On Thursday me and 25 other dads in Chicago (and hundreds of other dads around the country) gathered together to drink beer, eat chicken wings, watch college basketball, and trade dad stories.
Not the ones where you haven't seen your kid all week, and you missed the recital, and now you are going to fix it all with ice cream for dinner-- I'm talking more like "How we found out that my son has Celiac's disease, and why we cook 3 dinners a night to feed our family." Or "which playgrounds in which order we are going to go to, once the weather gets warm." And occasionally some B.K. stories (before kids) Backpacking in Syria or books we read when we had time to read books without pictures.
Oh yes, there were a couple of dirty jokes told as well.
I just moved to Chicago, so I didn't know most of the guys, but it was a pleasure to get to know them in a casual style. In New York, these dad gatherings were in many ways, my non-traditional water cooler at work, where you take a minute to share the news of the day, chat about problems at work, and maybe figure out something that's been bothering you.
Having this peer group is important to me. If you are a stay at home dad, or a dad that needs a peer group. I'd highly recommend checking out City Dads. They have organizations in a number of cities, and if they don't have one in yours, if you are willing to do some work, they'll help you start one!
Thanks Dove Men Care + for sponsoring this event, and getting dads to share and build camaraderie. That's #realstrength.
Please note: A version of this article appeared on the CityDads Blog on Friday. Read that, along with some other dads writing their appreciations of the event across the country.