It’s a pleasure to welcome Lee Price to Honest Mum…
Before fatherhood engulfed his life, Lee Price was a writer and author – specialising in feature and football writing.
And then he got a real job.
He first realised he could write at the age of 14 when, full of mischief, he submitted a bit of schoolwork written from the perspective of a sperm cell – which was infinitely amusing to his teenage brain.
He no longer has any hobbies – unless you count changing nappies or maniacally chanting nursery rhymes – but enjoys a good sleep. During overnight work trips.
Though not particularly good at very much at all in his adult life, his child-like enthusiasm and energy has at last come in handy in parenthood. Finally, he has someone on his wavelength to relate to.
When not writing smart-arsed, third-person biographies of himself, Lee can be found feigning interest in clothing options for little girls, indulging in quick trips to Tesco as though they are spa breaks, and wildly over-reacting when his newborn daughter shows even the slightest sign of distress.
Although that only usually happens when he’s singing at her. Or she has wind. Similar experiences.
What was your background before writing your book?
Before writing The Goodfather, I was well-rested, less wrinkled and approximately a stone lighter. Work-wise, I was a national journalist for six years, and have written four sports book.
This is my first foray into parenting – both as a book genre and a lifestyle. I’m not sure I’ve proved a success in either!
How has fatherhood made you more creative?
I’ve certainly become more creative in the places that I’ll take a quick snooze – I’ve no shame having a snore on the train in the morning, even if there isn’t a seat.
It’s also opened my eyes up to a whole host of children’s media – TV shows, books, and the mountain of paraphernalia that comes with anything you buy for them (and god knows there’s plenty of that).
Most of it is utter, painful tripe. But some can inspire ideas around communicating more simply – or just smashing the telly up.
Describe your journey and the process of writing a book?
I love writing, particularly about myself. I’m an egomaniac. But putting together an entire book is easier said than done.
This book was a real labour of love – and, no, that’s not a comparison to giving birth. Nothing ever will be.
For The Goodfather, I wanted to produce something that first-time dads – and mums – would relate to, and would find both amusing yet informative.
It’s not an expert’s guide to the scientific specifics, so there weren’t hours of research done in that respect, it’s a real person’s account of what building up to fatherhood is like – how you can feel involved, support your partner and, crucially, bank some brownie points.
How do you overcome self-doubt as a creative?
It’s very difficult to but the rationale I always use is: if a publisher has decided I’m good enough to produce a book for them, then there must be some truth in that.
However, written content is so subjective that there’s always going to be someone who dislikes what you do. You can’t spend your time worrying about that.
I’ve written something that I think parents will enjoy, and I hope they do.
What are your work goals moving forward?
Crikey, at the minute I’m just focused on getting through till 5pm without falling asleep!
But, obviously, I want to progress, I want to be able to provide for my family – but I also want to be there for them.
Flexible working sounds like a business buzzword, but I hope to make it a reality.
Having an evening off my work phone would be a good start.
Any words of wisdom for dads-to-be?
Well, around 35,000 of them in The Goodfather! But here are some starters.
Firstly, you’re going to be given a lot of very stern sounding advice from all corners. The only real thing you need to worry about is what the midwives are saying during labour.
The rest? Opinion. For example, your partner is, likely, going to come under an incredible amount of pressure with regard to breastfeeding.
Yes, breast probably is best – but not if it’s making your other half depressed, putting her through extreme pain, and/or not feeding your newborn sufficiently.
If the best thing to do for your family is to go an alternative route – pumping or formula – then so be it. Honestly, your partner and baby’s happiness and health is so much more important than societal pressures.
Also, don’t be old fashioned – be there for the birth, so you can appreciate truly how amazing your partner is. But be prepared for it.
When your missus gets tired or hits a brick wall – which is quite likely – she’s going to need you to help push her on. You’ll be no good if you’ve not eaten or drunk anything, and are pretty shattered yourself.
You both need to fuel yourselves smartly that day, almost as though you’re running a marathon.
Maternity shopping is flipping nightmare, particularly if you’ve planned for a quick in-and-out job before swinging by the new burger bar. I’d set up for a night of online shopping with a takeaway instead – and prepare for most of the clothes, bar umpteen pairs of tights, to be returned.
My book, The Goodfather, is filled with other warnings and tips – including a whole section dedicated to what baby products you DON’T need to waste your money on. Which was particularly satisfying for the cheapskate in me.
Finally, what advice would you give fellow dadbosses?
It’s all about balance, now more than ever. If you’re a boss, paternity leave dictates that you have to walk away from work for a couple of weeks at least, and trust others to take the slack.
This is good practice for increased delegation, particularly for hands-on bosses, as your new lifestyle will be helped if you can let go of certain parts you couldn’t before.
Delegation and open discussion are the key – flag your work plans to your partner, so she knows when to call in reinforcements if she needs help.
Also, get used to your mother-in-law being around. And being grateful for her presence!
Lee’s latest book The GoodFather: Becoming a Dad For the First Time Without Losing Your Mind, Changing Your Identity, or Emigrating is out now: