Day 55: The expert and the father

Day 55

Day 55

Read a non-fiction book monthly on a topic you find absorbing and engaging.

The baby’s finally asleep. I hope. I managed to soothe him in the end. My wife is also asleep. I hope. I have an hour, or half an hour, to read something interesting before I fall asleep myself.

The baby’s crying again.

*

My wife has borrowed books about parenting at the library. How to make kids eat their food. How to solve conflicts. How to welcome your third child into the family. How to be a great mother. And one for me: The father of today.

She knows a lot already, of course. She read quite a few books when our first son was born, and quite a few when our second son was born — and she has been a mother for quite a few years now, she’s got some experience.

But it’s good to remind yourself about things anyway. She knows, and I know, that it’s good to listen to your children, and we believe we do — but then we read something about how to listen and realise that perhaps we don’t after all. Books are mirrors. Good books are good mirrors.

But then you have this The father of today, written by an expert. “Many fathers feel they have nothing to say when it comes to raising their children,” the expert says. “Many fathers never read books for their children.” “Many fathers are unable to play with their kids.” “Many fathers don’t know how to behave with children.” “Many fathers think that they never can be as important for their children as their partner is.”

I read a few pages. I skim. I close the book. I close my eyes.

Most fathers I know do this. They play with their kids, they pick them up from kindergarten, they spend time with them at playgrounds, they even change diapers just as often as their wives. Most father I know don’t know why they shouldn’t take responsibility for their kids in this way. Unable to play? Nothing to say when it comes to raising their children? Nonsense.What kind of expert is this?

I open my eyes. the baby’s crying again.

*

The next months I will be the one who tries to get him to sleep. I don’t smell of milk, and I would like to think that it’s easier to fall asleep to a dep male voice. I’ll get up in the middle of the night (whenever my wife wakes me up and asks for help, I have a hard time not sleeping through the night) and walk back and forth, singing random songs, waiting for his eyelids to grow heavy and for his breathing to get deeper.

And playing? And comforting a crying son? Or talking about life, the universe and everything? I’ll do that. All the time.That’s what fathers do

I pick up the book about fathers. I put it down.

There must be better books about fatherhood. But now I must get some sleep.

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