My Fortress of Solitude is a two-story home on a dead end street. Sorry, “no outlet” street for the pc police. I enjoy my children. I enjoy what I do as a stay-at-home dad. I enjoy being able to get things (not everything, but some things) done around the house during the week so that the weekends can be enjoyed with my family instead of spending them cleaning, organizing, fixing. Although big projects are usually saved for the weekends so I have an extra set of hands and eyes for in case I truly mess up.
I also get to enjoy play video games with my oldest, help my youngest with his alphabet. I get to bring them to the play ground to play (during the week while other dads are working). I get to go on field trips with my kids. I get to take part in class activities. Best of all I actually get to laugh, play, bond and watch and help them grow into the little men they are becoming. I do not have to let someone else raise them while I work a job I do not enjoy. Being a dad is the greatest job in the world. Luckily, that will never change, because I will always be their dad.
Often times, dads are on the sideline as mom does the majority of the work with the house and the kids. They have a back seat role in parenting. As a stay-at-home dad, I have the wheel most of the time. Although, I will admit that there are times when I need to let my wife into the driver seat because there are things that mommy just does better. Let’s just admit it, moms and dads parent different.
The thing is not that we as dads parent different; it’s that being a stay-at-home parent can be a solitary endeavor. As an introvert it only makes it that much more difficult when you do want the social interaction. I am sure that being a stay-home-mom can be solitary as well, but a search of my local meet-up groups shows numerous ones geared toward moms, one geared toward parents, and none for dads only. Here’s the thing, dads parent different, so I want to get together with other dads who stay home and do the majority of the care-giving to their families. I want to hear about their achievements, their failures, their fears. As a dad, I want to feel like I belong. I do not need a fortress of solitude, I need a League of Extraordinary Gentleman.
Fortunately, there is that. It is called National At-Home Dad Network and there are many great dads who are members. Every year they have a convention and a bunch of dads get together, bond, learn, laugh and find out that they are not alone. I have never been. This year is their 20th convention. Yes, Twenty Years! I would like to go. However, because I am a stay-at-home, it means we are mostly a single income family. I do work 2 days a week. So, money is a major concern when it comes to that. Every year, these great guys give out scholarships for dads in need to help cover the cost of entrance into the convention. I have applied for that. But that also leaves the cost of travel, hotel, and food for the time I am there. Which is why I set up a gofundme page. I am looking to break out of my fortress of solitude, connect with other dads, share, and learn a thing or fifty. Please help me get there.
I am a good dad. I want to be a great dad. The best way to get better is to learn from others what works, and what doesn’t. It also helps to teach others. I did not have anyone to learn from growing up. I get better every day because being a parent is learned on the job. There is no manual. I just hope that when my kids look back at their life they think great things of the time they got to spend with their dad as they were growing up.