We all go through different seasons of life … and family life. Obviously some of those seasons are more enjoyable than others. But I typically found there were ways to embrace each change and each new season of family life.
A Big Change in My Family
My family recently had a HUGE change … that came in a very small package. My son, Will, and his wife, Chea, had a new baby (my husband’s and my first grandchild ) on November 2!
While this is a big change, it’s a super-happy change as well. My husband and I were lucky to spend Thanksgiving with our kids and kids-in-law … and with baby Zoey!
This Thanksgiving was very different from when our kids were growing up, but it was also the same in many ways.
We prepared our meal together … although Chea by necessity spent much of that time nursing Zoey. Even Chea helped out when she could.
We had our traditional Thanksgiving meal. (See Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes and Family Cookbook for free printable recipes.)
After the meal, we had game time. Chea and I held Zoey while the rest played games. Later, it was time for leftovers (and for family members taking turns holding Zoey while Chea had time to nap). New babies have their own schedule, so we didn’t have time to decorate a tree on Thanksgiving but saved that for a night soon after.
The love, laughter, and many of the traditions were the same even though life has changed a lot for all of us.
5 Tips for Embracing a Big Change in Your Family
Following are tips that have worked for my family through many different types of changes.
1. Look for the positives in your situation … and focus on the love. I have a whole category of gratitude posts at Bits of Positivity. I’ve found that focusing on the positives (and focusing on the love in the family) during a change helps any situation. And for us, having faith that everything would work out for the best was one of the biggest positives.
2. Plan to spend more time than normal communicating. Family communication is always important, but we found that we needed to allow extra time for brainstorming, talking about feelings, and answering questions before, during, and after any big change in the family.
3. Unplug and be present for your family. Being present for family is important … and is especially important when there’s a big change. The video embedded in my post at Bits of Positivity (Are You Really Present for Your Family and Friends?) clearly shows the need for being fully present around the ones we love. While it isn’t always possible, it’s extra important during a big change.
4. Read books wherever helpful (both for children and adults). We found books helpful in helping our children cope with big changes, such as the birth of a baby, a move, or a visit to the hospital. As an adult, I’m also reassured and more comfortable when I gain information by reading about a change and what to expect.
5. Try to find time to take care of yourself. This is often the most difficult during big changes, but it’s extra helpful at those times as well. See Take a 30-Minute or 5-Minute Me-Break.
Have you found something that works especially well to help your family embrace big changes?
Image at top of post by Scott Betts.
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared stories and wisdom about life changes.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
- Mature Student — Amber Strocel is embarking on a new adventure in 2014, by returning to a space in her life she thought she’d left behind – that of being a university student.
- And then there were four — Jillian at Mommyhood learned how quickly love can grow when welcoming a second child to the family.
- Handling Change As A Mother (And Why That Takes Things To A Different Level) — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares how she helps her young daughter navigate change and why it is so important, as a mother, to gauge her own reactions to change.
- Without Dad-One Year Later — Erica at ChildOrganics shares how her life has changed one year after losing her husband suddenly.
- Family Ties — Lori at TEACH through Love realized that her most significant, most painful wound paved the way for her to share her greatest gift.
- Rootless — After Dionna @ Code Name: Mama‘s parents packed up their home and moved to Florida this fall, she is feeling rootless and restless.
- A Letter to My Mama Self in the Swirl of Change — Sheila Pai of A Living Family shares a letter she wrote to herself to capture and remember the incredible changes from the year, and invites you to do the same and share!
- Junctions — sustainablemum explains how her family has dealt with a complete change of direction this year.
- Planning, Parenting, and Perfection — Becca at The Earthling’s Handbook explains how most of the plans she made for her adult life have worked out differently than she planned, but she’s ended up getting a lot of what she really wanted.
- Why First Grade Means Growing Up… for Both Me and My Daughter — Donna at Eco-Mothering discovers that her daughter’s transition into first grade is harder as a parent.
- First Year of Mothering — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot reflects on the quiet change that took her by surprise this year.
- Building the Community YOu Desire — A recent move has Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children working toward setting up a new support network.
- Slowing down in 2013 — A car fire and a surprise diagnosis of Down syndrome made 2013 a very different year than the one Crunchy Con Mommy and family were expecting!
- The Seven Year Cycle — After 7 intense years of baking, birthing and breastfeeding 6 kids, Zoie at TouchstoneZ wonders, “Will I be enough for what comes next?”
- Rebirth — Kellie of Our Mindful Life has found that each of her births leaves her a different person.
- When a Hobby Becomes a Business — This year, new doors opened for That Mama Gretchen‘s hobby of writing and blogging – it has turned into a side business. She’s sharing a bit about her journey and some helpful tips in case you’re interested in following the same path.
- 5 Tips for Embracing a Big Change in Your Family — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells about a big change in her family and shares tips that have always helped her family embrace changes.
- Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes — Ana at Panda & Ananaso ruminates on how having a child changed her priorities.
- Homeostasis — Lauren at Hobo Mama is finding that even as elements shift in her life — in cosleeping, homeschooling, breastfeeding, & more — they mostly remain very familiar.
- Sally go round the sun — A new baby brings joy and unexpected sadness for Douglas at Friendly Encounters, as she is diagnosed with a rare genetic condition.
- Embrace it — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen muses about the changes in her family this year and how she can embrace them . . . as best she can anyway.
- Big Change; Seamless but Big — Jorje of Momma Jorje shares how one of the biggest changes of her life was also a seamless transition.
- Celebrating Change — Change feeds Jaye Anne at Wide Awake, Half Asleep‘s soul. And all the work that seemed like monotonous nothingness finally pays off in a clear way.
Learn more about my eBook Montessori at Home or School: How to Teach Grace and Courtesy!
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