The lead up to becoming a dad is an exciting and overwhelming time – there's the nursery to prepare, baby names to choose, antenatal classes to attend and much more.
So to simplify things, we asked three of Australia's most prominent – and colourful – daddy bloggers to distill their advice down to the one thing they wish they'd known before becoming a father.
Justin Bechtold, 40yrolddad.com
'Be careful setting precedents'
Justin says: Kids are new to life. This is their first rodeo, so anything you do or say, they will take that bull by the horns and ride it til the cows come home.
The problem with not knowing how careful you need to be when setting precedents is that I’ve painted myself into a creative corner. On one hand this is absolutely terrific: our kids are very active, imaginative and creative in their play.
But on the other hand, I’m forced to endure hours upon hours of acting out scenarios of ‘Andy’s Prehistoric Adventures’ because the cardboard clock and costumes I threw together are way too much fun to simply play with on their own. I have to be dragged into everything … and it’s exhausting.
Setting a precedent is like tossing a frisbee into a lion’s mouth. Once you throw it out there, you can’t get it back.
Tom Nightingale, dadstuff.com.au
'Don't try to do it all'
Tom says: I thought I knew what I was in for but I was really shocked at how much having a baby reduces your time to do other things.
Initially I probably tried to do too much – packing in fun stuff on the weekends when we probably could have taken it a bit easier and done some relaxing and recharging.
I also tried to keep having an active social life with my mates, which is good, but in hindsight came at the cost of me supporting my wife.
Becoming a dad also affected my work. I'd been a "whatever it takes" guy but suddenly I was playing catch up at work.
If you've got a baby on the way, start to mentally prepare for compromises: think about what's really important, and what's not.
Having kids is fantastic fun. Just make sure you don't wear yourself out trying to do it all.
Bruce Devereaux, bigfamilylittleincome.com
'Don't compete with the Joneses. Collect experiences instead'
Bruce says: I'm a 50-year-old father of seven and I'm exhausted.
Kids need you. They just want to hang with you. Let them, because all too soon they want to hang with others.
And they don't need stuff. The more stuff they have the less they'll value their stuff. Play boardgames, watch kids movies with them, read to them.
With our oldest two kids (who are 25 and 22 now) we were working way too much. Seven days. Nights. For what? Most of the extra money went on stuff to make up for our absence.
When their Mum had an aneurysm it opened our eyes to the fact there's no guarantee we'll be here for the golden years so we bought a bus and took our chaos on the road. Full time. We invested in our family and spending time with each other.
To prepare for becoming a dad I'd say: don't try to compete with the Joneses. Collect experiences instead. And sleep while you have the chance!
Prepare and protect
As these daddy bloggers can attest: having a baby significantly changes your life. And you can't be prepared for everything that fatherhood brings.
But there are important things you can do to ensure your growing family can enjoy the life you have planned for them, such as taking out life insurance.
Life insurance means you won't lie awake at night worrying about how your family would cope if something happened to you. That said, you'll probably still lie awake between feeds.