He’d peed across floor, refusing the snack I’d made him and I’d rushed him to the potty where we’d sat, him squirming on potty and then, up and running in flannel bathrobe with the dog-ears and his little legs while I stayed curled on the bathroom floor.

Nights of no sleep had done this mother in, and for a moment, I remembered: days when we were two. No one else to wake for, and I’d worked at coffee-shop by day, writing novel by night and we’d snowboarded on the weekends. But even as I miss the hiss of the espresso machine I hear him, reading himself a story the ways babies do, and there is no us without him.

Undone and wondering how to balance freelance work with motherhood and another on the way, I cry on the floor of the bathroom, wishing for my own Council of Mothers.

A council defined by New York Times bestselling author Bruce Feiler, who wrote The Council of Dads during his “lost year,” a year in which he nearly lost his leg, and his life, to a cancerous tumor. A year in which he sought to preserve his presence with his two girls by forming the Council of Dads: a group of six men who, together, emanated his character and captured his life experiences.

“These are the men who know me best,” Bruce writes. “The men who share my values. The men who helped shape and guide me. The men who traveled with me, studied with me, have been through pain and happiness with me. Men who know my voice.”

Even though his leg and life were spared, the Council clung, joining Bruce for his twin girls’ birthday party, stopping by for one-on-ones, for spontaneous presents and outings and it became so much more than preserving Bruce’s presence. It became the village that raised a child.

“I can’t believe I was a parent without one,” says Bruce. “One of the unspoken secrets of parenting, in my experience, is that it can be very lonely—especially for dads, who feel the need to be the Answer Man, Mr. Fix It, the Know-It-All… Creating a Council of Dads turned fatherhood from a solo sport into a team sport.”

Aiden’s come to the bathroom, Dr. Suess in hand, and he folds himself onto me, opens his book and looks up with his father’s eyes. I hold him close in a cluster of words and arms and together, we turn the pages.

Could you use your own Council of Dads? I’ve got a book to give away… Let me know why you want it… And I’ll choose a winner in one week.
Read more about the book here.