At Dadsnet, we are here to support you at all stages of the parenting journey. But some soon-to-be-dads don’t find out about us straight away and can feel lost when they are awaiting the birth of their first child. This is the situation Tom Kreffer faced and he found a unique way of dealing with his thoughts, feelings and fears.
As he releases his third book on parenting, Tom told his story to us. Keep reading to find out how a nervous new dad became an author.
The story behind Tom’s Adventures In Dadding book series
My partner and I experienced complications with fertility. I’d even resigned myself to the possibility of not becoming a parent. At least not without help from science (IVF).
That’s why I was so shocked when we fell pregnant. I couldn’t believe it. I sat down and wrote in my journal, describing what it was like to discover I was to become a daddy and what that meant to me.
Catching the writing bug
I wrote in my journal the next day and the day after that. After a week or so, I realised I had a lot to say about pregnancy from a male perspective, so I vowed to continue writing for the duration of my partner’s pregnancy.
I struggled to find pregnancy books that delved into what it’s like for a man to prepare for the emotional transition of becoming a parent. Sure, I found plenty of resources to help me buy and install a car seat. But I needed more.
My apprehension and anxiety about impending fatherhood came about from underestimating how big a deal the whole thing is. And that’s what I did, even though it’s not lost on me how obvious that statement is.
All my friends had kids, and society expects us all to have them at some point, so I just assumed that it would be an option if I wanted it and that it was no big deal. I was wrong on both counts.
Another mistake I made was thinking that pregnancy is a journey only women make. Not true.
So, I kept writing. It helped me make some sense of what was happening. And then at some point, I realised I was inadvertently writing a book, and I began to wonder if my story would be valuable to other soon-to-be first-time parents.
It turns out I did have something of value to offer. Dear Dory: Journal of a Soon-to-be First-time Dad came out in November 2020. It captures everything about my pregnancy experience as I psychologically prepared for the arrival of a small human – one I would be partly responsible for keeping alive.
When my son, Arlo, was born, I saw no reason to stop journaling, so I wrote Dear Arlo: Adventures in Dadding, my second book, which covers the first year of parenthood.
And now I’m back with a third book, Toddler Inc. – tackling that famous stage of childhood that all parents remember, and not always fondly.
Journaling is an incredible format for telling a story. It’s enabled me to cover many aspects of parenthood in a way you never see in other non-fiction parenting books.
My rule is always to be honest, even if that puts me in a bad light. I figured if I maintained 100 per cent honesty, there would be a lot for readers to relate to.
Toddler Inc. is the strongest of the series so far. It’s the first book where I felt like a legitimate author when writing it and not some hack playing dress-up in the auditorium wings.
What Tom learnt from parenting a toddler
Parenting a toddler means you spend your days being tired and exhausted. But you get these moments that punctuate the tiredness; these moments of wonder at watching your toddler explore their surroundings, trying to make sense of these things called life and planet Earth. It’s an incredible thing to witness.
And then there are the tantrums and the outrage as your toddler complains about the injustice of an evil parent who thinks it’s acceptable to give them a broken cracker instead of a full one.
Every decision you make is like cutting a wire that’s hooked up to a bomb. You never know which wire to cut and whether the bomb is going to go off or not. It’s tricky terrain to navigate.
My coping mechanism is to write about my experiences in the hope that other parents get something useful out of them, even if it’s only a laugh at my expense.
So if you’re a parent who’s having a difficult time of life with your kids, maybe Toddler Inc. will brighten up your day – at least until you have to go and stock up on snacks!