Leader of the Pack is the story of a man who, like many men, had been going through his life apparently content and positively clueless, who found himself tethered to a tornado as his marriage descended into violence and madness. Surviving courts and cops and chaos and a crazy-challenging-business, he unexpectedly ended up the only parent of five small children–ranging in age from only 18 months to 8 years old—at a time when most men didn’t even know how to change a diaper.
It is my story.
In it, I detail the transformation transformation I underwent from sole breadwinner and “back-up” parent to sole parent; from a scared and unsure shell of a man to the strong, confident and spiritual person he is today. As well as a business leader and a voice for single dads everywhere.
Though the facts of my story may be different than some, the feelings are the same for single fathers everywhere. We are frustrated. We’re no longer just the backup parent; the ringer sent in when Mom isn’t available — though, that was all we had ever been trained for when it came to parenting. It’s not that we don’t love our children. We do, but that and $5 will get you a latte at Starbucks.
We are told by many voices (and silent looks) from counsellors, teachers, social workers, judges and our mothers, sisters and ex-wives that we aren’t as capable of raising kids as a woman. We may even feel that assessment is true. We feel helpless and undermined and above all, alone in this.
But we are not alone.
A quarter of all American households are headed by men who find themselves or choose to be single dads. We need to own that position, be proud of it, figure out the best way to make it work and above all, add our voice to a swelling chorus of support for our brothers who find themselves in our same shoes.
We must learn to parent like a dad and that does not mean being only half of a team. In my life, and in the lives of millions of men today, we are the parent. Where there were two, now there is one and we must be enough.
Lives depend on it…our kid’s lives.
We could win our kids, raise them to be happy and healthy people and manage to have a big, fun, and exciting life while we were doing so. Life wasn’t over for us. In fact, it was just beginning and beyond the doors swinging open lay a road we could never have foreseen—one filled with adventure and laughter and even sex.
I surely never would have believed it. On the day my life changed forever, I looked wildly around any means of escape, but all I saw were their pale and frightened faces, staring up at me. Five little kids, the oldest was only eight and the youngest still a toddler—my kids—all mine now. Their mother had staged one last violent, terrifying episode and left us forever. Where there were once two-parents, there was now only one.
It felt like something had torn a large hole in my chest and ripped out my lungs. I couldn’t breathe. Then the breath rushed back in and I heard the most heartbreaking crying. It wasn’t until later that I realized the sound was coming from me.
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The Reviews Show Why Everyone Should Read “Leader of the Pack” Today!
Beautiful, Brilliant and Bittersweet
Phenomenal and powerful. Honest, heartbreaking and highly emotive. Truth baring and transforming. Life affirming with lessons learned along the way. I highly recommend this incredible read to anyone in need of inspiration and motivation with pearls of wisdom.
Food for the soul. It may be uncomfortable to read, at first, for anyone who has experienced the despair resulting from a truly toxic relationship. To not only survive it (them), but to thrive because of the lessons learned, is truly inspiring. His successes and those of his children are astonishing given the circumstances. This is a riveting biography, reads like a bestselling fiction, and is a spiritual tour de force. This book took me out of my comfort zone. Which is a good thing. And it made me drag my butt off the couch and do something worthwhile with my day.
The most powerful personal memoir I’ve read in a very long time
One can only admire the author’s courage in bringing this much too common problem out into the light and exposing the insanity of his thought processes that led him down the road he travelled. I found the narrative of this harrowing tale so compelling that I literally could not stop reading it… If I could give this book more than five stars, I surely would. Congratulations on such a frank and honest memoir.
This book came across as a blessing
Not too long ago I was going through a painful moment of my life…This book came across as a blessing, and I found the answers in it. It motivated me to move on and make taught but right decisions and within 4 months I was able to transform my life to a new happy level from every aspect: spiritual, personal and professional. I hope this book will help thousands of people to improve their lives.
Everyone who is interested in improving their quality of life should read this book. Truly transformational, it has changed my life, perspectives and values for the better. It motivated me to parent better, to make lemonade when life gives you lemons, to understand and appreciate the critical role of fathers. Can’t emphasize enough how much this book has changed my life. Matt Sweetwood is a living inspiration.
Inspirational, compelling, riveting, empowering
Could not put this book down from start to finish and haven’t been able to stop reflecting upon its incredible lessons, motivation, and heartfelt pulse since. Leader of The Pack is to books what the Rocky Soundtrack is to music. It had me hanging on every note, through the lessons of life in each round, to stare down life’s challenges with faith and grit, to man up, dig down a little deeper, and emerge victorious toward far greater personal potential. Wow! A must read.
An honest, open, personal account of family, love, hardship, and triumph
I read this book straight through! His open, honest and straightforward story is, frankly, stunning – specifically in the way he and his family dealt with extreme hardship and challenge, coming out the other side so positively. Matt’s discovery of his roots and development of his spirituality are inspiring.
Incredible story of Perseverance and Hope
it’s been a while since I read a book that I just couldn’t put down ~ this is one of those books… It’s an incredible story of hope, determination and encouragement. And ultimately, God found him and did for him what he couldn’t do for himself. Awesome….
Truly an inspiring book with raw emotion and unwavering strength
This book is raw, honest and a wonderful introspective on how a man can go through a whirlwind of struggles and tragic situations, only to learn how to turn things around to make his life an enviable, wonderful experience. Your book was a gift as it taught me ways to make my life better and give me hope.
Wit, wisdom, and non-fluffy inspiration!
If you’re looking for quick fix pop culture inspiration, this book is not for you. But if you’re willing to be uncomfortable for the sake of pushing through to a wiser, more empathetic self, Leader of the Pack will put you in that challenging place as Matt tells his story with his signature wit and hidden gems of epiphany.
I picked up this book and started reading it casually…
I couldn’t put it down. The author speaks from the heart with such rawness and honesty. This book touched upon so many of my own life experiences and emotions and made me reflect on my past. We all must strive for such courage and strength when life has a way of beating us down.
A gripping tale of domestic abuse, personal growth, courage, and inspiration
If you’ve wondered why someone remains in an abusive relationship, even if they have financial independence, this will open your eyes…. Find a comfortable spot and bring a snack, as you won’t be putting this book down any time soon.
An Inspirational Story of an Incredible Man & His Family
I read this book in its entirety in one sitting, an extremely rare event for me as I am a slow reader. What I would NEVER have bet on, however, was the spiritual awakening and enlightenment that he experienced on his journey. It is THIS aspect of Matt’s story that is the most amazing and inspirational to me – through the most traumatic of events, an entire family “finds their way home”. This is a “must read” book for anyone that has ever or will ever face life-changing adversity. In other words, everyone!