Being a dad: getting ready

Becoming a father can give you a huge sense of meaning and purpose. As a dad, you’re going to have a huge impact on your child’s life – right from birth.

You can get more out of being a new father in the first few months by preparing for becoming a dad during pregnancy. For example, you can discuss your options for pregnancy care, go with your partner to pregnancy appointments, and gather information about pregnancy and birth.

And if you’re positively involved as a father from early on, it’s more likely that your marriage or relationship will be happier and last longer.

I don’t think I was ready for anything in my life more than being a dad. I probably haven’t excelled at anything in my life to the level that I have in being a dad. It’s probably a real want to be a dad and realising how special it is to be a dad.
– Raj, father of one

The juggle of fatherhood

Most fathers are doing a lot more with their children than in previous generations, and they’re also juggling work and other interests. But you don’t have to be superman.

You might need to spend some time thinking about how to manage the work-life balance. And your strategies for managing it will probably need to keep changing, as your children grow and other things in your life change.

But it’s worth the time and effort you put into it. The bonds you make with your children in the early days can last a lifetime.

Looking forward to being a dad

As you settle into the pregnancy and it becomes more real, you might find yourself thinking about the things you’re looking forward to as a dad.

For example, you might be looking forward to taking your child to the football, or teaching your child about gardening, music or whatever it is that you love. You could be excited about hearing your child’s first word, seeing your child’s first step, playing games together, or just ‘being there’. It could be as simple as tucking your child into bed.

If you’re looking for ideas, check out our article on how to make special ‘dad time’ happen.

Something will just trigger a thought like, ‘We can go to the footy together!’ You’ve already been to the football before but with a baby, they’ll learn from you. Everything that they experience will be new and you’re the one that will get to guide them. It’s a privilege to be partly in charge of that teaching and learning process, helping to shape and mould somebody who hopefully can be a reasonably well-rounded person.
– Roger, expectant father (30 weeks)

Preparing to be a dad: lifestyle changes

Some men find that learning they’re going to become a dad is a wake-up call to change their lifestyle.

For example, if you have a demanding job, you might think about what changes you’d like to make to be able to spend time with your kids. Or you might decide to take steps to become better at managing money or to quit smoking or drinking alcohol.

Things you can do

  • Watch our video on becoming a parent. Listening to the dads in this video might get you thinking about what kind of dad you want to be.
  • Get involved during pregnancy – discuss pregnancy and birth care options, go with your partner to pregnancy appointments, ask health professionals questions and so on.
  • Give your lifestyle some thought. Are there some things you want to change before your baby arrives? Perhaps you want to get in better physical shape, or quit smoking or drinking alcohol?
  • Look into your parental leave options, including paid leave from your employer and Dad and Partner Pay. You can also talk about flexible work hours with your employer.