In honor of Father’s Day, we are changing things up for our usual Mother Clucker feature and focusing on an awesome dad. I am thrilled to tell you we’re talking with Ryan Devlin, co-founder of This Bar Saves Lives, actor, new dad, my longtime friend, and all-around cool person.
CluckCluck: Please tell us a little about This Bar Saves Lives and your newly-launched This Kid Saves Lives!
Ryan Devlin: This Bar Saves Lives is a give-back company. We make crazy delicious snack bars, and for each bar sold we donate life-saving food to children around the world. We launched with three single-serve flavors (they’re at Whole Foods, Fresh & Easy, cool hotels and coffee shops, etc.) and then expanded into kids’ bars with This Kid Saves Lives. The kids’ bars are nut-free, gluten-free, packed with 14 essential vitamins and minerals, are non-GMO, and all natural. We wanted to educate and empower kids to help other kids around the world everyday by making a smart snack choice. We call it “Nutrition with a Mission.” This Kid Saves Lives is available at select Target stores right now, and will be up on our website very soon.
CC: We love this. We love the mission, plus two of our littles attend nut-free preschools, so we plan on packing lots of your new bars into lunches and snacks!
But we digress.
What’s it like learning how to parent an infant and launching a company? You are so brave for doing both so close in time! Anything particularly challenging or surprising you want to share?
RD: Haha, not sure about “brave”. Other words come to mind though (crazy? tired?). My first baby was the company. It cooked inside of my brain for about 9 months before me and my partners gave birth to it. And it requires CONSTANT love, support, guidance, and attention. Then came my real baby, which changed EVERYTHING. My and my wife’s hearts exploded into a million pieces and continue to do so every day. It’s just the best. And although having a real baby and a business baby has put new stresses on our time and schedules, it’s also brought new perspective to life. I sweat the small stuff at work far less now than I used to. And I manage to put my phone away for longer periods of time so I can focus on what truly matters.
CC: Having started a business ourselves, we know the co-founder relationship is such an important one. Has becoming a dad changed your relationship with your cofounders?
RD: Since launching our company I’ve had a baby and Ravi and Todd have both gotten engaged. We’re growing up fast! Everyone is super supportive. We have a ridiculously fun office environment, and our give-back mission keeps us motivated and focused on changing lives here and abroad.
CC: Lots of women get asked about work-life balance, but not a lot of men. We tend to believe it’s a challenge all parents face. Is it something you’ve had to deal with? If so, what has been the toughest part for you? Anything that’s worked particularly well that you can share?
RD: Totally agree with your point about the double-standard. Sidebar, one of the best books I’ve read in a long time is Tina Fey’s “Bossypants.” Not only does it shine a poignant (and hilarious) light on double-standards, but it also has some side-splitting chapters on becoming a parent. Highly recommend you read it right now (or, if you’re like me and don’t have time to crack open a book, listen to the audio version when you’re stuck in traffic).
Okay, back to your question. YES it’s hard to balance work and life. For me, for my amazing wife [Editor’s Note: Ryan’s wife is seriously amazing and we hope she will agree to be featured in a future Mother Clucker], and for pretty much every parent I know. But I believe our kiddo will benefit from having parents who are passionate and motivated, as long as we keep our priorities straight. I’m fortunate enough to be able to set my schedule, so I only go to the office three days a week. I still work a full time schedule (or more), but it’s flexible so I can spend quality time with the family, trade off with my wife so she can work, and of course never miss bath time. Also, and I know I’m totally pandering here, CluckCluck really helps get me through my days at the office. My wife or babysitter will post updates and photos so I can feel like I’m part of the action no matter where I’m at. So when I get home I’m already caught up on the day and can just be present in the moment.
CC: Aw, thanks for the shout-out. We love knowing that dads use our app too! That makes our day. OK, please tell us: The best working advice you ever received…
RD: Shoot first, aim later. Overthinking things in a startup can paralyze you into never getting off the ground. Just shoot.
CC: The best parenting advice you ever received…
RD: Don’t read parenting blogs. (this isn’t a parenting blog, right?)
CC: Ha! No, we do not pretend to be parenting experts. We do love babies though. Speaking of which, your baby is pretty little. Do you have any working and/or parenting fail you’re comfortable sharing? Infants are tough!
RD: I’m a perfect parent 😉
CC: Love it. Anything else you want us to know?
RD: I downloaded a mindfulness/meditation app that reminds me, at random times throughout the day, to breathe deeply and notice the world around me. It might sound totally stupid, but I’m telling you that it’s awesome.
CC: Ryan, thank you so much for speaking with us!
And as if he wasn’t cool enough for doing this interview, Ryan cheerfully agreed to give us some of his bars to give away to our readers! If you’d like to win three boxes of grown-up This Bar Saves Lives bars, plus two boxes of This Kid Saves Lives bars, just enter below! There are five different ways to enter; we encourage you to do all five to maximize your changes.
And all should really try the Dark Chocolate Cherry & Sea Salt bars, as FYI. Those have been a staple food of my pregnancy. Yummmmmm.
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