I’ve never been one to go in for new year’s resolutions: primarily because I’m quite lazy, but also because I like the idea of doing good things on impulse, rather than setting a series of annual challenges which will almost certainly result in despondency by 1st February. At the end of 2012, however, I broke with tradition and wrote myself a list of targets I wanted to achieve during the following 12 months. It read like this:
- Join gym (might be too expensive? If so, go for a run once a week)
- Cook more stuff from scratch (N.B. fresh stuff with veg)
- Write a book?
I’ve utterly failed with Number 1: we’ve now lived in our village for well over two years and I still haven’t unpacked the box with my trainers in. Number 2 has been an ever-so-slight success, if you can count the time I made a really weird vegetable soup with a mixture of parsnips, green beans and parsley. And as for Number 3, well, against all the odds, I’m astonished to say that over a year after setting myself the goal of writing a book, I’ve actually gone and done it.
The question mark surrounding this particular resolution was included because ironically, I thought it would be the least achievable resolution. But over a glass of wine with a publisher friend of mine one evening, I found myself discussing parenting books – specifically, the fact that the only ‘dad books’ I’d ever read all came from the ‘Woah! Your missus is pregnant and you’re going to have a child and now you can’t get bladdered!’ perspective. Pretty tedious, given that most dads-to-be aren’t like that at all. Her response? “You should try writing the book you wish had been around when you were about to become a dad.” So, never one to disobey orders, I did exactly that.
Fast forward on to today, and I’m both surprised and delighted that this is now a reality:
Diary of a Desperate Dad, published by Elliott and Thompson, documents what it’s really like to be a parent to three little people. There are absolutely no expert tips here; after all, I’m blagging my way through this crazy parenting journey just as much as everyone else. And anyway, the idea of ‘parenting experts’ is a slightly dubious one: do you know of anyone who would describe their mum or dad as an ‘expert parent’?
In the book, there’s a chapter on how to prepare for fatherhood, as well as one on what to do when your partner goes into labour. After that, you’ll find a section focusing on the kinds of things you can expect from your newborn in those early days. This isn’t just a book about pregnancy and childbirth, though: there are chapters on The Daily Grind (how do you cope with life now that it’s impossible to go to the toilet on your own, and your shoulder permanently smells of baby sick?), another called I’m Going to Count to Three (what’s the deal with disciplining children?), and then the one my wife is particularly delighted I’ve written: No Sex Please, We’re Parents.
The book is based on this blog – and if you have a few quid to spare you can pre-order it in all the usual places, or read more about it here:
It’s a (hopefully) uplifting, realistic and honest guide to life as a dad by someone who, just like you, is muddling on through, hasn’t had a proper night’s sleep since about 1984, and still can’t get the buggy to steer in the right direction when he’s in a hurry.