When I started Playground Dad back in 2008, I did it for a very functional reason. At the time, my wife was a nurse and she worked most weekends. We had young daughters in the San Francisco Bay Area and I was always looking for fun things to do with them.
During these Saturdays and Sundays that my wife was working at the hospital, I learned two things:
1. Trying to multitask during time with the kids is a fool’s game.
There is no species on the universe that can sniff out BS better than little kids. Whenever I was home with kids on those weekend afternoons and I was trying to get something else done – half engaging with my kids and half sending an email or reading something on my phone – I would fail. I would end up feeling resentment towards my wife and kids, while not getting any of the other stuff done.
I learned some key lessons during these weekends when my wife was working at the hospital:
If I don’t have my business together, that’s not my kids fault. They didn’t procrastinate on any projects. They didn’t undercharge a client for work. They didn’t spend an hour on Facebook during the week when they should have been working.
So I actually got organized and made better business choices so that I was free to go all in with my kids and make the most of our time together.
It was counterintuitive to me at first, but it created a beautiful cycle: The more I genuinely focused on family, the more it actually helped my career. The smarter I worked, the more I was able to build better relationships with my kids.
When I wasn’t half-assing with my kids’ time, our relationships grew stronger and I wanted to spend more and more real time with them – that created a discipline during the work day to put systems in place so that when I was home, I was home. And guess what? Better work was getting done. I was amazed how that worked.
I learned another thing…
2. There were lots of dads out there who felt like I did. They valued their work and career but they also wanted to make sure they were a great presence in their kids’ lives.
Through connecting with these other dads and sharing our stories, we all shared some great insight and learned that we can do both. We can be great at our careers and accomplish those professional goals and we can be the great, involved dads that we need to be.
That’s where Playground Dad aims to help. We want to be a resource for technology products, events, stories and advice that helps dads find balance. Let’s use the tools we have access to and make sure we’re not just showing up, but that we’re spending better time.