It's working for Kenneth Kellogg
"I commuted back and forth to do this gig and just to see him for a couple hours each night. I was dead tired, but it was so worth it.”
Kenneth Kellogg knew he and his wife had a unique situation. Both opera singers, they were in performances and had to come up with a creative child care arrangement once their son, Jayden, was born.
“It was a little terrifying, I didn’t know what it was like to be a dad,” said Kenneth, who stayed home with Jayden when his wife, Megan was at rehearsal, and then traded off when his rehearsals were scheduled. But since Megan was breastfeeding, and breastfeeding was an instant soother for their son, Kenneth had to find his own ways to connect with the baby.
“I felt a little inadequate that I didn’t have that connection with him,” Kenneth said. “I had all the tools and all the love I could possibly give this kid. I just had to find my ways of giving it to him,” he said. “[Jayden] got to the point that he understood that I’m with mom, or I’m with dad. He figured it out faster than we did.”
Kenneth also had to make some career adjustments to accommodate his new lifestyle. He had been scheduled to start a gig on Jayden’s due date, but called the opera company and went through a process of finding someone else. When Jayden was young, he landed a job in Charlottesville, a two-hour commute from their home in Bethesda, MD.
“I commuted back and forth from Charlottesville to do this gig and just to see him for a couple hours each night. It seems like a lot now, but there was no way I wasn’t going to do that. I was dead tired, but it was so worth it. I was doing Children’s opera too, so it gave so much more meaning to it.”
The two opera singers credit their childcare provider with helping them make it work. When they both landed roles in Carmen — Kenneth as a principal and Megan in the chorus — they found a neighbor willing to watch Jayden who gave them the peace of mind to be away for rehearsals.
Kenneth credits his sense of humor with helping him make things work as a new dad. “I started this blog about my own experience being a first time dad, New Dad Chronicles. I think for me it helps to realize that the most important job I have in life right now is raising this kid. I’m learning as much as he is learning. This is pretty much a conversation between two people, just one of them can’t talk,” he said. “It takes a while to figure out the body language and being in tune with what is going on. Luckily I can control my own stress level and he can’t at this point.”