DadsWhoChangeDiapers is dead. Long live DadsWhoChangeDiapers…
Life changes. The word turns. Things are always in motion. And some of those things can be great and wonderful, and some of those things can be sad or terrifying. Change, it seems, has taken roost in this household and doesn’t appear to be leaving any time soon.
Almost 9 years ago, my wife and I took our oldest son, fresh little newborn that he was, out for his first trek into the real world. We had been holed up at home for three months because that year there was an outbreak of swine flu and we were advised not to go out. After three months, we were getting cabin fever and craved a ‘normal life’. So, we went to our local Ruby Tuesdays and had dinner. My son blew out his diaper. I decided to give mom a break and change a diaper. They had no changing station. I asked the manager why, and got a nebulous answer and it made me think about the problem at hand. I told them, jokingly, that I was going to compile a list of all the places that DIDN’T have dad-accessible changing stations and they were going to be on the top of the list. The manager and I had a good laugh, and she promised to check with corporate to see what could be done.
A month later, we went back, still no station. Turns out that corporate decided that $300 was too much money to spend on mounting a changing station. So, I decided to start a site. Except to keep it positive instead of negative, I began listing all the places that DID have dad-accessible changing stations. Then, I dived into making custom maps with Googles’ Map API. And soon, I had a functioning prototype.
A month later, I launched this site. I had about thirty locations already mapped out, mostly just the ones in my area. I put the call out, and within a year, I had locations listed in Australia, the UK, Canada, and almost all 50 states here in the US. Things were going swimmingly, but there was a need for an app. So, I looked into an app. And quickly realized that app development was out of my income range. And while I have made enough on this site through sponsored content etc, to pay for the hosting fees, it is far from profitable. This has been a labor of love. A ‘paying it forward’ if you will.
I remember what it was like as a new dad. I remember sitting there just overwhelmed by the newness of it all. In one fell swoop my life was completely different, and it meant a lot of searching and asking etc. to learn the ropes. I had always hoped this endeavor would be a great tool for new dads. I just wanted to give a guy a headstart on something, you know? Give them one less thing to worry about so they could do the things they need to do.
It’s here. And it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon. I’m getting used to it, but it hasn’t helped my anxiety at all. Regarding the website, long story short: The API tools I was using to compile changing station locations has drastically changed, and I cannot afford to pay a monthly fee to keep my map going. The blog will stay. The facebook page will stay, but the interactive map is going bye bye.
I didn’t get as far as I wanted, but I will always look at it as a success. I saw a need. I did something about it. And, if I helped one dad in need, then it has all been worth it.
This is just one minor change in my life. There are many many more, but I won’t bore you with the details. This one is just a little harder to swallow right now, because I’m having to say goodbye to something I have put a lot of time and effort into. Things change. We change. And I know that there’s a horizon chock full of other things I can put my heart and soul into, but for now, I’m a little sad.
Thank you to everyone who ever entered a location into the map. Thank you to everyone who gave me a shout out on national channels any time there was a diaper-related story to be told.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not going to just disappear. I’m going to keep advocating for men to become involved dads. I’m going to keep pushing men to change more diapers. I just won’t be able to give them a physical map to help them find the way.
Thanks guys. It’s been a hell of a ride.