Reading parenting books is a bit of a rite of passage for new dads. You’ve spent your evenings up to this point engaged in much more enjoyable activities, your hard work has paid off and, suddenly, you have a lot more free-time on your hands. Now it’s time to knuckle down to some proper research.
But where to get a decent parenting book and who to trust? You search Amazon for 5star ratings, you ask your friends who already have kids, maybe your own parents give you their tattered and torn copy of “How to raise a child in 1980”. (See my previous recollections about being tied to the doorknob as a toddler!)
We opted to spend pregnancy reading three books. One from the right of arc, one from the left and one sensible middle choice. I say WE read them. My wife read all three, I got about 20 pages into two of them and gave up.
Now when my friends have come to me and asked:
“Mad Dad Skillz, you are a world famous successful Dad Blogger (I’m paraphrasing), what book should I get to prepare me for the rest of my life as a father?!”
My response has always been the same:
“Forget that! Let’s go to the pub, you buy me drinks and I’ll tell you everything you need to know!”
My reasoning for this is twofold:
A) It’s a reason for me to go to the pub and, as a Dad, I apparently need a REASON to go to the pub now. This one I can sell to my wife as entirely altruistic.
B) No one book can tell you how to be a good parent. No full understanding of biology is going to prepare you entirely for watching your lady in labour or the tiredness that follows.
All anyone can do is tell you what it was like for them, what they wish they’d known beforehand, and what they’d do if it happened again.
Even then your experience of pregnancy, birth, and fatherhood is likely to be vastly different!
The real beauty of Lee Price’s “The Goodfather” is that it reads exactly like he’s sitting across the table from you. A few pints deep, you’ve said “tell me everything” and he hasn’t stopped talking since.
He’s delighted to be telling his story, he’s a Dad who is riding that wave of New Dad pride and wants you to share how euphoric it is. He is excitedly gesticulating about the things that went well and then giving you the sage, friendly, warning about the things that didn’t. He’s interrupting himself with a tid-bit of advice and jumping around as each hilarious memory comes flooding back to him.
I’ve been “That Guy” with a number of friends, but the problem with the model of “parenting advice in the pub” is that the soon-to- be dad is rarely writing it down and, when you wake up the next morning, neither of you can quite remember how you got home, let alone what to pack in the Delivery Room bag!
Lee’s “The GoodFather” is part diary that documents his experience, part crash course in parenting basics, and part reference material.
He isn’t preaching, he isn’t trying to turn you into a midwife; he is simply saying “this worked for me, this didn’t, see what you think, beware of this pitfall”.
Peppered throughout the book are Cheat Sheets, so you can impress people with your technical knowledge
Daddy Lingo for help with the new language they speak on Planet Pregnancy,
and Real Parent Quotes detailing the honest feelings of real parents. These people aren’t ‘Supermums’ or ‘Do it All Dads’, just normal people who have found the experience challenging, wonderful, and exhausting in equal measure. Their quotes are a real strong point as they show the great variety of experience us parents go through.
Some of these parents you will relate to, some you’ll be glad you don’t, and some you won’t realise you’ll relate to until years from now.
I have a confession to make at this stage. I’m a very slow reader. Two kids and a full-time job – when I was asked to review this book I was concerned they would want the review finished within the next 12 months!
Au contraire, I read it cover to cover in one night. I lay on the sofa thinking I’d start it to see what it was like and before bedtime I had consumed all 168 pages, highlighted quotes and driven my wife mad by reading out anecdotes that perfectly summed up our experience.
Throughout, I was trying to work out why I was so engrossed by a book detailing information I felt I already knew. As I approached the climactic final chapter, “The Birth”, I realised it was because I wasn’t reading a parenting book, I was reading a novel.
I was reading “Lee and Katie go on an adventure to the delivery room”. I’d followed them from the “congratulations” phone call, through the morning sickness and maternity clothing shopping debacles to the final “I think it’s happening” conclusion.
Truth be told I was invested in the characters and keen to see how the story finished!
Why this is better than other Dad Books
Where Lee succeeds, and other Dad Books have failed (I believe), is that he is communicating with those of us who are delighted to be parents and reveling in the challenge of being good fathers. I’ve read too many books where the father is cast as a lager swilling man-child who was unaware of the consequences of his nocturnal actions and terrified by the idea of “responsibility”. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve mentioned the pub many times in this article and Lee swears and makes risque jokes throughout the book. However, the enduring image of Lee is of someone genuinely in love with his wife, delighted to be sharing the parenting adventure with her, and wholeheartedly committed to being a good man and a good father.
At the end of the “The GoodFather” you will put it down with the same warm fuzzy feeling you get when walking home from the pub with your mate after THE chat; the feeling that everything is going to be OK and, more than that, it’s going to be fun!
Lee Price’s “The GoodFather” is available now from all good bookstores and Amazon for the bargain RRP of £9.99
I haven’t received any payment for this review although the reason I got an advance review copy is because Lee reached out and asked to feature me in the book. Have fun trying to guess which Real Parent Quote is mine!