Parenting Books… I’m Drowning!
This weekend passed, I was asked whether I was currently engaged in the joyful act of reading. A lengthy novel perhaps, some emotive prose of years gone by, an insightful biography, or a historical ledger of battles long told? A reasonable question, but one which warranted a sharp and equally reasonable laugh of disdainful irreverence. Yes! Yes I am reading something at the moment. Or, more to the point, some things . Some very, very boring things…
Swinging from my chair, I grab three books instantly, a quick dash upstairs unveils a further three in the nursery and a single hanger-on collecting a layer of top dust on my bedside table. One more in the car, eight on the kindle and a further two on the way. I have books on the go alright. Baby books! And there are millions of them (or 16 and 2 to come, if you aren’t a fan of exaggeration).
You may have had the reasonable notion that I should be more decisive in separating the wheat from the chaff. A well researched purchase is, a good purchase after all. Besides, do I really need to own that many ‘how-to’ guides for keeping baby alive and well? Yes, yes I bloody do. When the alternative is trawling through the drivel that accounts for the categories online reviews, it’s easier just to cut your losses and go all in.
So, I am now entering fatherhood as a highly educated, over prescribed and neurotically attuned parenting pro. Or at least, as far as my knowledge on its literary world is concerned. And what have I learnt of this particular non-fiction niche? Well, there are very good books, very bad books and a mass of well-deserving pulp fodder in-between.
Some stick to the facts, some preach to the choir and some sell for the sole purpose of ensuring that you can claim to have a read at least one parenting book along the way, even if its forward is from a “Loose Woman” (in both TV Talk Show and societal contexts).
In a world of online resources there is something soothing about the written page. I’m not about to march to the luddite drum, but rather to point out that, when it comes to a piece of paper, I can close the page at my own leisure, put the book aside and forget it is there. I am allowed to learn on my own time, as somewhat of the master of my own neatly bound, 9 month destiny. Sure, the parenting apps and pregnancy planning tools are a wonder and we are, no doubt, very fortunate to have them. Whether timing the contractions, counting the kicks or discovering the latest animal, fruit or supermarket perishable, your baby now resembles in size, 21st century tech has provided parents with a previously unimaginable insight into the world of baby.
And therein lies the rub. I don’t want a buzz about baby when news browsing for the Donald’s latest blunder. I simply don’t require a tweet about birth positions when hunting for Pikachu (I don’t play, but always nice to throw in a slightly dated cultural reference, eh? I’m sounding like a Dad already.)
Am I ready to be a practicing midwife, with all the stress, blood and baby bawling that go with it? Not quite. But, I am ready and surprisingly eager to pass judgement on the world of parenting paper work. So, in the coming weeks and months, I plan to bring you reviews of some of my favourite books and detail how I found them to be of particular help to me… an anxious mess.
Anyway, I have to go. My phone is insisting that now is the time to pack my labour bag and double check the birthing plan. After all, how dare I have 5 minutes away from the journey to being the very best Social Anxiety Dad I can possibly be.
Until next time, keep your head up and breathe, breathe, breathe. (Now that’s contextual entendre for you…)