying way with our families. This comes into play particularly as it relates to how we set expectations and manage difficult behavior with our kids. We are trying to raise good humans and it takes effort and patience to figure out how to encourage good choices and manage poor choices.
We spent our workshop time together focusing on what pushes our buttons in our interactions at home, and how button-pushing causes obvious alienation and disconnect. We worked through some values exercises using my Choose Your Boundaries™ system, where these dads were able to drill down to learn why they show up the way they do to certain situations. And we spent some time using the 4 C’s for Connection© to figure out how to be intentional in showing up differently when buttons are pushed. Because, as these dads and my other coaching clients know, you can only control yourself and you can choose how to act and react in any sticky parenting situation.
From my time with these incredible people, I learned how isolating it can be as an At-Home Dad. Gender stereotypes keep these parents feeling like they have a Unicorn job, and not in a good way. I witnessed the power of comradery and the importance of traditions. The shared job description might have brought them together, but the bonds of friendship and love keep these Dads coming back.
I will be forever grateful for the new friends I made at HomeDadCon. These individuals are inspiring and amazing and I am honored that they let me be a part of their dynamic community for 2 incredible days. Thank you for being my teachers and my students on our journey together. If you are an At-Home Dad who is feeling isolated, there are great resources out there for you. Check out the National At-Home Dad Network.