Books on EveryDad's Shelf

Every dad should read up.  It's what we do best.  We don't impulse by.  Quite the opposite, really.  We over-research Consumer Reports, CNET, and Discussion Boards to the point of inertia over sometimes the simplest of purchases.  So here are some books every dad should think of having on his shelf about parenting.

The EveryDad was appalled at how few tomes there are out there for prospective daddies.  Nearly every book on babies is colored in remarkably pink hues, and in a way this is all well and good.  After all, every mom goes through a lot in dealing with pregnancy and everything that goes along with it.  But the fact that there were so few speaks to how little interest there is amongst dads to do their own reading.  Every dad should do his part to be ready for the baby and every man needs guidance when transitioning to every dad, so here are some suggestions.

Here are some that every dad should like:

  • Be Prepared: A Practical Handbook for New Dads.  This one looks and reads like a Boy Scout manual.  In a good way.  It takes a tongue-and-cheek approach to explaining the basics of pregnancy and the first couple of years of a baby's life in a practical kind of way (most of the emphasis is on the most-baffling first year of having a baby).  It's not too preachy nor is it too prescriptive.  After all, there's a certain amount of things that every dad just needs to figure out on his own.  But it does do a lot of simple explaining like, "Here are some tips for how to figure out what your baby might want when he cries this way," and "Here's a step-by-step, illustrated guide for how to swaddle a baby."  If you're a bit intimidated by babies as many dads are (rookie and veteran alike) or if you just want some tips, this is a good read.  Also a good gift for rookie dads.
  • Mack Daddy: Mastering Fatherhood without Losing Your Style, Your Cool, or Your Mind.  This one is a little more preachy, particularly near the end when the author gets out of the first year of a new kid's life and goes into school years.  But, it's a funny read and has a lot of practical advice.  What I liked most about it was that the general tone of the book was, "You can do this.  You can do this well.  You can do this without losing who you once were.  You can manage to avoid being that guy."  He borders on the crass which for every dad is either refreshing or repugnant.  It's a short read and a good one.
  • Any book on childbirth that every mom is reading, go ahead and dive on in.  Be a part of the experience.  She'll love you even more for it.
As a note, I didn't particularly enjoy any of the "What to Expect" books.  They came off as a list of "ways your baby could be seriously screwed up" and "why your wife will never be the same."  Anyway, they were more frightening than anything else and even depressing.  

On just being a dad, there's a lot more to choose from, fortunately.  Most are fairly preachy so go with what feels right for you and your family.  The EveryDad slants conservative and my choices reflect that.  Here are some that have been great for me:
  • Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know and Boys Should be Boys: 7 Secrets for Raising Healthy Sons, both by Meg Meeker.  Dr. Meeker comes from a Catholic background and is a pediatrician/pediatric psychologist.  Most of her advice doesn't come in the form of clinical-type discussions but anecdotes about her practice.  Strong Fathers in particular has some rather jarring stories of girls who basically got the shaft by their dads and ended up needing a lot of help because of it.  Likewise, there are ample stories of little things that dads can do to be a strong influence in their girls' lives.  Every dad needs all the help he can get in figuring out the psychology of the women in his life.  This does a good job.