There's infinitely more information out there than you can ever hope to absorb and it's almost all incomplete. The best way I have found is to take in plenty of advice and use it to make a patchwork quilt of blag. Here's what I wasn't prepared for:
1) Being...AWAKENED! - That rapidly building baby siren that bolts you from a deep and peaceful place. It smacks you like a wrecking ball in your junk, I literally didn't know I could ache there from being woken by a noise... Nothing prepares you for it, seriously.
Advice: Nap, go bed after 'In the night garden' (if you don't know what this is you soon will) and simply accept that it's going to happen. If you're calm, methodical in addressing baby's needs and try different comforting techniques it will help. Each baby is so different but there will be a way, even if it's hanging them upside down like a bat with carrot sticks in each ear.
2) Relentlessness - Food, wind, change, play, learn, comfort, sleep...and repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat. Except that the goalposts move constantly, what works one second will not work ten seconds later (that fast, no joking). There's plenty of variety as they grow of course but there are always needs to address.
Advice: Remember that it's all quality time spent with your baby. It's okay to be fed up, quality time does not mean picture perfect and easy. It means time going through routine together, bonding both with your baby and your partner as you all find your feet! The smiles, progress and littlest things will make you melt and burst with pride.
3) The inconsolable baby - No matter what lavish presentation of milk, pitch perfect lullaby, comforting cosy cuddles or plush sleeping palace you provide the baby remains more hysterical than a gaggle of Beliebers in the front row at a concert.
Advice: This will happen (see year one jabs in particular). It's not only frustrating but extremely distressing. If you get agitated and impatient it only makes things worse, trust me tone of voice and body demeanour make a difference. Channel your inner creepily calm and annoyingly cheerful kids TV presenter. Think Smoochy (if you haven't seen Death to Smoochy, give it a watch and you'll know what I mean).
4) Sole Responsibility - It's so different being the only one looking after the baby. My wife has been away for the weekend a few times and now I am the one in charge of home life day-to-day. It requires so much energy, planning, preparation and improvisation on a daily basis. It's far from perfect, yet it is by far the most rewarding way to spend your day speaking from my experience (although my kids are particularly cute).
Advice: Embrace your responsibility and work to make your kids proud. Do you want them to see you like a supreme, all-knowing yet benevolent overlord? Well, possibly. But like my daughter currently does, I just want them to proudly exclaim "daddy!" to any unsuspecting stranger that never actually asked.
5) The purpose - My children have given me a focus and purpose that I didn't actually realise was missing from my life. Every day presents a new challenge and often in ways that will have completely blindsided me. I felt more than ready to be a dad but am continually surprised.
Advice: Adopt a flexible posture and don't get bogged down by the challenges. You have to make time for yourself when you can to decompress, make sure you ask for help and don't be afraid to leave your kids with somebody you trust if you need a break (see below, my mates stag do in Rome).
Time to relax and reflect will keep things in perspective and help you focus on what enjoy about being a parent.
Well, that's my inexperience so far...happy blagging!