The Casual Father: “Surely Google will have all the answers...”

Michael Steward

Michael Steward - Credit: Archant

With the wealth of information available on the internet these days, is it any wonder that more and more frequently I find myself turning to the great world wide web for advice.

For example, how to best poach an egg is a search that resulted in quite a satisfying breakfast for all concerned a few weeks ago.

Life through net guidance isn’t all plain sailing though is it? Despite the reams and reams of methodology on how to fit a curtain rail to a lath and plaster wall, this weekend’s experience ended with three trips to B&Q, an angry pregnant wife, and a whole lot of swearing in-between.

DIY mishaps aside, you can at least find answers to most of life’s pertinent questions on the web.

Which brings me to my next search, a generalised one worder directed at my impending life change, which, with a bit of luck, should occur within the next three weeks; fatherhood.

The hardest job in the world? Nonsense, Google will surely have all the answers and to be honest it can’t be any worse than some of the contradictory, confusing and frankly unhelpful real-life advice I have already received.

Be strict – but not that strict. Let the baby cry – never let a baby cry. Don’t let them sleep in the car seat – get them to sleep anywhere you can, etc etc.

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I have no problem in taking people’s advice, I just wish that some of it would actually match up. So what does the all-knowing internet know about being a dad?

Well, not that much as it happens. The first two hits attempt to flog me two books: one is entitled Fatherhood: The Truth, the other Fatherhood: Evolution and Paternal Behaviour. There isn’t one called Fatherhood: How to wing it, or Fatherhood: Dealing with know-it-all’s unfortunately, otherwise I would have invested.

The next few links are fatherhood organisations, offering support and literature committed to father involvement. I would have loved to read some of it, but I soon click off when I am asked to subscribe or donate. Fatherhood spam emails? No thanks.

There are news stories about celebrities discussing their thoughts on the subject. Louis Tomlinson, the 23-year-old from One Direction breaks his silence to the Daily Mail and I learn that “He’s buzzing”, and Owen Daniels, from American football team the Denver Broncos says it’s hard leaving his son when he goes on away trips. I’m ashamed to say I read both articles in full.

It was there that I ended my internet quest for fatherhood knowledge for the evening, not out of choice, but the curtain rail fell down.

My advice to impending fathers – don’t get bogged down with what other people say, and get a professional to do up your nursery.