LET ME INTRODUCE TO YOU KYLE JOSEPH:
How many kids do you have and what are their ages?
I have one son, age 3.
What does your spouse/partner do?
My wife is a behavioral interventionist for a Pre-k to 2 school.
I became an at-home dad out of necessity. With the high cost and inconsistent quality of daycare we decided the person with the most earning potential would work for income and the other would raise our son full time. I was fortunate enough to do the latter.
What is your best memory of your father?
It’s actually a series of memories. My dad coached each of my baseball teams from t-ball all the way to summer ball in high school. I didn’t realize until recently how many sacrifices he had to make to do that for me. The time that sticks out the most is when my little league team won the league championship and for the first time in my life he told me he was proud of me.
What was the best advice someone gave you to be a better father?
Read read read and stay one stage ahead. The more information you arm yourself with about an upcoming stage the easier it will be to navigate once it arrives. (wish I had heard this sooner than when my son was 2, its made 3 a whole lot more manageable though)
How do others view you as being an At-Home dad?
My wife views me as knight in shining armor because of my ability to tame our beast. My family views me as inadequate because, “women are just better at raising babies, they were built for it.” The moms at all the storytimes we go to view me as an anomaly (I’m guessing, they haven’t yet spoken to me after weeks of going so I cannot confirm or deny).
What have been the biggest challenge(s) for you as an At-Home dad?
Dealing with depression. I’ve written and rewritten this next part about a dozen times…Depression doesn’t happen all at once. Like waves eroding rock it will wear you down so subtly that you don’t realize it’s happening. What made me realize I had a problem is when I started to lose all the joy I had found in parenting. I was becoming a different father than I had known myself to be (lazy, uninterested, and quick to anger). I tried to deal with it on my own but depression is so much bigger than just one person. Finally I broke down and talked to my wife and friends then sought out counseling. I’m a few months in and seeing more and more joy come back into my life everyday. I enjoy being a parent again. So please seek help and don’t think you have to or even should deal with things like this alone.
What was your best moment as a father? What was your scariest?
I secretly hope I haven’t lived my best moment yet. So far though the best moment has got to be what happened earlier today. Lil man found out he can stand up and pee on his own and went to the bathroom without my help. The end of potty training is in sight and I couldn’t be happier about it. The scariest moment happened when he was just over a year old. He found a rogue piece of popcorn on the ground and tried to eat it. He started choking, enough to start turning blue. I don’t remember learning the baby Heimlich, but I do remember applying it perfectly and watching that popcorn come flying out of his mouth and immediately we both started bawling our eyes out and hugging. On second thought, maybe that’s tied for my best moment.
Are there any “Dad Groups” in your area that you participate in?
Kalamazoo Dads! We are the only dads group in the Kalamazoo, MI area and I know there are a few of us in here. We are a small group but always looking for ways to reach more dads so if anyone has some tips please pass them along.
You can find Kyle on Facebook Here