When I first began blogging about a year and a half ago, I thought I was doing something groundbreaking. I was going to tell the world that men can raise children too. After all, I have been a stay-at-home dad since 2004 and believe that I’ve got a pretty good handle on this raising kids thing. My blog would provide stories and tips to encourage and help other fathers.
As I began to write, I felt like an outsider in the parenting world. Not that being an outsider is such a bad thing, because to be honest, I kind of like being on the outside. But, I don’t like my kids to be on the outside. So I began to search for other groups for my children and me to be a part of. That search led me to the New York City Dad’s Group. The group opened doors for my family beyond what I could have imagined. I had no idea there were so many men living in NYC that had the same ideals and similar lifestyle as me. And for the first time as a stay-at-home dad, I wasn’t on the outside – I was right in the middle of things.
The first thing I realized as I joined Dad 2.0 is that I’m not groundbreaking. Dads have been doing what I’ve been doing for years. There are so many great dads out there writing about their experiences. As I read these blogs, I was blown away at their creativity. I became a fan of blogs such as Black Hockey Jesus, How to be a dad, Honea Express, and Bobblehead Dad.
When we heard about the Dad2.0 Summit in Houston, I knew I wanted to go. My wife and I talked it over to see if it was worthwhile. She brought up all the possibilities of what the conference could do for me and my blog, and I thought about all the sleep that I might be able to finally get.
We agreed that I should go, which would force me to do something that I absolutely hate… networking. My wife suggested that I purchase some business cards. The idea that someone would want to hold in their hand my contact information and blog address seemed a bit silly to me. I first told my wife, “I’ll just tell them my blog address, after all www.thejasongreene.com is pretty easy to remember if someone meets me. I could also just write it down for them.” My wife who is a pro at handing out business cards informed me that I was way off and that no-one was going to save the dirty cocktail napkin with my website scribbled on it. The thing is, I knew that it was a good idea to get business cards, but handing them out out was the last thing that I wanted to do – I’m just no good at self-promotion. We ordered business cards, but I shuddered at the thought of walking up to someone and saying, “Hi, I’m Jason Greene, here’s my card.” I was going to have to step outside of my comfort zone. I haven’t acted in a while, but at the conference I would have to put on another performance.
I set my fear of flying aside and made the journey to Houston to attend the conference. While at the airport, I ran into the great guys from the National At-Home Dad Network. I appreciated their friendliness and looked forward to hanging out with them at the conference. After checking into the hotel, I was faced with a huge decision. A comfortable bed was waiting for me in a quiet room. I could take a nap and get some rest, or I could head downstairs and “network.” The decision weighed heavy on mind. Then it hit me, not only did our pocket books take a bit of a hit for me to attend the conference, but a lot of people were helping me out so that I could attend the conference (after all, when a stay-at-home dad takes a business trip, someone else has to watch the kids). I had a responsibility. So I took a shower and went to the welcome party.
From the Welcome party to the final craft beer reception, I had great moments making friends and contacts. And during the panels I learned a great deal. Jeff Pulver inspired me that hard work and a bit of luck can go a long way. Brene Brown helped me to look at myself to see the kind of man and parent that I am and the kind that I want to be. David Eagleman provided me with insight into a growing child’s mind and also made me feel like the dumbest guy in the room. I became a fan of blogs such as DadCentric, Fatherhood.org, Parentalguyd.com, Always Home and Uncool, Dadscribe, The Daddy Complex and the Dad Vibe – those guys can write! The panels that I attended helped me to realize that I really don’t have a goal/mission for my blog, nor do I have a method of writing. Both of which I need to take more seriously if I’m going to be successful at it.
The conference was a personal success for me. I managed to hand out a respectable number of business cards. More importantly, I now have tools to work with and a group of supporters to help me out. I’ve also got a new iPad mini to assist me, thanks to Honda.
So keep coming back to see what’s new, feel free to comment, and if I run into you on the street, ask for my card.
And what’s a conference without free stuff. Thank you to all the companies that helped make this conference all the more memorable.
Dove Men +Care @DoveMenCare #DadCare
Honda @Honda #HondaDads
Kraft Cheese @KraftCheese #KraftCheese
Milk @MilkMustache #TackleYourDay #MilkProtein
Sears Auto Center @Sears Auto
Turtle Wax @TurtleWax #TurtleWax
Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co. @BuffBrew
Ella’s Kitchen @EllasKitchenUSA
Jamba Juice @JambaJuice #JambaJuice
Kidde Safety @KiddeSafety