Stereotypically, dads aren't big talkers. Moms build communities with other moms to use as sounding boards and ask their burning questions about applying to preschools and how much wine it's OK to drink when you're breastfeeding. But dads don't do it as much. Luckily there are three new books out that give dads - raising kids of any age - others to commiserate with.
"When I First Held You" by Brian Gresko
Twenty-two well-respected writers talk about fatherhood at different stages and how it has transformed them. Through poignant and at times funny essays, the fathers write about the surprises becoming a dad brings - both good and bad. What is it like to first hold your newborn? Or what does it feel like when you disappoint your son for the first time? These dads don't hold back.
Lev Grossman writes about the frustrations of having to put his career on hold when he became a dad, only to find his writing changed for the better when he returned to it. David Bezmozgis writes about how his daughter's birth made him think about his father's death in a new way. And Alexi Zentner recalls just the sheer exhaustion that comes with being a new dad. Whether you're currently raising a newborn or an almost-adult, you'll feel a sense of community with these dads.
"Stories of Fatherhood" by Diana Secker Tesdell
If you favor the time and tested literary greats, "Stories of Fatherhood" belongs on your bookshelf. Diana Secker Tesdell compiled some of literature's best tales about dads, written by authors such as D.H. Lawrence, Edith Wharton and Katherine Mansfield. That's right, plenty of women have written poignant scenes taking place between fathers and their offspring. But of course, so have men.
There's a sad, touching story about Christmas written by Vladimir Nabokov, James Joyce's short story "A Little Cloud" is about a man who still does not feel complete, even after having a son, and Franz Kafka's "The Judgement" explores the complex relationship between a man and his father. Not all of the stories compiled are "feel good" reads, but they prove that complicated feelings about parenthood are not a side effect of modern life.
"Mommy Man: How I went from Mind-Mannered Geek To Gay Superdad" by Jerry Mahoney
Even in a progressivemetropolis, being a gay dad - or trying to become one - can make you feel like you're the only one who has ever gone through it, ever. Blogger Jerry Mahoney's new book is about his journey into parenthood with his partner. Through humor and honesty, he reveals how they debated adoption versus their ultimate decision to use a surrogate, and then freaked out the entire nine months of the pregnancy. If you're a gay parent who has dealt with homophobic strangers, a startled family or wondering how to explain your modern family to your kid, this book is for you.
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