Welcome to my blog. My name is David Kelley, also known as SUPERishDAD. I decided to start a blog of my own because I am a stay at home dad and want to share my experience with others. My days are filled with love, confusion, joy, disgust, frustration, cute moments, learning opportunities, mundane tasks, new experiences, complete awe, and every other emotion. Like most parents, it’s a roller coaster, but it’s the most amazing ride I’ve ever been on and that seems worth sharing.
On January 1, 2016 my life changed forever. My daughter was born and I was no longer just some dude… I was a DAD! The funny thing is, for the longest time I never wanted to be a dad. It wasn’t until my step-brother and his wife had their first child in 2010 that my wife and I even considered having a kid. Holding my little nephew for the first time flipped a switch in my brain and my wife and I started having conversations about becoming parents that we’d never had before.
My wife, Lisa, and I started dating in high school all the way back in 2000 while growing up in a small town in East Tennessee. We were just a couple of crazy kids who started working part-time at Ingles grocery store to earn some extra cash. While working there we started talking, started dating and fell in love. We graduated high school in 2002 and Lisa worked on her Associate’s degree in Nursing at Walters State Community College while I attended the prestigious ITT Technical Institute in Knoxville, TN (which was so prestigious that it no longer exists) for Computer Electronics Engineering Technology.
After we both received our Associate’s degrees, I moved back to our hometown to be with her. We got married on 7/23/05 while Lisa was working on her Bachelor’s degree in Nursing at East Tennessee State University. After Lisa completed that degree we packed up our 4 dogs, sold our house and moved to Charlotte, NC. We both attended Queens University of Charlotte. Lisa got her Master’s degree in Nursing Administration while I switched gears completely and started working on a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. I completed my degree in 2013.
After extensively talking about the prospect of having a child of our own, we finally decided to try to have a child in early 2015. A lot of our friends at the time were having trouble conceiving so we figured it would be a while before Lisa got pregnant. Turns out, two months later we found out we were having a baby! Needless to say, April 29, 2015 was a shocking day for us both.
As a dude, I was really hoping for a boy. I was big into sports in my younger days and I had dreams of watching my son play football or wrestling and I would even watch that super boring sport called baseball if my son played. Besides that, when Lisa and I would be out at the mall or Target, we would see young girls wearing tight outfits and short shorts and say to each other, “Nope, can’t have a daughter.” I just know how boys think and I know what kind of attention those outfits receive. I knew that if I had a daughter, those things would still be in style and I’d have to deal with boys and that seems awful.
So obviously, we found out we were having a daughter. My head switched from sports and games to ultra protection mode. The reality set in that I’m going to be some girl’s dad and even though I always knew that I would be really engaged with my child, the fact that we were having a daughter kicked me into overdrive. I can’t tell you the sense of responsibility I feel for my daughter, even at this very moment, but I carry that burden happily.
As I stated earlier, my daughter was born on January 1, 2016 at 12:14am. My wife’s birthday is actually December 31 and we really thought they were going to share the same birthday. Little Zoey Marie Kelley had different plans. Before you ask, no we didn’t get a tax credit for our 2015 taxes because it was 14 minutes after midnight and no she wasn’t the first baby born in Charlotte so we didn’t get any cool free stuff for that either and yes I’m still bitter two years later.
With that said, I was insanely glad to become a real dad that day and I instantly fell in love with little Zoey. She was the cutest baby I have ever seen and she made my heart so full of love. My wife and I were extremely fortunate to both have jobs that allowed us to take 3 months off work while we stayed home and bonded with Zoey. It was an incredible time for all three of us and I’m so thankful for that magical experience.
After we returned to work we had to put Zoey in daycare, which was hard to do after staying together for three months straight. My wife and I found that we did not like the daycare routine and it was hard for us to get off work in time to pick up Zoey. Another thing we didn’t love about daycare was the fact that we were basically paying a second mortgage for someone else to watch our child. So after a few months we decided the daycare life was not for us at that time. Since my wife had more earning power, we decided for me to become a stay at home dad.
Until Zoey was born, I had never changed a single diaper. I’m proud to say I changed Zoey’s first diaper ever in the hospital under the supervision of an RN. I’m not sure if I had even held a baby until my nephew was born and here I was facing a whole new lifestyle of being the primary caregiver for my baby daughter. This was a big decision for us but ultimately we knew we were making the right decision for all three of us.
Me being home immediately reduced our stress levels. No more getting bottles ready the night before and making labels with dates for the milk. No more labeling stacks of diapers and carrying them in while carrying in a car seat and juggling a tiny baby. No more renewing the monthly permission slip to use diaper cream on Zoey. No more rushing off to work and rushing back to daycare. No more second mortgage. No more stress at all… except that now I am completely, one hundred percent responsible for my child’s well-being!
I am happy to say that everything went well, even in the early days. I definitely felt like a fish out of water at times. It’s nerve-wracking being solely responsible for such a tiny human. My mom and stepdad called me Bruno growing up because I was like a bull in a china shop. I was notorious for accidentally breaking things. The first time I held my nephew I looked like Frankenstein’s monster. I was so rigid and wouldn’t move my body at all. I remember feeling like Zoey was so fragile and I always felt like I had to be super gentle.
Even though things went great with me being a stay at home dad in Charlotte, Lisa and I didn’t get much time to just be a couple. Our family lived in Tennessee and as time went on, we realized we needed some help, and we wanted Zoey to grow up knowing her family. We are very protective of Zoey and hated the thoughts of a stranger, even one with a thousand references, watching Zoey. So after a year of being parents in Charlotte, NC, we decided to move back home to East Tennessee.
Some parts of the transition back home have been rough, however, we are pleased to be around our life long friends and family. Morristown and Charlotte are very different places and in a lot of ways we are still getting re-acclimated to our home town. It’s interesting what it felt like growing up here versus how it feels raising a daughter here. While both places come with their own unique challenges, the one thing that remains the same is that I have to be the best dad I can be and help Zoey navigate this world.
If you had told me in high school that I would be a 34 year old stay at home dad to a daughter, I would have thought you had lost your mind. Fast forward to 2018 and here I am, just an average dude who spends his days changing diapers, grocery shopping, scheduling play dates, doing dishes and laundry and taking care of three dogs. Even though this is not where I thought I’d be at 34, I feel so lucky to have this time with my daughter. I wouldn’t change it for anything. I want my daughter to know without a shadow of a doubt that I’m here for her and I always have her back in life.
Like I said, this whole experience has been a roller coaster and I expect nothing less for the rest of my life. So far I’ve been in an OR for the first time, watched a C-section, held my daughter for the first time, lived in the land of diapers, become a stay at home dad, watched Zoey learn to walk, watched her learn to talk, and we are only 2 years into this story. I’m still just as excited and nervous as ever. I know there are so many more firsts ahead of me and I have no idea how to handle it all, but it will be a crazy adventure and I look forward to the challenges. So let’s get this blogging thing started. I look forward to sharing this adventure with you.
I may not be the best dad in the world, but I can still be a SUPERishDAD…