Man vs Bookshelf

Man vs Bookshelf: Expectant Dad

This entry is part 89 of 104 in the series Man vs Bookshelf

I’m going to be a dad.

Weird, huh?

Well timed, too.

I remember being a kid and going to my grandma’s bridge club (Golden Gate was their favourite), telling them I didn’t want to get married (girls are icky), but I did want kids.

I was born 25 days before my dad’s 27th birthday, and I always wanted to be the same age when I had my first kid.

Well, all things being well, my first child will be born around 39 days before my 27th birthday.

Talk about pretty damn close to my target.

I’m excited beyond belief. Happier than I’ve ever been. More frightened, too.

There’s so much to fear. Not whether I’ll be a good dad, or Fay’ll be a good mum. I will, and she will.

No, what scares me is the events beyond our control. My baby girl being born unwell, or worse. Taking her home and her growing sick or having development issues or becoming a Liverpool fan.

Makes me shudder.

My mum tells me it’s stupid to worry about such things, when the odds are so low, and I react with the same disdain as Fay when I say everything will be okay.

Because of course it’ll probably fine. But the bad stuff has to happen to someone and how exactly am I supposed to stop worrying about it?

But, as I’ve said it’s the things I can’t control that scare me. So I try to put such things to one side. Focus instead on the bits I can manage. Shopping for prams and car seats and Manchester United baby grows and reading up on how to cope with a newborn.

That’s what this week’s two books are about, being an expectant father.

The Expectant Dad’s Handbook and The Expectant Dad’s Survival Guide

Right off the bat, you can tell which one is going to be better.

I should say right away that I feel the same about “how to be a dad” books as I do about “how to be a writer books”.

While I am not saying they have no value, I think most of what you need to know you can find online.

Fay has found some brilliant stuff. It’s just a matter of weeding out the sensible mums and dads from those who think their child getting a serious perhaps life-threatening illness is more frightening than the non-chance of their child getting autism from vaccinations.

Easy to do.

I’ve been watching videos. Not so much taking in the advice as wondering if my baby is going to be as cute as that one.

Surely she won’t be as ugly as that one?

Not that I wouldn’t love her if she were a hideous baby.

It’s a case of how much…

But – where was I? – but these books.

Although the tone of each was different, both focused on the basics, and on imparting essential information on impending father’s in a way that is easy to process (cause men are stupid) and that doesn’t require a lot of focus (because men get bored quickly, have short attention spans. We’re basically children).

The information in both was useful to know. Stuff I felt I needed.

The only problem?

Well, it’s like I said before, I had picked up at least 90% of the information already from free resources, and would have learned the rest before the big day whether I read the book or not.

To my mind that means if you don’t get these books as free gifts-which I did-I wouldn’t rush out to buy them. You’re going to be a dad for Christ sake. Save your money for more important things like nappies, cots and Gary Neville cuddly toys (if they exist). Then get researching on the internet, find what you need to find, watch videos, and don’t pay a penny for it.

But if you had to get one?

Of course, some people like to have a book, and there is merit to having everything in one place.

If this is you, you’ll probably want a recommendation of which book you should get.

This is a difficult question.

I preferred the Expectant Dad’s Survival Guide. For a start, the title is better. For a finish, I preferred the tone. It was more informal, and down to Earth. It wasn’t written like a textbook but more of a conversational piece.

Maybe it even swore. That would win me over. Plus there were jokes, and that’s more my bag.

If it’s yours too, then get the survival guide, but if you’re more into straight-laced delivery of your information, go for the Handbook.

Either way, both impart almost all the same bits of information, so you can’t go far wrong.

Good luck.

Next Time

Next we’re moving away from my forthcoming daughter and onto another great love of mine – Manchester united, as we’ll be looking at a Man U biography, an Alex Ferguson biography and the second Alex Ferguson autobiography

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International worst-selling author Mark Ayre has been writing since before he could pick up a pen (somehow). An author of mystery and suspense novels including the James Perry Series of mysteries.

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