Road to Raleigh

It’s been 20 years since the formation of the National At Home Dad Network’s annual convention. To celebrate this milestone we will be counting down to our convention in Raleigh by featuring past and present attendees, who will share why this gathering of modern fathers is so important.

It’s not every year that we turn twenty. As the 20th Annual National At-Home Dad Network’s Convention rolls around we want to celebrate our special event.

Many dads have transitioned through their role as the primary caregiver for their children and many of them have found and attended our convention to find support and meaning to help them in their journey. For the next twenty weeks we will be highlighting 20 dads who have attended the convention. Join us as they share exactly why this gathering is so beneficial to them, their kids, and their family.

Week 16 – Richard Blake, Boulder, CO

1.       Who is in your house? Tell us about your spouse, kids etc.

1Our house is based on the pair system – two kids, two parents, and two cats. Respectively the membership includes Corinne, my bold and brave 4 year old girl, Eliot my clever and kind 6 year old boy, and Rebecca my brilliant and caring [age redacted, just to be safe] wife. The cats names are probably not key to this discussion, but they are Keela and Kylie for those who have detail oriented personalities.  Becca is a successful and experienced leader in higher ed administration with the commanding title of Director of Housing and Auxiliary Services at the Colorado School of Mines. If you have not heard of the school it can best be describe as the MIT of the West. I am a former educational developer for who did time at a few Fortune 100 companies (a small fish in big ponds) and who finally earned his soul back and made amends for the evil he wrought in the world when he became an at home father. As for age, I am not so much pushing my mid forties as pulling them.

2.       How long were you, or have been a stay at home dad?

I have 6 years of service as a full-time father, initially under the direction of one child supervisor and now working feverishly for two. It was a very rough transition initially, partly due to the circumstances that brought me into being an at-home dad in the first place; fired for the first time in my life because I, quote “Retreated to reason in the face of political and emotional situations.” This was not the documented reason, of course, but it was the reason given to me by both my boss and his boss. With my career, for all practical purposes, at an end, I began staying home with my son. At first I viewed it as a temporary arrangement until I sorted out my next step. After about 6 months I realized something very important. In corporate America as well as in my last job in Academia there was always this pressure to practically sacrifice myself to the success of whatever was the current “mission critical, enterprise leading’ flavor-of-the-quarter project. No matter how hard I worked or how well I did, no one even remembered those those oh-so important projects beyond a year. It was always on to the next crisis. But with my children it was an entirely different deal. Everything I did every day – every experience they had with me – would be part of my children’s personalities and endeavors (consciously and subconsciously) for the rest of their lives. This was a ‘project’ that, with any luck, would have significance and currency for 80, 90, or even a 100 years for each of them. With that sort of payoff, it was a no brainer of a choice where I should be.

3.       What city/ cities and year(s) did you attend the convention?

My first convention was in Omaha in 2010, only a few months after becoming a full time father. Since the 2013-14 conventions were near me in Denver I was able to both attend as well as serve on the planning committee managing the dining and transportation logistics. I still remember my first words to a SAHD I met at the convention: “So, what do you do?”  The ‘professional’ world was not quite out of my system yet at that time. I still both smile and blush at my gaff.

4.       What is your best memory from a convention that you attended?

I don’t have a specific memory to highlight from any convention, but I do always remember the profound feeling of acceptance and encouragement that I felt for the first time in my role as a full time, at-home father.

5.       Why should someone attend the convention?

The feelings of inclusion and affirmation I mentioned above are the two very best reasons I can think of for attending the Dads’ Convention. For one weekend a year I know that everyone around me shares almost every thought, concern, hope, challenge, and victory in parenting that I do. It is a deeply affirming experience that can never be under emphasized.

Follow #RoadToRaleigh and #AHDCon on Twitter and Instagram and read about our featured dads every Friday until the convention as we count down to the 20th Annual NAHDN Convention