Celebrate the Weekend Trifecta!
Today we are ZagZigging at the 22nd annual Stay-At-Home Dan Convention, a.k.a. HomeDadCon17 – a first for me and a not-so-first for Mike, who attended the 5th conference when it was in Chicago, and a number of subsequent conferences
MIKE: Consistent with our theme of “paying it forward,” ZagZig Parenting is a proud sponsor of the Trailblazer Panel at the conference that helped give me confidence when I was in the throws of being an at-home dad to three kids under the age of five, and not even aware that Number 4 was soon to be under construction. I had managed three moves for the family at the time, barely able to establish roots in each home before my wife’s career moved us to different states.
After the first conference, I was inspired to start my own local at-home dad network. I made my own business cards, and then, with three kids in tow observed people in public places, searching for other dads who were home during the day. I am not a stalker; and to this day I look back and can’t believe how determined I was to fight the potential isolation of being the “odd-man-out.” I organized playgroups and at-home dad nights out. I built a camaraderie that got me through those days of dwelling in diaper bags, strollers, car seats and bottle warming.
HomeDadCon17 is the main event of the National At-Home Dad Network, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empower fathers and champion a culture that recognizes them as capable and competent parents. In the network, you will see t-shirts with a logo “Dads Don’t Babysit” and hear men say, “We are not Mr. Moms, we are dads!” In a world of job networking, career success and work-life balance, these men have figured it out or at least are figuring it out like most parents do as we navigate the various phases from infant to toddler to teen and beyond.
MIKE: Now that our foursome are teens to young adults, I am looking forward to being present in the conversations this weekend to see how things have changed over time both in terms of the dialog among the group, as well as my own perspective on being the primary caregiver for our children over the years. I have to admit, with age has come a sense of, well, maybe it is calm. At times I panicked over things that, as I look back, came and went like the change of seasons. Now, with years passed, I more easily can brush off comments that seemed to be a criticism of at the time, because I know I did what was right for my family, even when I had to take the road less traveled to do it. (More to come on this next week.)
It is ironic and quite timely that tomorrow, Saturday is National Working Parents Day (). While the day was designed to celebrate the working-outside-the-home parent, I’d argue that all of us work, just in different ways. As I wrote in our book, I gave Mike the title of Family Manager shortly after we first started this ZagZig Parenting arrangement, with me working outside the home and him working in it. There is no doubt managing one human being, let alone the development of four human beings, is a management job – a 24/7 management job.
Sunday, is, of course, Wife Appreciation Day. I don’t know how I have missed this “holiday” all of these years.
MIKE: I tried to convince my wife that she has missed it because every day is wife appreciation day in our house. Somehow, the roll of her eyes told me that she did not believe that one – not even for a second.
I deem it the trifecta weekend that is a positive take on work-life balance, work-life integration, family management and more.
Friday, Sept. 15, at HomeDadCon17, we celebrate dads as capable competent parents. (This also why Mike and I also are proud to be part of the Dad Marketing Advisory Board (https://dadmarketingconsulting.wordpress.com ), so that the image of dad is seen in a positive light.
Saturday, Sept. 16, as Home DadCon17 continues, it is National Working Parents Day. We are 100 percent convinced our children will recognize this day and say, “Wow, you all are so cool to work hard for us.” This is exactly what we did for our parents, right? In reality, somehow I think the kids will say the card is in the mail.
Sunday, Sept. 17 is Wife Appreciation Day! (As a side note, the third Saturday in April is Husband Appreciation Day.)
Let’s put this in perspective a bit -- since 2005, the majority of U.S. households have not been headed by married couples, and non-married households continue to grow. There is no judgment here, just recognizing that this trifecta is in the minority. Also, according to Pew Research, more than half of Americans say that moms do a better job caring for children than fathers. Other recent research shows millennials are favoring more traditional roles in the home for women and men.
It’s really not about us. It is about being here, present, walking along side others, and paying it forward, so that people can ZagZig Parent and do family the way that work for them.