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10 Things Only Parents Will Understand

10 Things Only Parents Will Understand

All parents-to-be have this magical vision in their heads of how life will go once the baby comes along. They’ll have this amazing baby that sleeps through the night, walks on their first birthday, potty trains by the second, becomes the genius of kindergarten, and solves world hunger by age 10. Realism rarely plays a role in dreams of parenthood. Then baby shows up, shattering all those illusions pretty darn quick. See, there are things that you never understand until you’re a parent. Once you do understand them, you can never go back to the dream. Take a look at 10 things only parents will understand.

Parents will spend the first months in a perpetual state of exhaustion.

Your baby will not sleep through the night for a long time, if ever. Those first few months, though? They’re killer. Expect to get up at least every three hours. Sometimes more. Don’t plan to get more than a few hours of rest each night. Even those few hours will not be quality rest. Between interruptions to your natural sleep cycle, feeding your baby, worrying if your baby is okay, and having difficulty falling back asleep once you’re up, you’ll never come close to well-rested.

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You’ll never sleep the same again.

Think it’s all a cake-walk once your baby starts sleeping through the night? Think again! Parents spend the rest of their lives in a strange paradoxical sleep, much like that of a cat. You sleep, but you are also constantly alert, ready to jump out of bed and rush to your child’s side at the slightest whimper. Even when they’re grown up, part of your sleep time is devoted to worrying about them. You will miss that sleep, but you’ll adjust eventually.

You won’t need half the gear and clothes you think you need.

Parents-to-be get this insane rush from registering for baby gear and clothes. With so many baby-centric magazines filled with ads and stories about “the best” this or that, you start to feel like you’re depriving your baby if you don’t have it all. Sure, you need diapers, wipes, food, enough clothes to last until laundry day each week, a car seat, a stroller, and other basic gear. You don’t really need a toy box filled with toys, 10 mobiles for the crib, 200 onesies, 75 receiving blankets, and probably at least half of the other things on your list.

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Children are surprisingly expensive!

New parents know that babies are going to be expensive. Between all the new accessories, diapers, and clothes, they expect to spend a lot that first year. What most newbies don’t fully understand is how expensive their kids continue to be after that first year. Kids outgrow clothes before they’ve even had a chance to wear them. They absolutely LOVE a food until you buy it in bulk; then they suddenly hate it. They need a plethora of back-to-school gear, which inevitably gets lost or destroyed within a month. Factor in after-school activities, replacements for things they accidentally break, and the sheer amount of cleaning supplies you’ll go through and you’ll quickly find that raising a child has many surprise costs.

Leaving the house presents a whole new challenge.

Before becoming a parent, you can head out the door in under 30 seconds. Grab your coat, keys, wallet or purse, and go. When you become a parent, you’re lucky to get out the door in 30 minutes! Parents can’t just grab and go. Babies need a lot of supplies for outings. At minimum, they need a stroller and fully packed diaper bag. When they get older, they still make it challenging by taking an hour to put on shoes, needing to grab entertainment for that whopping five-minute trip down the street and so on.

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There is no manual for raising kids.

With the thousands of books on raising kids out there, you’d think that one of them would tell you exactly how to be a good parent. The truth is, no two kids are the same and no amount of books are going to tell you how to do it right.

Everyone will give parenting advice.

Parents know that everyone from their own parents to the stranger behind them in the grocery line has advice on how to be a better parent. Even people who never had children will weigh in on how you should raise your child. Parents also know that no one understands their kids better than them, so they learn to nod politely and tune out the well-meaning advice.

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Kids turn you into a hypocrite within a year.

Before having kids, every parent-to-be has a list of things they will never, ever do. They tisk at other parents who let their kids watch television, use a pacifier, or play video games. Once they become parents, though, all that goes out the window the first time they need to use the bathroom in peace or take an important phone call. At some point, you’re going to do something you said you’d never do. Thankfully, no parent will judge you for it because they’ve been there too.

Kids are gross, but you won’t mind.

Most non-parents would cringe at the thought of cleaning up vomit at 2:00 am, dealing with a blow-out diaper in the middle of the mall, or suctioning mucus out of a baby’s nose. Face it, kids are gross. Parents develop a strange, magical kind of immunity to their child’s grossness though. They may still gag when cleaning up the dog’s mess, but they can clean the nastiest messes from their children without flinching.

You will never, ever be the same again.

Kids change you so completely that you barely recognize the person you were before. Your entire life becomes about your children, even after they leave the house and start their own family. When you’re a parent, your kids come first. The beauty of it, though, is that you don’t mind. Being a parent is an amazing experience. It’s totally worth the lost sleep, money, and time.

Featured photo credit: Sergiu Bacioiu via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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