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After 10 years, The At-Home Dad Newsletter has moved into the blog arena
The End of the At-Home Dad Convention
Exclusive At-Home Dad Survey Results

I'll have some prolactin with lactation on the side please
New name needed for dads
US Census Strikes again

The End of the At-Home Dad Convention


After a ten year reign, Bob Frank's At-Home Dad Convention has come to an end. It all started 11 years ago with a phone call from Bob pitching the idea and offering Oakton College as a venue. Using the mailing list of the (hardcopy) At-Home Dad Newsletter we sent out a mailing and got over 80 dads plus to attend the first convention. It was exciting for Bob to pull off such a stunt. And even though it lost money for the College, the event caught the attention of the national press and gave hope to the at-home dads across the country. Bob, Bruce Drobeck, and I had talked of ending it last year at the ninth convention and we came close to announcing it. We hadn't changed a diaper in years, and although we still felt we were doing our daddy duties when the kids come home we were going though very different experiences then the rookie dads we saw at the conventions. We knew it was time to move on, but simply it was hard to let go... so we went on another year. When Barry Reszel who had done a fabulous job as the program coordinator made his announcement to step down, it was an easy decision for Bob to make.

I'd like to share the following comments Barry sent out in a e-mail sent out today.

With sadness I write to tell you the 10th Annual At-Home Dads' Convention this past November, 2005 was the last-at least in the format and at the location we have come to associate with this event.

Though Brian Chalmers stepped forward to volunteer as lead convention coordinator (and for that, I express sincere gratitude), Dr. Bob Frank and Oakton Community College have decided not to host the event going forward. The summary reason is that it's been a great 10-year run, but Bob is looking to do other things and the college is pursuing new programming strategies. We as a community would be remiss if we didn't thank Bob for his time and dedication and Oakton for its facilities, staff, and financial support. I am a richer man and better at-home dad because of my affiliation with the convention; I'm proud to say I have been to all 10.

Over the years, the convention coordinators have adapted formats, changed styles, and worked to, first, forge and nurture the at-home-dads' community and, second, to enlighten those in attendance with information, exercises, discussions, and stories. Sometimes the sessions/presentations were great; sometimes they weren't, but all-in-all, I'd have to say the gatherings achieved their aims.

To those who have called for the convention to be held at alternative places and times or with a different format, perhaps this is the impetus you need to step to this community's forefront and achieve your vision.

In closing, I simply want to reiterate a thought I shared at this year's convention. I believe the legacies we leave will determine how well we have lived. When I gather with a group of at-home dads, I somehow know I am in the midst of men who believe that, too, and live that belief by dedicating themselves to their greatest legacy-their children. For that, we are all heroes in my book.

Best, Barry Reszel

I'll have some prolactin with lactation on the side please.


Some notes from the at-home dad convention, veteran at-home dad researcher Kyle Pruett of the president-producing Yale U delivered the at-home dad convention keynote speech. Although it was weighed down with research data and words like "prolactin" no one whined or took a nap. It's because he's a pretty funny guy and he knows his dad stuff.

Pruett talked about the piles of studies on the hormone level changes in a dad's body before and after he becomes a father. One hormone, prolactin (which helps moms produce milk) was up 20 percent in new dads while testosterone levels dropped.. He mentioned one study that was well covered by Psychology Today “…researchers asked couples to hold dolls that had been wrapped in receiving blankets worn by a newborn within the preceding 24 hours. (After their wives gave birth, fathers held their actual baby.) They listened to a six-minute tape of a real newborn crying and then watched a video of a baby struggling to breast-feed. The investigators took blood from the men and women before the test and 30 minutes later. What they found is startling: Men who expressed the greatest desire to comfort the crying baby had the highest prolactin levels and the greatest reduction in testosterone. And testosterone levels plummeted in those men who held the doll for the full half-hour.”

Pruett's 4 main talking points:

"What I found out was what you are doing is all right and that you do not have to have a sex change to do it"

"Babies respond better to higher tones, but once they are upset they respond better to a lower voice, so [the dads] should get up when the baby cries at night"

We are genetically wired to be good fathers just as moms are - In his book The Nurturing Father he writes "We know for certain that men can be competent, capable, creative caretakers of newborns. This is all the more remarkable given that most men are typically raised with an understanding that they are destined through some natural law to be ineffective nurturers. . . . The research on the subject, some of it now decades old, says this assumption is just not so. And it says it over and over again, in data from many different discipliners.

When your wife disagrees with you she is right also - Pruett notes while mom and dad will handle the same situation differently they are “both right” in their actions. For example he says "Fathers are more likely to encourage their kids to tolerate frustration and master tasks on their own before they offer help," he explains, "whereas mothers tend to assist a fussing child earlier." With this balance the kid understands that he need to take risks but he knows to be careful the next time he wants to steer the sled off your breezeway roof.

Exclusive At-Home Dad Survey Results


With the help of his young son, Kevin, our researcher, Dr Robert Frank, mailed out 1,081 surveys to the readers of At-Home Dad, and got 573 back, making this survey the largest ever taken of at-home dads. In this exclusive survey, Dr Frank focused on the 368 dads who spent 30 or more hours per week alone with the child. Many were anxious for the results, here they are: You are 38-years-old, married, and live in the suburbs with your 2 kids. You have been an at-home dad for nearly 3 years and feel somewhat isolated. You stay home with the kids because you did not want to put your kids in daycare and your wife made more money than you did. Speaking of your wife, she is "extremely satisfied" with the current arrangement and so are you. Your parenting skills come from your own intuition and by being with your own children. Oh yes, I almost forgot, your future: once your kids are in grade school you plan on returning to work at-home or outside the home.

Now that I have you targeted, you will all be receiving your gift for filling out the survey... dinner for you, your 36 year old wife and 2 children. What? You didn't write your name on the survey? Too bad!!

OK, maybe you do not fit the "average" at-home dad reader profiled above, but the survey yielded some interesting results. When mothers were asked the level of satisfaction with having their husband at home, 43% of them circled "extremely satisfied". More revealing, however, is the fathers' response, an overwhelming 51% indicated they were also extremely satisfied. In the many letters and calls I have received the last few years this comes as no surprise.

In one such letter, a dad wrote, "I find that it gives me the time to get to know him better, teach him, play with him and love him."

One mother wrote, "He is proud of being an at-home dad and caring for our daughter, a lot of friends wish they were in his shoes. Thankfully, I can support us on my salary and we both think this is the best thing for our son." She goes on to say, "I enjoy working and am amazed at the father-son bond."

While many couples emphasize the benefits reaped with dad at home they are quick to point out that the isolation is still there. In the survey 63% of the dads noted that they were "somewhat isolated" and 6% were totally isolated.

One mother from Van Nuys, CA relates, "My husband has no support group here in L.A., no friends who are in our situation. He feels very alone and frustrated at times. When I was at first pregnant and then home on leave with the babies, I had a circle of women friends who were going through the same thing I was. We learned a lot from each other and we still call on these women for advice and support. There is no one for my husband to call when the baby has spent the past two weeks fussing at everything without respite, pushing my husband to the limits."

One dad from California who has been home with his 2 young sons, says, "The hardest part is not knowing anyone and everyone else is at work all day. After talking to a 3- year-old all day, I can't wait for my wife to get home."

Why are we staying home? The #1 reason was to keep the kids out of daycare. Timothy Nohe of Catonville, MD, who cares for 3 boys (7, 2 and 11 mo), notes, "I quit my electrical engineering job 18 months ago and haven't looked back. 5 yrs of college down the tubes. I hated that job. All government work and programming. Yuck! We had a 17 year-old daughter, 5 year-old son and a 6 month-old-son we had adopted as an infant. The baby was in daycare. My wife made more than 60% of household income. More than half of my share went to daycare and before and after care. What's wrong with this picture?" One reader, Andy Doetsch, took his kids out of daycare and resigned his secure teaching position in Georgia to stay home because "neither of us liked having to take the kids to daycare every day and hearing second hand what new progress they had made that day."

65% of the mothers answered that having dad at home did not affect career either way, while 39% of the dads reported no effect. However, 30% of the dads noted that being home with the kids hurt their career somewhat and 24% reported that the arrangement hurt career a lot. Many of the dads noted that they miss their former jobs. One such dad, Larry Cohen, of Brookline, MA, worked part-time but was still the primary parent as his wife worked "ridiculously long hours as a medical resident." Last summer he decided to stay home with his daughter, Emma, around the clock. He states, "I miss the adult companionship of my former work (as a clinical psychologist in a group practice) and I feel cheated about not being paid for all I do...and finally resenting doing housework."

Nohe says of his career ambitions, "Go back to work? Only if I am allowed to think without Mike screaming (the baby. He is a screamer. Nothing wrong. Just screams). We've already determined that when they go to school, I'll get something so I can be here for them. But hey, I have 5 years to think about that." Another dad says, "I'm not itching to get back in the work force. Maybe part time when both kids go full time to school. I am too independent to take someone's BS at the workplace though. I guess I have this type of nerve right now because my wife is making good money." Comparing this survey to the one completed last year where he compared 44 at-home dad families, (published in the Winter 95 issue), Dr Frank notes the time spent with the kids alone by moms (20 hours) and dads (50 hours) in at- home dad families were about the same.

There was one question that had a predictable answer: Who drives the car when both parents are in the car. Can you guess? 80% of you said that dad drove. Bob Frank says of this 80% figure, "This is a revealing clue that the at-home dad is still sticking to their core gender roles such as driving the car and doing the handyman work around the house."

He goes on to mention that you don't want a complete role reversal but rather, "a more equal balance in parenting..this way kids see the dad and the mom in both roles, which results in a less stereotypical attitude."

66% of the mothers answered that having dad at home did not affect career either way, while 39% of the dads reported no effect. However, 30% of the dads noted that being home with the kids hurt their career somewhat and 25% reported that the arrangement hurt career a lot. Many of the dads noted that they miss their former jobs. One such dad, Larry Cohen, of Brookline, MA, worked part-time but was still the primary parent as his wife worked "ridiculously long hours as a medical resident." Last summer he decided to stay home with his daughter, Emma, around the clock. He states, "I miss the adult companionship of my former work (as a clinical psychologist in a group practice) and I feel cheated about not being paid for all I do...and finally resenting housework."

Nohe says of his career ambitions, "Go back to work? Only if I am allowed to think without Mike screaming. (The baby. He is a screamer. Nothing wrong. Just screams.) We've already determined that when they go to school, I'll get something so I can be here for them. But hey, I have 5 years to think about that." Another dad says, "I'm not itching to get back in the work force. Maybe part time when both kids go full time to school. I am too independent to take someone's BS at the workplace though. I guess I have this type of nerve right now because my wife is making good money." Comparing this survey to the one completed last year where he compared 44 at-home dad families, (published in the Winter 95 issue), Dr. Frank notes the time spent with the kids alone by moms (20 hours) and dads (50 hours) in at- home dad families were about the same.

There was one question that had a predictable answer: Who drives the car when both parents are in the car. Can you guess? 80% of you said that dad drove. Dr. Frank says of this 80% figure, "This is a revealing clue that the at-home dad is still sticking to their core gender roles such as driving the car and doing the handyman work around the house."

Dr. Frank goes on to mention that you don't want a complete role reversal but rather, "A more equal balance in parenting..this way kids see the dad and the mom in both roles, which results in a less stereotypical attitude."

Survey Stats:

What % of the time do you make social arrangements for yourself? Father 39% Mother 59%

Who tends to keep track of what needs to be cleaned around the house? Father 37.5% Mother 13.3% Both 48.9% Other .3%

Hours per week each adult work for pay? Mother 47 hours Father 8 hours

How much income did you lose due to your child care arrangement? $26,000

Do you currently run a business out of the home? Yes - 26.4% No - 73.6%

How long have you been an at-home dad? 33 months

What will you do once all of the children are in school all day?

Go back or continue to work outside the home - 37.8%
Go back or continue to work inside the home - 25.3%
Not sure - 23.6%
Not work at all .8%
Children in school 9%

Exclusive At-Home Dad Survey Results

#1 - Didn't want daycare
#2 - Wife made more money
#3 - Wife wanted to work more.
#4 - Dad had greater desire to stay home.

US Census Strikes again


The US Census released today some facts for features on Father's Day for the media to use in their yearly father's day stories. Some of the interesting numbers here.

There are estimated to be 66.3 million fathers in the United States today. (not published yet in the census website).

The description the US Newswire press services used is "Mr Mom", when they reported on the census figures on at-home dads. I won't whine about the term but wasn't that movie over 20 years ago? Anyhow they have pegged the number of us (with kids under 15) at 105,000 and we are caring for 189,000 kids.

Now this is where I get confused..the next item on the press release is a figure of 2 million preschoolers "whose fathers care for them more hours than any other child-care provider while their mothers are at work." mmm now we have 105,000 dads caring for 2 million preschoolers. That averages out to 20 kids per father doesn't it?

Now, take a look at the raw numbers where these reports come from (they are from 1999 by the way). I bet you won't last 5 minutes looking at these. Back in 1996 I met Lynne Casper of the Census with the 1993 numbers and she had figures including all dads working or not caring for kids under 15 and came up with nearly 2 million at-home dads. I used the 2 million number in my newsletter and in media interviews. Since then the number has sprouted wings and has been used extensively by the print & TV media. Judging from the new numbers it looks like we lost about 1.8 million at-home dads between 1993 and 1999.

More on this later I am going fishing for striped bass and my friend is waiting.

New name needed for dads


I wrote in my last post that the US Newswire press services added the term "Mr Mom" in their article to spice up their report in describing us. But it actually did come from the US Census's actual press release . I will send them a note and ask them to rephrase that term. But before I do you may e-mail at athomedad@aol.com me on what term you would like to be described. I will let you know the results when I get enough responses and let them know what to use next time.

A member of the at-home dad message posted a note that he was thumbing through the latest Parents magazine and happened upon a book titled, "How Tough Could It Be? by Sports Illustrated writer Austin Murphy, the poster says "Mr. Murphy took 6 months off from his job as a writer for SI to be an AHD. Now, I don't want to rag on the book before I read it, but I hope he makes a point about a 6 month tour being a tad different than doing it for years and years." A few minutes after I read his post the mailman handed me a review copy of it so I will let you know with a my thoughts on it when I can get to it.

When the at-home dads stories first started coming out big time in the mid-90's the mere fact that a dad was the primary caregiver was a story in itself. Now its being used more as a descriptor for a dad. Heres one from the Orange County Register titled "At-Home Dad Invents a Mean Screen Cleaner" (the story will pop on for a few seconds long enough to see the headline then it will switch to a new window to subscribe). There's one sentence that he has 6-year-old twins, but thats it. I think we will see less and less of stories of a dad simply because he stay home as each father's day media crunch comes and goes.

Here's a stat I got from reporter, Virginia Linn of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette "...and father-only households (no wife or partner) increased to 4.3 million households by 2000." She got her information from this press release issued by American Academy of Pediatrics. In it, they gave out the advice for Pediatricians to "Speak directly to the father as well as the other parenting partner, and solicit his opinions" In other words don't forget dad is sitting right there while your wife is getting all the lip service. I've heard a few stories of dad at office visits where the doctor never even acknowledged dad while he was asking his wife all the questions.

(Note: the following paragraph is very boring one about statistics, you may want to skip it unless you are a researcher of accountant)

Back to the 4.3 million father-only households (single fathers) raising their kids. The Pediatrics press release notes the definition of a father as "biological, foster or adoptive father; he may be a stepfather, grandfather, teen father, father figure or co parent father in a gay relationship." Lots of gray area here. In searching for the definition of Father-only households I checked the US Census Households by Type report which estimated 4,201,824 "male householders" by 2004. I then interviewed Karen Thomson of the US Census Household Division this morning and she verified that all father-only households have at least one child 17 or under in the home. Here's the actual definition: Male Householder no wife present: This category includes households with male householders who are married with at least one other relative in the household, but with wife absent because of separation or other reason where husband and wife maintain separate residences; and male householders who are widowed, divorced, or single with at least one other relative in the household.

Thanks to a Peter B. McIntyre of the message board who alerted me to at-home dad Ben McNeill of Chapel Hill, NC. He has a stunning online journal (blog) titled The Trixie Update . There are lots of blogs out there with dads who talk about their families with all the cute stories, but this one takes an intensely objective tone. It's filled with charts graphs and stats about his daughter's every single movement (bowel or otherwise) that would put the US Census to shame. As I write this his site reports that the baby has been awake for 1 hour 31 minutes. has had 3 diaper changes the last one being 12:06pm.which brings the total of diaper changes to 1,965. (Ironically "1965 is the year Procter & Gamble continued to introduce Pampers nationwide. For a while, supermarkets, drug and department stores are not sure how to classify this brand new product or where to stock it. As a result Pampers can unpredictably be found in the convenience section, the food aisle, the paper product section, and even in the drug section." Source: The Trixie Update Here's an article about him in his local paper

Funny humorous comment to note by Tim Goodman of the San Francisco Chronicle who was making fun of Howard Dean's possible TV talk show. "After much discussing, the new Howard Dean talk show will be called "Quick to Anger." He will explore the challenges of remaining calm with a bevy of noted hotheads. Geared toward the stay-at-home dad crowd that has grown tired of soft talk shows like "Ellen" and, frankly, are at their wits end with the little snappers, "Quick to Anger" will essentially be 60 minutes of venting." At least someone out there knows we would like some alternative network programming besides Oprah & Dr Phil. The most popular daytime TV show that I have heard the dads talk about at the last At-Home Dad Convention is ESPN.

After 10 years, The At-Home Dad Newsletter has moved into the blog arena


The last few years I have neglected the hardcopy newsletter as I was writing a new book titled The Stay-At-Home Dad Handbook. The book is done and the Chicago Review Press will put it out this fall.

I'd like to thank Brian at Rebeldad.com for the initial inspiration to try this format. When I started checking out blogs, I found his first. I found him to be right on top of the latest at-home dad media. As I read through his comments, I thought the blog format would be a perfect fit for the At-Home Dad Newsletter.

Now I can concentrate on posting topics like Glenn Sargent of Mason, OH an at-home dad who wants to run for president. He is one of 177 other folks trying to get on Showtime's new reality show American Candidate this summer.

©2008, Peter Baylies

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It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men. - Frederick Douglass

Peter Baylies is the Director, of the At-Home Dad Network and the author of The Stay-at-Home Dad Handbook. The At-Home Dad Network is a loose-knit grassroots organization for primary care dads who want to start up or join any activity to help connect at-home dads. Since 1994 we have connected and promoted home-based fathers across the country and around the world. It started in with a small group of dads who wanted to be listed in the the At-Home Dad Newsletter and grew into a network of thousands of dads who started dozens of At-Home Dad Network playgroups, e-mail list servs, media contacts, conducted research, and the At-Home Dad Convention. Subscribe to our free online At-Home Dad Newsletter to be delivered to you via e-mail. We also invite you to join the new At-Home Dad Network online message board. where you can connect with at-home dads next door and around the world. If you would like to join either the At-Home Dad Message board and or to receive the free online newsletter and request to join or ask any questions in joining or starting a playgroup or need any resources. If you have any at-home dad news like the one above, or opinions or events and you would like me to check out and possibly share with the readers, send it to Peter Baylies at E-Mail or www.athomedad.com  



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