Before the Boy Wonder was born, when we were predictably naive, excited and terrified about what awaited us, the Duchess had a stack of books by her bed about giving birth. One night, I had a rummage through the most modern-looking manual: I fully expected there to be only a small chapter for men and I knew the word ‘father’ would merit only a few direct references in the index. That was fine. What surprised – and angered – me was that the chapter was a preachy, patronising, poorly-written exercise in persuading the prospective dad to realise he had responsibilities and try to make some kind of contribution. I didn’t need telling. What I needed was some practical advice about what to expect and what I might need to do, in the first week, the first month and thereafter.
Obviously, women contain the necessary biochemistry, equipment and selflessness to ensure the human race continues to survive for another few generations, so the focus should be on their needs and aspirations. But just because we can’t carry a child – although some of us look like we’re giving it a go – a lot of men nowadays recognise our responsibilities and want to get involved. Most of us no longer stumble in from the pub to find out the gender of our new child and many of us do as much as we can to juggle work and family life to the satisfaction of the Machine, our Duchess and the progeny.
So it’s good to see there are some insightful, honest, witty blogs and Twitter feeds from dads going strong – the best of which I’ve added to the blogroll. I’m not sure we’re the type of species to want a Netmums but we do love a few handy tips from time to time. As long as we don’t have to read them in a manual.