David Kepley is an at-home dad of two young boys: Harrison, 5, and Max, 3. He lives in Waxahachie and works odd jobs around his wife Leanne’s schedule as a flight attendant. David is co-organizer for Dallas Dads Group, which is an affiliate of City Dads Group, and blogs at justadad247.com.
6AM Dual alarms chime out of sync to shake me from dead sleep to get my kids to school.
6:23AM I actually open an eye after the third snooze and fumble blindly for the brightness controls on my phone to stop the retina-searing madness. Then I read something for seven minutes to remind myself that I’m capable of rational thought.
6:30AM Both of my children have rolled into bed with me — who knows when. It didn’t wake me up, so I tend not to care. I start the coffee, make my boys’ breakfasts, and pack their lunches (in that order, and only that order).
7:28AM The coffee is kicking in, and I’m pretty positive that I’m a human being again. My wife is a flight attendant, and I’m an at-home dad. While she is working, I get the pleasure of flying solo with two young boys. Just like with any job, we learn by doing things without assistance. Once you get the swing of it, most days are no big deal. This morning my 3-year-old refuses waffles until I bring ketchup, while my 5-year-old satisfies his curiosity about what toothpaste will do when squeezed into his hair. We have two minutes to walk out the door.
7:34AM We walk my oldest son to school on a beautiful Texas morning. My youngest and I stop at the corner to let his older brother walk the last 50 yards by himself. My youngest flings his arms across his chest and plops to the ground in protest because I won’t let him go. Credit where credit is due though: He’s selling it as if we had not had the same discussion 93 times prior. I bribe him with a piggyback ride, and he clings to my shoulders all the way home.
9AM I drop my youngest son off at his pre-K, where I work one day a week teaching their “Kid Fit” classes. The job description reads: Exhaust 11 pre-K children while teaching them about the letter or the number of the day. It’s one of the odd jobs that allow me to contribute while working around my wife’s schedule. My experience will allow me to find work on any cat farm across our great nation as an expert herder.
9:47AM I hang and wire a ceiling fan in our office.
10:23AM I have another cup of coffee and look over the Meetup group I co-organize called Dallas Dads Group. I may be at home, but the group has all kinds of dads (working, at-home, single and divorced dads, dads of children with special needs, etc.). Our only requirement is to be a father who wants to spend time with his children.
11:11AM I drive to my mother-in-law’s business to take pictures for the website I’m building for her and to pull weeds in her front lawn. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “I thought being an at-home dad is all glamour and keggers.” I thought that too, before I started doing it. It’s difficult and isolating work, whether you’re a man or a woman, and it’s the most challenging job I’ve ever had. The benefits are easy to look past in the midst of the day’s frustrations, but in the moments where my children impress me I know the sacrifice is worthwhile.
1:47PM I pick up my youngest son from school. He runs to me and leaps on me while waving a lollipop annoyingly close to my face. I slow our pace, walking to the car so that he can finish his Dum Dum, and I don’t end up with a mystery flavor grafted in my vehicle’s interior again.
3PM I pick up my oldest son up from school and ask him what his favorite part of the day was. I also ask him if anything made him mad or sad during the day too. I think it’s important to ask both. If you listen to their successes, sometimes they tell you about their failures.
3:07PM A whirlwind of climbing, crying, cooking, reading, cleaning, steaming, packing, tracking and backtracking.
8:12PM The kids are bathed, teeth are brushed and I’m lucky to find an agreed-upon book in under 10 minutes. I read, we pray, and I sing the hit combo of “Jingle Bells” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” every night of the year, regardless of whether the weather outside is frightful or not. We all say good night and “I love you.”
8:17PM The youngest one gets out of bed.
8:21PM The youngest one gets out of bed again.
9:23PM After several more attempts to escape bed-prison, both of my children are asleep and I get a small window of opportunity. Homework, housework or veg out? Like most nights, I just pass out. I’m glad to have the opportunity to raise my children and do whatever I can to give them a happy, full life.
Published June 2015