Raleigh hosting national stay-at-home-dad convention

Posted September 25, 2015 5:45 p.m. EDT
Updated September 25, 2015 6:19 p.m. EDT

— For the first time, Raleigh is hosting a national convention aimed at bringing stay-at-home dads together.

The 20th Annual National At-Home Dads Convention began Friday and runs through Sunday at Marbles Kids Museum. The event will include a variety of classes, including father-child relationships, food therapy seminars and advanced paternal photography.

More than 100 dads from across the U.S. and Canada are expected to attend. Estimates peg the number of stay-at-home dads across the country at about 1.75 million, according to the group.

In Cary, Austin Dowd is the CEO of his home.

"While we are with our kids all day, it is a job. We are running around. It's stressful. But between all that stress, we'll be on the playground and get to see them do something for the first time. That is the coolest part,” Dowd said. "We are not Mr. Mom. We are not men in skirts. We are dads. This is what we do."

The father of two loves being a stay-at-home dad but says he initially felt isolated and didn’t know any other fathers who were trading their paychecks for the playground.

"About nine months into the job, I decided I wanted to reach out to other dads. It didn't take long before I just found a growing group of guys,” he said.

Those guys, all part of the brotherhood, plan to meet at the convention this weekend.