They Make The Mistakes So You Don't Have To: DadLabs

As a new father ten years ago I underestimated a number of finer points involved in the pregnancy and birth of a child: I had a habit of putting diapers on backwards (diaper dyslexia), my second son required forceps in order to be pulled out of his mother (She’s four-foot something, and I almost threw up seeing those things jammed way up in her.), and I went to the wrong entrance at the hospital when number three came along. (The main entry was closed for repairs, and momma delivered fifteen minutes after getting into bed. Whew!) My point being, I would’ve been a prime candidate for the book DadLabs: Guide to Fatherhood.

Sure there were hundreds of other titles out their like the What to Expect series, but they contained a laborious (pun unintended) amount of information and were geared to mothers. (Every time it said “you” in conjunction with body secretions I became squeamish.) DadLabs is quite the opposite in this respect. Written by four fathers, Clay Nichols, Brad Powell, Troy Lanier and Owen Egerton, the book gets right to the point and targets men as the primary audience. It’s all about pregnancy and babies for a real man’s man complete with beer, cussing and humor – lots of humor. (My personal favorites were the “Dad Rants.”)

Even though DadLabs is formatted in a guy-friendly package with short paragraphs, diagrams and bullet points, it does not gloss over subject matter. The content thoroughly covers everything involved in the birth of a child from the pregnancy test to the baby’s developmental milestones over the first year. And don’t misinterpret the book’s slapstick approach; these dads were not afraid to tackle sobering issues like medical complications and post-partum depression. Significant others will appreciate that the writers also educated men as to the mother’s feelings through the entire process. (That one of the guys suited up as “Prego-man” wearing an empathy belly and drinking Ipecac for twenty-four hours speaks volumes.)

The mantra for DadLabs is, “We screwed up so you don’t have to,” and they continue to educate fathers on their website where they share additional tips through articles and videos. But one of the best things about both the book and their site pertains to their timeliness. I may have burped my three boys after feedings and rocked them to sleep, but I still fell into the Dad 1.0 category – involved yet clueless. Today, however, fathers are even more active in child-care duties, especially those who, for one reason or another, are stay-at-home dads. In this context, DadLabs is perfect in upgrading these fathers to the Dad 2.0 level.

DadLabs is a fun read. It made me laugh; it made me think, and it made me wonder how I didn’t injure or maim my own children as a young father.

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