SALT LAKE CITY — Daddy blogger Clint Edwards grew up in Provo with divorced parents and an addict father who was in and out of jail.
Edwards' father became addicted to opioid painkillers after he experienced a series of injuries and surgeries, leaving Edwards' mother when Edwards was 9 years old. Edwards lived with his grandmother for most of high school, and when he was 19 years old, his father passed away.
Now a 35-year-old father of three, it makes sense that Edwards named his blog "No Idea What I'm Doing." While most dads feel nervous about fatherhood, Edwards' relationship with his own father did little to prepare him for raising his kids. When Edwards' wife told him she was pregnant with their first child, he said he went and sobbed in the shower afterwards.
"I was so afraid that I was going to grow up to become my dad," Edwards said. "And I didn't know how to avoid that. There's a lot of stuff I do that reminds me of him, so I was very anxious to be a dad. I'm getting more comfortable with it."
The day-to-day work of being a dad has given Edwards the hands-on experience and observations that he shares on his blog, which he recently expanded into the book "I'm Sorry … Love, Your Husband" (Page Street, 288 pages), released last month.
Edwards studied writing for both his bachelor's and master's degrees and first tried to write a literary memoir about his childhood. When that didn't work out, Edwards turned to blogging about his family and was amazed by the amount of people who started to read it. A year later, he had published in the New York Times and the Washington Post and had been featured on "Good Morning America." He's also now a staff writer for the popular parenting blog Scary Mommy.
"The goal has always been to write a book," he said. "It was just: What was it going to be about?"
When Edwards first pitched his publishers, they said they liked his writing but not his initial book idea. They recommended that he write about the times he messed up as a husband and father and then apologized for it because his essays on those topics had been the most popular in the past. Thus "I'm Sorry" was born.
Edwards' book is blunt and honest — discussing everything from poop to intimacy in marriage to C-sections. But Edwards said it's often these sections that people love the most — especially the last chapter where he talks about how he regrets not enjoying his son more when he was little.
Because of his honesty, Edwards has always made sure that his wife, Melodie, approves his writing before he publishes it. He calls it the "Mel edit," and he gave her full veto power over anything she didn't like in the book — which she took advantage of.
As a blogger, Edwards always has the final say in what he publishes, so the hardest part about writing a book was having an editor. When he first sent in his manuscript, his editor sent back 10 single-spaced pages of critiques per section.
"I was furious: 'What does she know? I've written for the New York Times,'" he said. "But once it was done, it was a much better book and I'd work with her again in a heartbeat."
Edwards believes that writing about fatherhood has made him a better father.
"It has made me value my children, my wife," he said. "I think anytime you can sit and think and reflect on your family, it's a really good thing."
He hopes that "I'm Sorry" can have the same effect on his readers. He's already heard from couples who've read the book together and been able to discuss the issues it brings up.
"That makes me feel good, because I come from a broken home," Edwards said. "I like the idea of families figuring out how to communicate better and be stronger. If that means putting myself out there and saying I did something and learned from it and it helps other couples, I think that's great."1 comment on this story
Being raised in Utah with a broken family, Edwards never felt like he fit in with the traditional Mormon culture in which he was raised and is still active in. Luckily, he had a lot of good men in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who he was able to look up to.
"I seem to have this flood of surrogate fathers, between Scouts and home teachers and bishops and just people in the community," he said. "I don't think they intended to fill in the gaps, but that's what they did. I learned a lot about how to be a good father and how to love my kids from other fathers in the church and that I'm really, really grateful for."