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10 Highlights of the 17th Annual At-Home Dads Convention

10 Highlights of the 17th Annual At-Home Dads Convention

I had such a great weekend at the 17th Annual At-Home Dads Convention in Washington, DC.

Leading up to it, I know that one of the most common questions I (and many of the other dads who attended) have been asked about the convention is some variation on “What do you do there? What would you talk about?”

Having never been before, I was never really sure how to answer that, but it turns out that answer is really not that complicated.

We talk about parenting! We talk about the strategies, struggles, and successes. We talk about potty training, teaching your kids about bullies, and how to get them to eat their veggies. We talk about developing good communication with your spouse, and about finding, starting, and building a local dad’s group. We talk about beer and sports and movies and George R.R. Martin and how to plan a toddler’s birthday party without going insane.

You know, parenting!

To top it off, we get to do this in a way that helps drive home not just the importance of what we do as dads, but also that we’re not alone in doing it. This sort of community support is one of the things that most at-home dads are lacking where they are, so a weekend like this to recharge and get connected with a community from across the nation is huge. HUGE.

Here are a few of the highlights for me…

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Daddy Doctrines Goes to Washington

Daddy Doctrines Goes to Washington

If all goes according to plan, I will shortly hit the road to Washington, DC, for the much-anticipated 17th Annual At-Home Dads Convention being held there this year.

As I’ve mentioned, I’m very excited to get to go, both as a first-time attendee and as a panel member (I will be part of “Moving the Conversation Forward: Using Media to Change the Perception of At-Home Dads” alongside Matt Schneider and Lance Somerfeld from the NYC Dads Group, Matt Peregoy from The Real Matt Daddy, and journalist David Worford). It’s going to be great to get to meet several dads I only know online, and make several new friends while I’m at it. Good times await!

More than anything, this is a great chance to get refreshed and inspired to be the best dad I can possibly be.

This will be, by my memory, the first time I will be apart from the boys for more than a few hours. It’s going to be strange not having someone begging me for a snack, to take them to the potty, change their diaper, fix them a meal, play blocks, read a book, snuggle, break up a fight, explain where babies come from, take them to the park or the zoo, or let them ride on my back while I pretend to be a T-Rex.

I’m gonna miss them.

But HUGE thanks to my wonderful wife and the best in-laws I could have asked for, for helping make it happen.

I’ll be doing my best to Tweet about the convention as it happens, so please make sure you’re following me on Twitter (@ChrisRoutly) and look for the hashtag #ahdconvention.

Also, I’m hoping to be there in time to participate in a Huggies-sponsored Community Service Project, and for every Facebook post on their wall and/or tweet at @Huggies posted about this event or thanking Huggies for sponsoring the Convention, Huggies® Every Little Bottom will donate to a baby in need. Please join in!

DC, here I come!

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Gearing Up for the 17th Annual At-Home Dads Convention

Gearing Up for the 17th Annual At-Home Dads Convention

In a couple of weeks I will be heading down to the 17th Annual At-Home Dads Convention, which this year is taking place the first weekend of October in the Washington, DC area and is put on by the National At-Home Dad Network.

I’m so thrilled to be able to go, finally.

I’m into my fourth (!!!) year now as a self-described “stay-at-home dad,” but have not been able to make the trip before now. Many thanks to my wife and in-laws who are going to make it possible.

You might think the idea of a convention for at-home dads sounds a little silly, or conversely you may wonder why you’ve never heard of such a thing because it sounds like such a great idea. Either way, everything I hear about the convention has been that it’s a life-changing sort of weekend as far as connecting with other dads, having great conversations about being the best dad you can be, and generally just refueling for this role where it can sometimes feel like we’re running on fumes.

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Ann Romney, Dads Parent Too.

Ann Romney, Dads Parent Too.

At Tuesday’s Republican National Convention, Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s wife Ann gave one of the big speeches of the night. Her goal (or assigned campaign job, depending on how cynical you are) was to connect with female voters, a group that has increasingly been feeling disconnected from the GOP recently.

She did this, in part, by lauding moms. A worthy goal, to be sure! Moms are, in fact, amazing.

However, unfortunately, she chose to do so by basically dismissing dads as having a secondary role in parenting.

She called deep love for children something “only a mother can fathom” and painted a confused picture where “the moms of this nation … really hold this country together” and “have to work a little harder” by virtue of doing things that millions of dads do every day too. Her examples included: Laying awake at night worrying about the family. Helping with homework. Knowing the way to the emergency room. Becoming wistful about the passage of time when you see your child graduate.

You know, all the stuff only moms do.

As you can expect, lots of people found this to be a rather out-of-touch perception of modern parenting.

Rather than write much more about this, I thought I’d instead share a few articles from around the web that I’ve read today that make the case better than I ever could why what Ann said, didn’t say, and could have said, actually matter. I’ll add more as I find them…

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Garden Friends GIVEAWAY Winners!

Garden Friends GIVEAWAY Winners!

Thank you to everyone who entered our Garden Friends Giveaway!

 

Congratulations to these lucky winners!

 

Winners of the Garden Friends: Fruit, Vegetable & Herb Garden Stakes printable PDF are:

Deana C.

Diane B.

Erin C.

Erma H.

 

The Grand Prize Winner, who, in addition to the above PDF also wins a copy of Now I Eat My ABCs is:

Now I Eat My ABCsTB!

 

Winners have been notified via email. If you are one of the winners and have not received an email detailing how to get your prize, please contact me!

If you were not a winner this time, I hope you’ll consider buying a book instead! They are only $4.99 and have a ton of uses, beyond garden stakes and into iron-on t-shirt designs, scrapbooking, and much more! Thanks!

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Buy One, Give One

Buy One, Give One

I’m happy to announce that I am partnering with LifeChurch in Allentown, PA to get copies of my educational kids’ ABC books The Animalphabet and Now I Eat My ABCs into the hands of children.

The idea is simple: buy one of my books, and a second copy will go to a child in need.

Initially this will be children in Guatemala and Haiti, with plans to expand wherever the opportunity comes.

You read more about the Buy One, Give One promotion and the charities it will be supporting here.

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Huggies unveils revised version of commercial . . . and they nailed it.

After listening to our feedback, Huggies has gone back and remade the commercials from their “Dad Test” series of advertisements, to make clear that it is the DIAPERS being tested, not the DADS.

Below is the a special preview for the new version of the “Easy Chair” ad, which will begin airing on Monday, March 26th. I’ve been given permission to share it with you all! 🙂

Kudos to them for making such a big change and taking seriously the opportunity to show real, involved, competent and confident dads with their babies.

I look forward to seeing the rest of the newly revised campaign.

(NOTE: You can still see the old version of the “Easy Chair” ad here for comparison, though I don’t know for how long.)

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An Open Letter to the Supporters of my Huggies Petition

An Open Letter to the Supporters of my Huggies Petition

Dear friends and supporters,

I am incredibly happy to report to you that the people at Huggies/Kimberly-Clark have heard your voices, and are responding in real, impactful ways. You may have already heard this, but I hope to give you a little bit more information.

Before explaining more, I want to thank you so much for all of your support.

Thank you for signing the petition, for sharing it, for posting on Twitter and Facebook and even Pinterest, and for your calls and emails to Huggies/Kimberly-Clark. This could not have happened without people like you, who agreed that simply because this was “just” an ad campaign for diapers, or meant as a “joke,” or because there are bigger issues in the world, didn’t mean that the problem should be ignored.

So, here’s the good news…

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Huggies seems to be listening… sorta.

Huggies seems to be listening… sorta.

Progress?

One of the more frustrating aspects of the last few days being this accidental activist has been the feeling of being completely ignored by the people who you are trying to engage.

I understand all of the issues involved, sure. Give us attention and you give our petition more legitimacy. And after the PR nightmare cause by the initial Huggies “background information” on their insulting ad campaign which made this so much worse, I understand not wanting to do that again.

But for a company that has made such a point of declaring how much they love dads and appreciate our equal parenting role, the silence has been rather deafening.

So when this was posted to the official Huggies Facebook page this afternoon it was very welcome:

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Have a Kindle Fire? Want copies of my children’s books… for free?

Have a Kindle Fire? Want copies of my children’s books… for free?

I recently finished converting both of my alphabetic children’s picture books into the new Kindle Fire format and this week to celebrate their launch I am offering them for free, until February 11th, 2012.

Yes, FREE!

The Animalphabet and Now I Eat My ABCs are both all about teaching your kid the alphabet, the former by use of animals, and the latter with the help of some friendly fruits and vegetables.

They’re simple, but they’re bold and colorful and fun, and I am very proud of these as my first little toe-dip into the world of creating and self-publishing my own books for kids.

These were created with the Kindle Fire’s color and formatting in mind, but are designed to be compatible with other Kindle devices and apps.

Please check them out, and do me a favor by giving them a like or a share, give them glowing reviews, and more than anything find a kid and sit down and read with them.

The Animalphabet Now I Eat My ABCs
The Animalphabet Now I Eat My ABCs
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Life of Ronnie – Volume 1 now available!

Life of Ronnie – Volume 1 now available!

As most of my readers know, in addition to this blog I also am a cartoonist, and though it is on hiatus right now I have a semi-autobiographical comic strip called Life of Ronnie.

Well, I’m incredibly proud to announce that I’ve just published my collection, Life of Ronnie – Volume 1: Making It Up As I Go Along!

This book is 148 pages and contains about 270 strips. It’s a great read, if I do say so myself!

If you like Life of Ronnie, I’d love your support for making more, which you might say would be greatly influenced by how many of these I can sell. If only there was a terrific gift-giving occasion coming up…

ANYHOW.

Buy the book by December 14th and use the coupon code BUYMYBOOK305 and save 25% off of your purchase! Wow! 🙂

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

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Tide and their “Dad Mom”

Tide and their “Dad Mom”

See Update Below!

I saw this posted earlier today, and, like the person who posted it, I was really happy to see a commercial where an at-home dad (or any dad at all, frankly) is shown as a competent person, capable of taking care of things at home:

 

Pretty good, right?

I mean, yeah, the whole “haha he’s a dude yet he knows how to braid hair” thing is a little cheap, but it’s cute and pretty funny and I’d WAY rather see humor based on how good a guy is at something domestic or child-related than how he’s a bumbling buffoon, whose place in laundry commercials is only to be the guy who shrank or discolored something. Again.

So, in that vein, I want to make this really clear: I honestly believe that this commercial exists because someone (and very likely several “someones”) at Tide really is conscious that there are dads out there who care about doing their laundry well, and are trying to present at-home dads in a positive light. Maybe it’s just recognition of an untapped market-segment, rather than an attempt to be progressive as a company about parenting roles. I don’t know.

But I appreciate it. I really do.

Then I saw the name of the clip, as titled on YouTube by whoever at Tide (it was posted by Tide) does their social media: “Tide – My Tide TV Commercial – Dad Mom Short Version.”

Something didn’t feel right.

What the heck is a Dad Mom?

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I swear, I didn’t send this

I swear, I didn’t send this

One of My wife’s co-workers saw this in the Letters-to-the-Editor section of the paper a few days after the article about me was run on Father’s Day.

Despite all the talk with the actual reporter about “Don’t call me Mr. Mom,” I guess some editor decided to use the phrase anyhow to title a sidebar graphic about the increase of at-home dads recently.

It didn’t appear in the online version, apparently. And I didn’t get to see a print copy until a few days later, since we were out of town when it came out. But Anna and I enjoyed a nice eye-roll together when we saw it.

Which, of course, only made it appropriate that we shared an awesome high-five at “The Routly family is one step ahead of the game.”

Anyhow, nice to know I have another local supporter.

Here’s how it appeared in print:

Me with my hand on my son’s rear end.

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by in / News / Video
Interviewed by the local paper!

Interviewed by the local paper!

Last week I was contacted by a reporter from the Morning Call, the daily newspaper of the Lehigh Valley, PA, where I live. He was writing an article on stay-at-home dads for Father’s Day and wanted to ask me some questions.

We found some time to get together at a local park, so he could ask me about what I do, the highs and the lows, and thoughts on the importance of Father’s Day, while I played with my boys and a Morning Call photographer took photos and video. It was great talking to them, and the boys were suitably cute.

Anyhow, the piece came out yesterday. Give it a read!

(The only error I really see is that it says we moved to PA from Bellingham, WA rather than Redmond, WA. But that’s pretty minor.)

There is also a nifty video they put together about me:

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The Animalphabet: So, I made a children’s book

The Animalphabet: So, I made a children’s book

I’m very excited to announce that I’m officially publishing my first children’s book!

It’s called The Animalphabet.

Really, it’s just a simple, cute, animal-centric book to help teach young kids their ABCs, but I’m very proud of how it has turned out.

The illustrations started as drawings I did to decorate my eldest son’s nursery, but I was so happy with them I wanted to use them in a future project like this, and I figured they were a good opportunity to dip my toe into creating and self-publishing a kid’s book.

So, anyhow, get one for your family and one for a friend!

And please, help me spread the word! 🙂

[info]UPDATE: I’ve updated this page to reflect the current addition of the book, now published through CreateSpace and available on Amazon.com![/info]

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Back in the Saddle Again

Back in the Saddle Again

My apologies for my long absence. I guess you could say I ended up taking paternity leave unexpectedly.

Things have been very busy, but in general I think it’s just taken me some time to figure out how writing time fits into the New Normal of being home with a very busy toddler and an infant with an entirely different schedule and set of needs. Now that my lovely wife is back at work and getting settled back in, I too am getting back into the swing of things here, and I’ll soon be returning to using this blog as a record of my time with them.

So, watch this space!

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The Birth of Coltrane, by the numbers

The Birth of Coltrane, by the numbers

5 – The number of days we were overdue, on the day that we went in for the induction.

3:00 AM – The time we needed to get up to be sure to be at the hospital on time.

5:00 AM – Our check-in time for the induction.

32° F – The temperature at which water freezes… in order to create the freezing rain that was forecast for the early hours of that very morning. Yikes.

Zero – The number of problems we had getting to the hospital. Thanks, Lord.

323 & 415 – Our room numbers in the LVH Center for Mother & Baby Care, where the delivery and recovery took place, respectively.

4 – The number of attempts to introduce an IV into Anna’s arm before someone finally succeeded. Ouch.

6 – The number of delicious snow cones our awesome Labor Nurse brought for Anna. (I had some too, but don’t tell.)

4 cm – The cervical dilation at which Anna seemed to stay for a looooooong time.

2:39 PM – The time at which the doctor said: “Okay Anna, time to push.”

2:41 PM – The time when Coltrane Parker Routly entered the world.

2:41:01 PM – The time when I was allowed to start crying, and did.

Zip – The amount of pain Anna felt during those two minutes. That was one effective epidural.

~8 hours – The approximate amount of time after Cole’s birth before Anna had enough feeling in her legs to stand under her own power.

7 lbs 7 oz – Cole’s birth weight.

20 ½ – Cole’s birth length.

10/10 – Cole’s APGAR score. That’s my boy!

1/19 – Cole’s birthday.

1/20 – Cole’s mother’s birthday.

1/21 – Cole’s grandmother’s birthday.

~25 – The approximate number of times Anna or I have accidentally referred to Cole as “Tuck/Tucker” so far.

Zilch – The exact number of times Tucker has accidentally referred to Cole as “Tuck/Tucker” so far.

6″ – The depth of new snowfall covering our van and the ground around it on the day we were discharged, that needed to be scraped away with an old cardboard box because I forgot the ice scraper/broom. Also forgotten: my gloves. Oops.

3 hours, 8 minutes – The amount of time between my final mid-contractions Facebook/Twitter update, and the one announcing Cole’s birth. Sorry, we had some calls to make. 😉

(With apologies and thanks to my friend Trevor for this fun way to record the story of Coltrane’s birth!)

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Welcome to the Daddy Doctrines

For some time now I’ve been bandying about the idea of starting my own “daddy-blog”.

If, like me, you’re a parent who puts even the slightest effort into seeking out others of your kind, you’ll know that “mommy-blogs” are all the rage in the parenting circle, particularly from full or part-time stay-at-home moms. These blogs, which can really range from little more than photos/videos of Mommy’s Little Angel, all the way to the moms leading the charge in the “mommy wars”, outnumber those by dads by such a huge scope it’s really rather ridiculous. But then again, the at-home-mom:at-home-dad ratio is pretty ridiculously one-sided, so perhaps it’s no surprise.

What the blogging world doesn’t need is one more dad setting up a blog to share photos, so instead what I’m hoping to do is instead try to shed a little light on what I’ve learned, and continue to learn, about being an at-home dad in the 21st Century. I’m hoping at the very least to encourage dads, whether at home or working, to be really involved with their kids from day one. And I hope to make you laugh, if I can. Think of this as “Stuff White People Like” for the at-home dad set.

So. This is me throwing my hat into the ring, as it were.

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