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15 Things Only Parents Of More Than One Child Would Understand

15 Things Only Parents Of More Than One Child Would Understand

Children are truly amazing, but being in charge of more than one at any given time can be a genuine challenge. If you are a parent of more than one kid, you know what was difficult with one can snowball into quite an adventure with multiples! But you’ve gained some real insight into parenthood on your journey. You go you! Here are a few things parents with more than one kid learn through the experience:

1. You know calendars make for sane parents

When your kids hit the after school activity age, thing get busy in a hurry. Your daughter has ballet, softball, and karate while your son needs to get to his music lessons, basketball practice and his volunteer project at the animal shelter. Add all your regular shopping needs and the PTA meeting you’re hosting, and you have got to keep a ton of stuff organized. The solution? Break out the planner. Whatever calendar system you use, you love it and know that its the key to the land of sanity.

2. You realize sleep is a precious commodity

Keeping up with one kiddo can really drain you. This is especially true when your offspring are very young. Add a toddler to the household of a newborn and suddenly parents start to forget what sleep can feel like. But oh, when they find a moment to snooze it can be so wonderful.

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3. You understand the value of a giggle fest

While the kids may make you tired, they are also so darn cute. The silly things they do can induce a big laugh which can lead the whole group into bursts of laughter! As your kids and you are laughing hysterically, you realize just how awesome your life is.

4. You know how to prioritize happiness over task lists

With multiple kids, you simply can’t get everything done everyday. In order to stay clam and happy, you’ve learned how to determine what things are most important and what things can wait for another day. While the trash really needs to find its way to the dumpster, that pan from dinner really can wait. After all, tonight is simply better spent watching Toy Story with your daughters.

5. You are filled with joy when your kids play together

One of the best parts of having more than one child is seeing them interact. Sure this can seem negative when they are pulling each other’s hair and playing tag in the aisles of the grocery store, but in those moments where they are sharing their favorite toy and laughing together at the silly cartoon, you know that this is what its all about. Nothing can fill the heart faster than watching two of your kids be kind to each other.

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6. You know how to work the relatives for babysitting

When its your turn to go to a grown-up event, you see a perfect opportunity to squeeze in some grandma, niece, or cousin quality time. These little bundles of joy won’t be little forever, so why not pull in some trusted relatives to enjoy the journey. Plus, family baby sitters tend to come with a nice discount. Score!

7. You love buying in bulk

Trips to the grocery store become more complicated with several kids. Fortunately, buying in bulk decreases the number of trips dramatically. Who wants to spend time walking through the laundry soap aisle when you could be having princess tea time with your kids?

8. You realize little people can create a lot of mess

Even though you may only have a family of four or five, the amount of dirt and mess generated can get out of hand quickly. Just because your kids are small that does not mean your cleaning regiment is small. But, that’s ok. Cleaning up a bit seems like a small price for all the laughs and joy of taking care of this family.

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9. You’ve got packing lunch down to a system

When the kiddos reach school age, they need some lunch to take with them. When you’ve got multiples to prep, you’ve got to make sure nothing gets left behind. To get everyone ready, you’ve got the lunch boxes ready and a tried and true system to fill them.

10. You drop some knowledge when your single child friends complain

For every problem a parent with one child has, a parent with multiple kids gets those issues compounded. Trouble getting the house clean, try multiplying that by twice the number of kids. Issues with scheduling play dates, try doubling the headache. Single child parents are cute, but they don’t even know. Fortunately, you are here to help them out.

11. You know it gets easier by the second or third child

With your first child you were stressing out about everything from getting the bottle to the right temperature to what kind of music he or she fell asleep to. By kid number two or three, you’ve got all that stuff figured out. You know what is worth your mental energy and what isn’t.

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12. You love going to the park

The kids get to run around, and you get to sit and supervise. Sure you may be called in to repair a boo boo or provide a snack refuel, but really you just get some time to relax while the kids get rid of their pent up energy. Your relaxation time is made all the sweeter knowing they will sleep well tonight.

13. You know not to play favorites

That one time you gave your daughter a slightly bigger piece of candy than your son made this situation very clear. You spend time making sure each child understands they are loved and equally special. You can see the stress playing favorites can cause, and you work hard to prevent it.

14. You buy toys in multiples

If one child gets a toy, its important that the other child receives something as well. So long as the kids preferences for toys are similar, the best choice is to buy in multiples. This keeps everyone on an even level and makes your life in the toy department a lot simpler.

15. You love story time

Reading stories to your kids is the best. Not only do we get the opportunity to snuggle, but watching their imagination take flight while engaging with literature is truly special. If you had your way, you would have story time all the time. Bonus- the kiddos often nap after their literary adventures!

Featured photo credit: gellert via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on January 15, 2019

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

Many of us feel awkward talking to strangers. I’m a very outgoing person, even though I sometimes feel uncomfortable walking up to someone and asking a question or starting a conversation. I consider myself pretty high up on the extrovert meter. So what is it that makes us pause and become worried or anxious about talking to people we don’t know?

In this article, we will discuss why we feel this way as well as some tips on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Step right up, don’t be shy!

Why We Feel Awkward Talking to Strangers

The next time you feel uncomfortable talking to a stranger, tell yourself that’s completely normal. There are numerous reasons why it’s actually natural to feel awkward talking to strangers:

Our Stress Levels Rise Around Strangers

Numerous studies have show that our levels of cortisol go up when we are around strangers.[1] Cortisol is the hormone inside of us which produces stress responses.[2]
So there you go, right off the bat you can see part of your standard response to strangers is due to a chemical reaction!

A very interesting by product of increased cortisol is that it makes us less empathetic. More than likely this can be traced to our evolution. The increase in the cortisol and the corresponding decrease in empathy makes us want to stay away from strangers. We are biologically wired to feel concern around strangers.

Evolution Taught Us to Be Wary

Evolution has also taught us to be wary of strangers in general. Humans as a whole have spent a large chunk of their history banded together in small protective groups. We did this in order to help protect each other and maximize resources.

When you think about it in this context, outsiders to our small groups or strangers are considered potential threats. Fear of strangers is common across almost all human cultures.

Culturally Conditioned

We can also thank our society for helping us feel uncomfortable and sometimes afraid of strangers. The term “stranger danger” is something most of us can relate to either growing up or raising kids. Or both.

I remember hearing this from my parents, mostly about not getting in someone’s car I didn’t know. And as the father of 2 teenage girls, you can be sure I’ve talked to them about this very concept more times that they want to hear.

The thought that strangers can be dangerous is built into us as it is. Toss in the amplification of the media on strangers doing things such as kidnapping kids and it takes it to an even higher level.

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Now that we’ve reviewed some of the reasons why we are nervous, let’s look at why you should talk to strangers more.

Benefits of Getting over the Awkwardness

Let’s take a quick look at some of the advantages of how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward. These are some high level benefits of talking to strangers.

1. Broadens Your Network

After you talk to someone, you didn’t know previously they become someone you know at least a little bit. This alone helps broaden your network of people you know. This is helpful in many ways whether it is work related or socially related.

2. Improves Your Communication Skills

I am a huge proponent of the value of solid communication skills and have written about it often. The more you talk to people, especially people you don’t know, the better your communication skills become.

Interacting with a wider variety of people will bring the added benefit of improving your communication skills.

3. Continually Learning

So many of us don’t actively seek to learn new things. This is one of the primary keys to staying engaged in life and our own personal self fulfillment.

Almost every time I speak to someone I didn’t know previously, I’ve learned something new. When we speak to strangers, it pushes us out of our comfort zones and we tend to learn new things.

4. Increases Self Confidence

Every time we learn to do something we were previously anxious about, we feel better about ourselves.

Forcing ourselves to talk to strangers will lead to increased self confidence. As we get more and more comfortable doing something that previously made us feel awkward, our self confidence will go up and up.

So, how to talk to strangers to reap these benefits?

How to Talk to Strangers

Here are some tips to on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

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1. Say Hello

Putting “say hello” first may seem a bit obvious but let’s take a deeper look. Much of the social awkwardness when speaking to strangers is simply breaking the ice. The first words that will engage someone.

Most people will respond when someone says hello or hi to them. And those that don’t, you probably don’t want to talk to anyway.

Practice being the person that opens the door to a conversation. Say hello.

2. Ask About Them

Something that I have noticed over the years is that people love to talk about themselves. Even fairly private people tend to open up when asked about events in their lives.

You can ask leading questions that get people to talk about themselves and recent events. Things like recent movies watched or the summer vacation are great to get someone talking.

As a father, I also know that people love to talk about their kids. Asking about kids is a fairly easy topic to bring up and in general, most people will expound upon all the great things their kids do or are involved with.

3. Just Do It

One of the biggest reasons we don’t do things we want to or know we should is because we overthink it. Quit thinking about it so much and just do it.

When you give yourself the time to analyze every little angle about a situation, you also give plenty of time to talk yourself out of it. You’ll wind up thinking what if this happens or what if that happens.

Try to force yourself to jump right in without thinking about it too much. Whenever I have done this, I always feel great about it afterwards, no matter how it turned out.

4. Don’t Take It Personal

One of the greatest lessons in life I ever learned was don’t take anything personally. We all go through life with our own sets of experiences and see things through our own lens. The way people react to different situations has almost nothing to do with us. It has to do with previous experiences and the way people feel about things other than us.

When someone’s reaction isn’t what you’d hoped or expected, chances are it has nothing to do with you. Remember that and keep it in context.

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5. Get a Chuckle If Possible

I used the word chuckle purposely because it makes me laugh. In my opinion, it’s one of those funny words. We all like to laugh because it makes us feel good. And when someone makes us laugh, we typically remember those people in a positive light.

One of the best ways to make a conversation easy and free flowing is to get some laughter going. It doesn’t mean you have to be the master joke teller or anything. See if you can work in a way to make the person you are talking to get a smile or some laughter in. In fact, laughing at yourself maybe a nice try.

6. Detach

A great feeling is when you don’t mind which way something turns out, that you will be fine no matter what happens. Kind of like when I watch my two favorite football teams play against each other. I don’t really care who wins, I just want a fun game.

Treat talking to strangers the same way. You don’t really care how the conversation goes because you are detaching from the outcome. Make it a fun time with yourself and if the conversation goes well, awesome! If not then no big deal, move on.

7. Share Your Stories

Well, all like to feel connected to other people. And many times we wind up hanging out with people that we have things in common with. No surprise here.

To help with how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward, tell stories that have commonalities with the person you are talking to. Kids are an easy one. I have a daughter who was a competitive cheerleader and now plays club volleyball. I have instant connection and stories with strangers I speak with who have kids that play sports. It’s easy to relate to.

So when you are speaking to a stranger and you have a story or mutual connection point, bring it up.

8. Give a Compliment

Almost everyone likes hearing a compliment, whether they admit to it or not. As a general rule, we don’t give out enough compliments. It’s amazing how one small remark someone tosses your way about how good you look can literally make your entire day.

When you are speaking with someone you don’t know, see if you can work a compliment in. Nothing creepy here. Not a good idea to tell someone you just met that they are the prettiest or handsomest person you ever met. However, if you can share how you like their tattoo or shoes or something like that, it will help put the conversation into an easy going, smiling place.

9. Relax Your Body Language

If you go into a situation all worried and nervous, it shows on your body. Your shoulders are tensed up, there’s a look of consternation on your face, things like that.

When you engage a stranger in conversation, make it a point to relax your body language. Take a deep breath before you engage the person, let your body relax, and put a smile on your face. This will help relax you and it has the added benefit of putting the other person more at ease.

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If they see that you are relaxed, it helps them relax. Plus having open, engaging body language is very conducive to inviting someone to open up into a conversation with you.

10. Practice, Practice, Practice

Like everything else in life, talking to strangers gets easier with practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Make it a point to talk to several strangers each week and it will definitely help you relax as you do it more and more.

After a while, it will become something you don’t even think about, you just do it. And that takes all of the awkwardness out of being in these type situations.

The Bottom Line

As we have seen, it is perfectly natural to feel awkward talking to strangers. We are biologically built that way and we have our own society constantly warning us how dangerous it is. It’s no wonder we feel awkward talking to strangers!

There are numerous benefits to learning to be more comfortable talking to strangers. See if you can employ some of the techniques mentioned to learn how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Once you start practicing speaking with strangers more often and utilizing some of the tips, you will become more comfortable doing so. This in turn will lead to a learned new skill and increased self confidence.

Remember, everyone you know was a stranger at one time. Now get out there and make some new friends.

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Reference

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