Partening

Life as a Toy Maker Dad: 0-3 months

Four years before I became a dad, I started a toy company for kids. 

In those years prior to fatherhood, I spent most days thinking about kids and parents. As cofounder of Move2Play, that was my job. What do parents need? What do kids love? 

So in a way, when our daughter was born, nothing changed. I still spent most days entrenched in parenthood and making kids happy. But in reality, everything changed… 

I spent so much of that pre-dad time trying to understand the life of a parent - the joys, the frustrations, the ways our company could help - but it wasn’t until I crossed into fatherhood myself that I truly felt the unifying truth… Parenting is hard. 

Parenting is so many adjectives. It's rewarding, terrifying, often maddening and hilarious in the same breath. Plenty of adjectives were likely invented to better describe the emotions of a parent. Boiled down to one, though, parenting is hard. 

My non-parent friends often ask, “How’s dad life? Is it tough changing so many diapers?” A comically naive question. Changing diapers is easy. Especially for the engineer side of my brain. You have a clear problem and a prescribed solution. The diaper is dirty… remove, toss, wipe, wipe, strap (sometimes wrestle) on a new diaper, and that’s that. Now, getting baby to go to bed smoothly, sleep through the night, calm down from a tantrum, eat new foods, socialize and crawl and walk safely… those are hard problems. And all that pales in comparison to the terrifying helplessness the first time they get sick.

However, my next revelation was that the right product can make parenting less hard.

This notion was pretty cool to actually feel first hand. We had founded a company intent on making moving fun and making parenting a little easier. We had worked for years, engaging with parents and kids, with the belief that thoughtful products can make a difference. So that first time I personally felt the benefit of a well designed baby item was weirdly gratifying. 

It wasn’t a Move2Play toy, it was a newborn swaddle. The nurses at the hospital make it look so darn easy with a blanket… but it’s not, especially running on sleepless fumes. We got these velcro swaddle blankets that achieve the same result with a simple pull-and-stick system. It felt like a mini-miracle when they worked so well. The deep well of anxiety slightly quenched with a dribble of confidence. 

Maybe caveman life was simpler. Maybe parents got along just fine without fancy products. Or maybe those first cave drawings were really parents looking for help, a stress relieving blog to benefit the next cave-generation. 

Either way, I’m glad there’s companies working hard to make parenting easier; and I’m more proud than ever that Move2Play is one of them.

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