Books I wish I'd read sooner. . . .
Yes, I've read these, and yes, I think that they're essential books, each and every one of them. By clicking on a book title, you are magically transported to Amazon.com and ordering is a breeze. Yes, it's a commercial world, and yes, I get a commision (an itty-bitty one), but it isn't added to your price ... it comes out of their profit margin. Please feel free to do a little shopping while you're there. It's an easy way to help support this web site. Heck, if you really want to help, bookmark this page and use it as your entry point to Amazon all the time! Regardless of where you get these though, I do believe in the books listed below. They're suitable for yourself or as a gift for a single parent you know.
- Cook like a Mother! Clean like a Pro! The Single Dad's Guide to cooking and cleaning. Peter Wright is on a roll! I could say a lot about this book; things like, I laughed my butt off, the information was solid, he considered spelling Mother differently ... but I won't (past that, I guess). I'll give you two quotes from his book I want to provide you with the tricks and tools to either pull your own weight in the arena of cooking and cleaning or learn to be self-sufficient so you won't have to rely on the first gal that comes along with a nice set of casserole dishes -- and God knows how tempting that will be. This is from the Foreward! Nice start, eh? Another priceless observation covers cookware: He said, Most guys would be happy with cookware they find at a garage sale, or handed down from relatives or friends. Bad idea. First of all, any protective coating will be a distant memory. Which means not only will things taste a little crappier than they should, they'll stick, and then make it difficult to clean. Has this guy got a handle on priorities or what? He has touched on things it took me years to learn the hard way. It's a keeper.
Hatches the Egg (Dr. Seuss): How does an elephant hatch an egg? My mother gave this to me as a gift not long after I became a single dad and it immediately became one of my kids' favorites. Although the concept itself is a little sad, the story is fun!. The kids were confused by their mom's lack of involvement in
their lives. Who wouldn't be? This story let them know they weren't the only ones living without a mom. You should have seen the look on my son's face when we read this book together the first time. At first his face clouded with intense concentration, then a sad, relieved smile came: "The bird left her egg just like mom left us, didn't she?" Heavy stuff. It's cruel for us to pretend that everything's okay when the child knows damn well it isn't. That's where craziness comes from. This book, for us, was a gentle way of getting that point across without bashing the uninvolved mother. Possibly the most supportive story a single dad's family (including the dad!) can read. To quote from the story, "I meant what I said and I said what I meant .... a elephant's faithful one hundred percent."
of Cooking (Irma S. Rombauer): Look, I'm a guy, all right? When I need answers for something, I want to be able to look them up someplace. Here's an example: I like roasts. Pork, Beef, whatever. . .I like 'em. They're real "no-brainers" to cook (if you've got a meat thermometer) and you can make sandwiches with
the meat, and the house smells good, et cetera. My problem is that I can never remember how long and how hot to cook the darn things. The solution? The encyclopeadia:The Joy of Cooking. Soft boil an egg? Roast a
chicken? Make bread? Kosher a rabbit? It's all there.
Spock's Baby and Child Care (Benjamin Spock, MD, et al.): This is "The Book" when it comes to little kid care. I got an email a bit ago from a man that wanted advice on potty-training his three year-old son (I don't give advice, by the way). I recommended this book to him in spite of my "no advice" policy. What do you do about a kid's fever? What about teething? There are a million questions that come up about kids. This is the next best thing to being able to call your mom for answers in the middle of the night.
- Rebuilding: When Your Relationship Ends (Dr. Bruce Fisher): I've intentionally stayed away from examining the "divorce experience" here at the Lighthouse for a variety of reasons ... however ... I became a single father through divorce. I'm gonna touch bases with "reality" here, just this once, because I believe there are people (dads and moms) that need to read this book. Learning to survive a divorce? This is the best book I've read on the subject. After I'd read it, I learned that many of the post-divorce people I knew swore by the book as well. The main focus here is learning from the past and avoiding the mistakes we made before. It's written in a very warm and supportive style, which makes a difficult subject lots easier to digest. Get it. Borrow it from a library or a friend, buy it, visit it at a book store while you're having coffee for a few days, but read it.
- Small Town Odds (Jason Headley): I'd never considered the fate of the unintentional father, but you know what? I should have ... because they're dads, too (if they're doing their job right).
I can't remember ever having read a story that has so accurately portrayed the loving relationship between a father and a young daughter. This story is about a non-custodial dad, but I think it's an excellent example of how split parenting can, and should, work. The fact that the book is thoughtful while being screamingly funny is a huge bonus, too. With writing like this, the author is bound to become a best seller. Enjoy this book now, and when it becomes the smash-hit movie it undoubtedly will, you can tell your friends, "Oh, I've read the book and it's fantastic!". My hat's off to Jason for this one and I'll be eagerly awaiting his next story. Well done!
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