6 Months – Foundations of Parenting

It’s official Charlie is half a year old!  We have a six month old. Thursday was her half birthday.  I really can’t comprehend how this happened.  These 6 months have been smiley, exhausting, teaching, grace-filled, and an absolute memory making jackpot.

Over these last 6 months we have been learning and growing and coming together as a family.  The fact is WAY too much has happened for me to scratch the surface, so instead I want to focus on the best parenting advice that we have been given.

We have the great examples of our own parents, the support of our peers, and the Bible to guide us as we learn to parent and raise Charlie.  She is not terrible two-year-old, a threenager, or even an actual teenager yet (it will be sooner than we know!); however, now is when we start laying the foundation for the road we are headed down as parents.

As we lay this foundation here are the four key tid bits that float around in my head and guide my daily decisions with Charlie:

“A lot of things can wait while you’re holding your kids.”

“The days are long, but the years are short.”

“Just be kind to one another.” (That one is actually some marriage advice that we were given, but I think that it definitely applies to parenting).

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lam 3:22-23

What this all boils down to is priorities.  These last 6 months Charlie doesn’t know it, but she has been transforming our priorities.  Our aim is to have God first followed by family and then everything else.  That means when Charlie is napping, I do my devotions before I do the laundry.  When she’s awake, I play with her, focus on making her day great before I focus on making mine great.  If she and I get the house all clean and Izzy’s fur tumbleweeds vacuumed up that’s an A++ for us, but if all we do is snuggle because she’s having an off day, well that’s an A++ too.

No matter my mood or her mood God gives me a fresh dose of mercy and grace every day to help me be the best mom I can be that day.  Good day or bad day – I try my best to treasure them because the days can be long but the years are short.  When none of us got much sleep and when we are all well rested, we focus on being kind to each other and to Charlie.  Kindness makes the good days sweeter and redeems the hard days.  Just remember – it’s easier to clean up spilled milk than repair hurt feelings.

I do not follow these pillars perfectly.  Some days I see chores undone and feel I failed.  Other days I sit back and think it doesn’t matter if the dish washer was unloaded, if dinner was only 2 stars, and the laundry wasn’t folded because I focused on my family and on loving them like Jesus would.

I love watching Charlie learn and grow, and I am learning and growing right beside her.

Lessons from the First 10 Weeks with Charlie

These last ten weeks have been so full of wonderful moments, lessons learned, laughs laughed, frustrating moments, and lots of learning to do things one-handed.

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I don’t know how Charlie was ever inside of me, but she was.  The weirdest part is how not weird it is for her to be here.  It’s just natural, like she was always supposed to be here with us.  Things are different, but the change has been natural.  We are still learning how to go out for dinner, how to help each other with her, and how to get places on time (why is that such a struggle?!).

But if I had to say how we are doing overall, I would say that as a family we are doing great!  As a married couple, Will and I are finding an even deeper love and appreciation for each other. It’s  heart melting to watch each other parent and nurture our daughter.  As far as babies go, Charlie is pretty awesome!  She sleeps through the night most nights and makes hilarious faces.  She rocked the baby acne for a while and now has outgrown that and moved onto cradle cap.  Charlie plays in the bath tub now, has a favorite spot on the couch, has a favorite toy (Mr. Monkey), likes to suck on frozen pacifiers, and she enjoys running with me!

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When I look at Charlie, play with her, put her down for the night – I see all of the ways she’s growing and changing. Then I wash her laundry and think to myself  “surely she can’t fit these tiny clothes anymore.”  But you know what; she does!  Somehow she still does.

The Lesson

Above all the ways to sooth her, all the things I can now do one handed, the best thing I have learned is being in the moment.  When Charlie is awake the rest of my to do list becomes shockingly insignificant.  When Charlie is crying, figuring out how to make everything better is top priority.  When Charlie is smiling and playing everything else just fades away, and a perfect hour passes in the blink of an eye.

So in the end, I guess all of the lessons learned from the first 10 weeks with Charlie boil down to one thing. It’s like my mom always says – So many things can wait while you hold your children.

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