Interview: Jacob Sidney, Author of Daddy Drinks: Six Dads Trying to Get It Right—While Getting It Hilariously Wrong

Post Hill Press


“The six of us go back a ways.

Long before any of us had children—or even knew the amazing women who would make that happen—we were friends. Buddies who stayed out into the wee hours drinking, and making theater, and drinking while making theater. We were actors and writers in L.A., living the life.

And then suddenly, out of nowhere, there was a shit-pot of kids. With the craziness of managing our kids’ schedules (not to mention our own careers), we obviously weren’t able to hang out the way we used to. We were stuck bottle feeding our kids in the middle of the night, or shuttling them to music class in the afternoon, or wringing out dirty cloth diapers in the toilet first thing in the morning. And
we loved it (except for the last part).”

Shelf Unbound: How did Daddy Drinks come about?

Jacob Sidney: Daddy Drinks began when Henry Dittman reached out to a few dad friends for advice over instant messenger.  A bunch of us who used to go out drinking together all had kids within a year or two, and Henry was the last.  He was trying to figure out the swaddling technique, and while we did attempt to honestly answer his question, we quickly remembered the dynamic that had made us friends in the first place: a never-ending stream of bullshit and tasteless jokes.  We also discovered that we could all have a drink (or three) together in virtual space without leaving the house, which as new fathers we were legally prevented from doing. I’m pretty sure it’s a law anyway; that’s what my wife told me. #babylaw

Shelf Unbound: What is the most valuable piece of advice you’ve received from the other dads?

Sidney: Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Of course we all take parenting seriously, but if you make it about daily checklists or achievement markers from some outside source, you’ll live in a constant state of failure. In all likelihood you will succeed in keeping your baby alive. It’s hardwired into our DNA. So let the kid dictate the schedule, and everything else is gravy.

Shelf Unbound: What shocked you most about fatherhood?

Sidney: The poop. I mean sure, intellectually I understood that caring for a newborn means dealing with their poop, but I was really unprepared for how much of my average day would be consumed by—and how many of our physical possessions and home surface areas would come in contact with—solid human waste.  Throw in a geriatric dog with a tenuous relationship to continence, and it often felt that my primary function on this earth was poop management.

Shelf Unbound: Do you think all new fathers can relate to this book?

Sidney: I do. First-time fathers will feel great relief that they’re not alone, and veteran breeders will look back on the early years with a good laugh about how they managed to get through it.  Us being who we are, the book employs generous profanity and joking references to adult situations (we seem to have a particular interest in sleeping with each others’ wives), so it may not be for all tastes in that regard, but I can’t imagine there’s a dad who won’t see himself in some part of Daddy Drinks.

Shelf Unbound: A few of you are involved in theatre—any chance Daddy Drinks might become a play?

Sidney: I don’t think it will become a narrative play, though we look forward to some upcoming live presentations, ranging from a regular reading/signing in a bookstore to something in a cabaret, a little more theatrical and with cocktail service, etc.  We do think the book, as well as our general dynamic, lends itself well to a television show, and we look forward to developing in that direction.  We did a great podcast as guests of comedian Kira Soltanovich that shows off the energy and chemistry we think we can bring to television:

Shelf Unbound: How has fatherhood changed you?

Sidney: I’m more compassionate and patient all around, particularly with myself and my partner.  Of course we want the dishes to be done, but not at the expense of peace in our home.  I hope I’m a little better at appreciating incremental progress and enjoying the process, without overly stressing about whether my 4-year-old puts her shoes away neatly or whether her mother remembers to pick up milk or whether I finish reinstalling the curtain holder my kid managed to pull out of the wall even though I used drywall anchors and it was completely secure and I really don’t have time to redo jobs or I’ll never … um, sorry … still working on it!

Shelf Unbound: How do you think it has changed your friends?

Sidney: On one hand, I find them more determined and focused than ever, on their careers, their relationships, and obviously their children.  On the other, they remain the same idiots I knew years ago, just with different schedules and priorities … and that’s why I love them. 

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