2022 year in review
This post is more for me than you.
To say 2022 was the most life-changing year of my life would be an understatement. This was the year I became a father, and it changed everything. My view of the world, how I see work, my time, and the energy I have to give. Parenthood is exhausting, messy, and magical all at once. The highs are higher, and the lows are lower. It is like riding a rollercoaster.
The start of the year
My son Banks Lambert was born the first week of January. It was a bumpy start. TL;DR: Despite our precautions, my wife and I both got Covid at the height of Omicron, Ali, my wife, had to deliver in a quarantined room, and she did this at the peak of her Covid symptoms. Everything about the delivery fell to pieces, and we are still processing that trauma today. Most people describe the birth of their child as the best day of their lives. For me, it was my worst. I came to the brink of losing my wife and my son. I have never felt fear as deep and strong as I did that day.
But we made it through. My love and admiration for my wife grew tenfold. We had a 5-day hospital stay, expecting 2, but Ali and Banks got the needed care.
Nothing can prepare you for the exhaustion of caring for a newborn, especially when you and your partner still have Covid. Everyone knows what it is like to be exhausted, but when you have a newborn, you can’t rest. Banks was tiny and had a challenging time eating, so we were all hands on deck trying to feed him around the clock.
Paternal postpartum depression was not on my radar, but it hit me like a ton of bricks. Non-birthing parents are 50% more likely to experience postpartum depression if the birthing mother experiences it. I felt intense waves of guilt. I was so excited to be a father but was so low and didn’t connect with my son immediately. Future parents, if you are reading this, get help, share with your close friends, and don’t carry this alone. It was a rough season, but my wife and I got the help we needed. We made it through the most challenging parts only to come out completely obsessed with our kid and still in love.
Back to work
I had eight weeks of paternity leave, this was amazing, and I would have wanted more if I wasn’t deep in the throngs of postpartum depression. Work was one vector that helped pull me out of my symptoms; even though I was exhausted, it gave me different energy. However, I did make a mistake. I went back to work full-time on a Monday. If you have the privilege and flexibility to control your onboarding time coming back from leave, I recommend starting on a Wednesday or part-time for the first week or 2. The shift from caring for a baby to being a tech employee is disorienting, and my brain needed time to recalibrate.
2021 felt like a slog; our projects were massive boulders. 2022 felt like a sprint; we started pushing those boulders over the cliff. I returned to work, and we started shipping stuff left and right. Our Team Success pillar shipped several things right after I got back:
In the spring, I picked up the work I had left off: leading Webflow’s Page Branching feature. Branching was a massive feature. I paired with one of my favorite PMs, Larry Blyth, to map out a path for Page branching. Our goal was to bring the ability for large teams to collaborate in real-time in a way that made sense from a web development point of view but was also approachable for all users. The other catch, we needed to deliver value to our customers soon; this couldn’t be a year-and-a-half-long project. It was a tightrope to walk.
With research in hand and opinions formed, we started with design discovery and created several prototypes to inform our technical discovery and test with customers. We soon hired my teammate Charlene Foote, and she took over the project and led it to the finish line with a launch at Webflow Conf. It was one of my most fun and challenging projects, and I am so proud of what the team and I created.
Traveling for work again
I have worked remotely for most of my career. Working remotely and never meeting your teammates in real life is challenging. Though Covid is not over, our company opened up its offsite policy. A requirement for attending was a negative covid test and proof of vaccination. Work travel is very different with a newborn and a partner at home. You do feel the burden your partner has to carry when you leave. I don’t know how single parents do it.
That said, I did travel for work again. I traveled to San Diego, Nashville, and San Francisco this year. Three work trips in a year are enough for me, but meeting folks I have been working with for years was so good. For example, I met my then-manager Molly, whom I had worked with for three years.
In the summer, I started contributing design support to help our Developer Ecosystems team. The team was carving a path for building a thriving app marketplace and ecosystem in Webflow and needed extra help. I was between projects and helping onboard a slew of talented new designers. It became clear to design leadership that the Developer Ecosystems team needed dedicated design support. The move made sense. The organization’s needs aligned with my interest, so I transferred teams.
The team is in a completely different (pillar) part of Webflow’s organization. So this shift was beyond changing my focus. It meant a manager change and a new cast of engineers and product partners. I knew some folks, but this was like starting a new job.
I shifted in early September; we hired new leads, so the team is still settling into a rhythm. But I am excited about what we can build for developers this year to help extend Webflow beyond our core capabilities.
Personal projects and things I made
- I started investing in my personal site. Somehow, I wrote 24 blog posts
- I started a silly little newsletter featuring hats I want to buy
- Our annual holiday card (featuring a new cast member, our son)
- Created a Loom of the coolest thing I have ever seen
- I made a bunch of weird avatars and graphics
- A Hacker News Boost for the Arc browser.
- A Windows 95 mock-up of Webflow
- I recreated a David Rose scene from Schitt’s Creek
The most challenging part about being a creator and a parent is finding time to make things. When I get off work, I am on kid and cleaning duty until bedtime. As a parent, your weekends are claimed. You can find time, but it takes discipline and intention.
Rhythms and friendships
Friends are my lifeline as a parent. My friends are amazing, and I love them to pieces. I have a couple of weekly rhythms that keep me connected: Dinner with a community of families every Tuesday night, coffee with 2 of my buddies every Wednesday morning, and game night with a group of friends every Wednesday. These staples made it possible to see friends maintain a weekly social life. Thanks so much to my wife for swapping baby duty with me.
Other personal things
- Our catalytic converter was stolen from our car
- We bought my first brand-new car
- Banks needed a therapy helmet (it had baby sharks on it)
- We ripped up our backyard and poured a new concrete driveway in preparation for a backyard studio office in 2023
- Traveled to Indiana to see family
- Hiked multiple mountains with a baby on my back
- Staycation in Oregon
- We bought a bidet and won’t go back. If you haven’t done this, it is time to stop living a gross life.
But seriously, this year was all about family
I love, love, love being a dad. I love my kid so much! I love my wife, and I couldn’t claim any success in my work or personal projects without her. Life with these 2 is the absolute greatest. Full <3