Jamie Thingelstad's personal website

Reading for Dad's to be

I’ve picked up and received a number of books for men who are about to be a dad. I’m pretty amazed at how bad in general these books are. The brilliant advice in these books seem to assume the kind of disconnected, emotionless father figure one can only imagine might have existed. Here’s an example. The brilliant advice contained in one book for expectant fathers included a recommendation to call your wife when you are on a business trip. She may feel lonely and you should let her know you are thinking of her. Huh? I’m only supposed to do this when she’s pregnant? Please… you call your wife when you travel, period.

The other thing I’ve noticed is that these are not really books. It seems when people write for the father-to-be it’s always a list. 101 things you never knew about babies. 57 things you can do to make your wife happy. Top 10 reasons you will be in the dog house. It’s almost as if the publishers of these books assume that men cannot actually read paragraphs and chapters. Our minds can’t possibly follow a single train of thought for more than a paragraph or two.

Luckily, the Internet and specifically blogs come to the rescue of us dads-to-be. Daddy Types is a good blog and links to a lot of other resources. You can quickly find a number of different blogs that cater to the specific kind of thing you are looking for. Including ones you hope to never care about, like Laid-Off Dad. I’ve also went back to the well and am still trying to find some good books. I know there are some out there.

There are some notable exemptions. The Baby Owner’s Manual is a good book for dad’s even though it violates many of the rules above. Somehow I don’t feel like I’m being treated like an idiot when reading it.


  1. Jamie I made the mistake of reading a few parenting books before Sierra was born. The only person that is qualified to write a book on being a father to ‘your’ child is you. Take care.

  2. Jamie,

    I couldn’t agree more with your assessment of the sad state of father-centric books. Most of them make some pretty unbelievable assumptions about the role guys play in their families, and that we’re inherently less capable/wanting/willing in the parenting arena.

    While I’m on the subject, you’ll probably think I’m a total conspiratorial nutbag (if you didn’t already?), but go to a book store sometime and try to find as many children’s books with positive father figures in them. I *dare* you to try and find more than a handful or two. Most children’s books that I’ve seen, and we’ve got a literal library at our house, either have no explicit parents in the story, or just a mother in the story. If there’s a mention of the father, it’s usually from either a cameo appearance after he gets home from work or from a disciplinary perspective.

    Good luck – it’s a wonderful journey, and it really sounds like you and Tammy are enjoying the ride so far.

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