Parenting is a journey that is hard to describe until you've actually been on it. But there are certain things you can expect to experience as a parent.

Here are 12 things you can plan to experience when becoming a parent:

1. It's not easy

I think we all know becoming a parent is not going to be easy. But it is not until you are faced with problems unique to parents that you realize just how hard it is. Be prepared to face challenges beyond your wildest dreams.

2. You'll make mistakes

No matter how many books you read, how many people you go to for advice, or despite your best effort to follow all the recommendations, you will make mistakes. It is a rite of passage as a parent. Miraculously, somehow our children survive our mistakes.

3. You'll cry a lot

You'll cry because you feel like you are a bad parent. You'll cry because you are worried about your kids. You'll cry because you can't take their pain away. But you will also cry because you have never been so proud. Or you'll cry because you are so happy just watching your child sleep.

Basically you will just cry all the time.

4. Every child is different

Just when you think you've got the hang of this whole parenting thing, one of your children will throw a curve ball at you. They will not respond to discipline like your other child did, or they will have a fear that you don't know how to help them with.

Kids are all different despite growing up in the same house with the same parents.

5. Your child will not like you at times

There will be days when your child will tell you exactly how they feel, and it may not be the best emotions. It is hard to hear your child say they do not like you, but it is probably because you are doing something right like not letting them get away with something or telling them no.

Don't worry, in a few minutes your child will get over it and move on.

6. You may not like your child at times

On the flip side there will be moments when you don't like your child. It is hard to believe there may be a time when you do not adore your child, but there are moments when you may feel particularly annoyed or upset with your child. Of course you never stop loving them, but you may stop liking them for a moment or two.

7. You will wonder what you got yourself into

There are days when nothing seems to go right, you feel like a failure as a parent, and wonder what you got yourself into. It happens with everything in our lives, why should parenthood be any different?

Just know those days are usually few and far between- most of the time you can't believe you ever considered not having children.

8. You will find joy in the littlest of things

Whoever thought a bodily function like a fart or burp could be cute? Well it is when it is coming out of your 1 month old.

There is no greater joy than watching your child take their first step, say their first word, or even learn to ride a bike. The little things in life become what you live for, what makes you happy, and what brings your life meaning.

9. You will instantly fall in love with someone

The moment you first see and hold your child for the first time is magical. You suddenly have this love for someone you just met. It is amazing how that feeling continues to grow as your child does.

It is hard to believe you can have this kind of love for multiple people in your life. And each child brings even more love. The love for each child is unique and beautiful. It is not that you love one child more, but you love each child differently. They all have a place in your heart and they fulfill different needs in your life.

10. You will learn to put someone before yourself

If you have not already learned to do this in your life, you will when you have children. You have to. They depend on you for their basic needs. They require you to teach them about life both physically and emotionally, and you do.

You put their needs above your own. You put yourself last and make sure your child's needs are met before your own. You will do this not out of obligation, but because you love them.

11. You will learn the meaning of unconditional love

To love someone unconditionally means you love them no matter what. There is no greater example in our mortal lives then the love a parent has for their child. Despite the sleepless nights, despite the agony and stress they put you through, despite them disappointing you or breaking your heart, you still love them. You love them through the good and the bad.

12. There is no greater job on the planet

What other job will allow you to spend a lifetime getting to know someone? A job that will allow you to experience life through a child's eyes? Or a job that gives you more pride and more love for someone than you ever imagined? It truly is the best job in the world, and I would not trade it for anything.

These are some of the things you will experience as a parent. It is the hardest and best adventure you will ever embark on.

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