The last six months have been a whirlwind. As I’ve found a few moments to myself this past week I had a chance to reflect on how much I’ve been learning and growing through all the chaos. Those little girls aren’t the only ones growing up here. It’s felt like a significant growth spurt for me too.
Lesson #1: We all learn at our own pace.
Ellie, Nora, Chad, and me. This is no timeline that anyone of us has to follow, no matter how many Baby Center weekly emails tell me what milestones my girls should be reaching. Ellie learned to roll over weeks before Nora, but once Nora figured it out, she was an instant pro. Chad had the swaddling down pat on day two. I took a lot longer. Whenever Chad or I figured something out first, we’d share it with the other person calling it a “pro tip.” This way, we never feel called out for not knowing how to do something. Pro tips are my favorite.
Pro tip: It’s way easier to get the girls out of their car seats if you loosen the straps first.
Pro tip: If Nora is too distracted to eat, wrap her in her favorite pink blanket and make sure you’re holding her arms.
Pro tip: Sometimes Ellie is only fussy because she is dying to stand up.
Lesson #2: There is no right way to parent (thank you Rachel Hollis).
Between the internet, the well-meaning women at church, and every stranger who stops us to comment on the girls, we’ve received a LOT of advice. I appreciate it most of the time, but the luxury of being a parent of my kids is that I get to choose. We chose the cry it out method for sleep training. We chose to formula feed our girls after a month of nursing. We chose and we had our reasons. And it’s what worked for us. Do what works for you. If you’re concerned about being a good mom, then you are one.
Lesson #3: If it’s not a top priority, don’t treat it like one.
I listened to a podcast by Jody Moore recently where she mentioned that she aims for a ‘B’ in the areas of her life that aren’t her top priority. I have tried to embrace that mentality. My girls, my husband, my faith, and my sanity are my top priorities right now. So my house is a ‘B’ on the clean scale. I respond to my work emails at a ‘B’ speed. It’s been refreshing not giving my all to EVERYTHING all at once.
Lesson #4: Love the stage you are in.
Laugh at the spit up. Embrace the dry shampoo and the leggings you’ve been wearing for too many days. This is a time of life you won’t get back. For me, this means I cuddle my girls longer than they need. I sing them songs a little too often and I reread books to them till I have them memorized. They’re already six months! This baby stage is already half over.
Lesson #5: There are angels everywhere.
I’m forever indebted to the help and love we’ve received from parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins, and friends. This week my darling cousin watched Ellie while I took Nora to one of her physical therapy appointments. My cute mom met me to go on a slightly-failed shopping adventure and bought me lunch. My kind grandparents continue to generously let us live in their basement. My brother-in-law put the girls to bed so Chad and I could go out on a date. A new friend in our neighborhood dropped off pumpkin cookies. Nora and Ellie have the best village to help raise them.
Lesson #6: 80% of what you need to know you can learn in the hospital.
This is Chad’s lesson. He treated the hospital stay like a parenting boot camp and ask our kind nurses 1,000 questions. He came out a parenting champ. So don’t stress about all the parenting books. Don’t get worked up over how to best prepare to be a parent. It’s okay to learn as you go along. That’s life.