At a November 21 convention in suburban Chicago, 100 American men gathered to network, listen to experts, and exchange strategies for improving job performance. But any resemblance to corporate America ended there. Dress was casual, the atmosphere noncompetitive, and topics included ways to support working spouses, tips on defusing a two-year-old's temper tantrums, and the desire to see more diaper-changing tables installed in men's restrooms.
Giving voice to the growing ranks of men engaged in full-time fatherhood, the third annual At-Home Dads Convention in Des Plaines, Illinois, affirmed the 1.9 million fathers who are primary caregivers to their children. Bruce Drobeck, a marriage and family therapist, sees such men as pioneers in a world of rapidly changing social structures. With job insecurity on the rise and more women holding well-paying jobs, some families have decided having dad at home is a viable option.
The gathering included numerous Christian men, some of them enthusiastic supporters of Promise Keepers (PK). But some Christian men said they felt excluded from PK because of an emphasis on the father as "head" of the family.
Drobeck praises such movements as Promise Keepers and the National Fatherhood Initiative for encouraging more involvement from fathers, but he says more at-home dads need to acknowledge confidently that fatherhood is their business.1