Transition // Real + Raw

So excited to launch this new series " real + raw " where women alike will be able to share their honest (and sometimes not so pretty) parts of life. We'll have a new topic each month, from motherhood to divorce and everything in between. So whether you have babies, no babies, grown children or living it up in the single world  - this space is for you! And with that, we'll introduce our first guest and topic!

As seasons change from summer to fall, we thought it would be fitting to explore the idea of transition and how that affects us women and even more children. Some of us don't mind change at all, we all have friends or family who often embrace it. However, how many of us really find it hard to be in that uncomfortable middle ground?

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We have a very special gust blogger joining us today to share her thoughts on this...please welcome Rebecca Gallop (new mama of three) from "A Daily Something".

Thanks so much Rebecca for taking time to share with us today - to start with, tell us a little about yourself! (kids, married, what do you do, favorites, etc.)

"Thanks so much for having me! I'm so thrilled to be sharing a little about my life and family! I'm married to my college sweetheart and we have 3 little ones: Zoe (4), Naomi (2.5), and Joseph (1 month). We live in a quaint little 1920s farmhouse in Northern VA, just north of Washington, DC. I'm a full time mom and as much as I can be, a full time blogger at A Daily Something (which was started in 2011). I also founded A Daily Gathering in 2014, which is an ongoing series of seasonal dinners, retreats, and workshops! This year we've had a decent amount of change: we added baby number 3 to our family, we've started homeschooling, a family member had a severe stroke which meant a lot of travel for us, and my husband is in a transition period with his work! Lots to learn and navigate through as a family of 5!"

We are talking on the topic of transition in life, and curious as to how you handle change in your life? (job change, moving, friendship change, etc.)

"I'm a creature of comfort and don't always readily embrace change. Our home is on the small side (1150 sq ft) and all 3 kids will have to share a bedroom, but I'm so in love with our little space and the home we've created that I cannot ever imagine moving, even if it makes sense for our rapidly expanding family. It's mostly the idea of change that I  shun, and once change does come, I like to think I adjust pretty well. Once you accept that the change is going to occur, it's easier to move on and adjust your life as needed. So I think acceptance is key. And then positive moving forward."

And to follow that up, can you remember a time in your life when you experienced significant change? As you look back on it now, do you recall how you felt in the moment? 

"One of the most significant changes in my adult life is when we had our first child. My husband and I both come from large families, so we figured we'd transition pretty easily to parenthood. Our first night home as a family of three with that teeny tiny little newborn was intense and oh-so-difficult. The weight and intensity of the situation - that we were solely responsible for keeping this little human alive and caring for all her needs - overwhelmed us. That first night was rough, to say the least, and in that moment, we didn't think we'd ever recover or adjust to parenthood. 

Learning how to "do life" with a baby ...all the planning, packing, took a lot getting used to and learning what our new lives looked like. You prepare as much as you can over the 9 months of pregnancy, but there's only so much actual preparing you can do. Going from 0 to 1 child changed our lives completely (for the better, arguably). In the moment, we were so surprised by that sudden change. But parenthood is a delight and we are oh-so-happy to be in the midst of it. You learn, you adjust, you readjust, you compromise, you readjust some more." 

As we switch gears a bit - since you are a mama, how do your children handle change? and what are some ways you help assist them when they might be feeling uncomfortable or nervous/scared in new situations?

"My children haven't had to handle too much change in their 4 and 2.5 years. Welcoming baby no. 3 into our family has been the biggest change for them, and so far, things have gone so, so well! Naomi, my 2 year old, went from being the youngest and our baby to being the middle child. I was a bit worried how she'd adjust, and she has had a few moments where she's struggled for my attention or reverted to baby-like behavior, but she's really loved having a baby brother to dote on. Our biggest problem is her inability to realize her strength when loving on her brother. :) And Zoe, my 4 year old, has solidly claimed her role as oldest and biggest sister. She's actually a huge help around the house and has really embraced this change. She thinks she's baby's second mama. ;) Some of the steps we've taken to help our children adjust to change:

+ We've been intentional about taking the time to devote to each of our girls, without baby brother. This might be running errands together or reading a book while brother is napping. Or waking up early and eating breakfast together. It's important for them to know that mommy still has the time to spend with them and that my life doesn't revolve exclusively around the newest addition. 

+ We've tried to come up with ways to involve the girls with our change. We've given them special jobs and tasks to make them feel more important, while helping out with the baby. Things like assisting with bath time, bringing diapers and wipes when we're changing diapers, helping to button outfits, bouncing the lounger, pacifier duty, etc. When they are helping, they feel very important, and because they're actively involved, they're not being neglected. 

+ We prepared them for the change (in this case, a new brother) in advance and gave them something to look forward to. We really played up the "you're going to be a BIG sister" and "you're going to be a big helper" before he arrived. We talked about how they would help and what nicknames they would give him and how we'd dress him, etc. all before he arrived. 

+ We've encouraged use of a "transition toy". Here, they have their baby dolls, and frequently while I'm nursing, changing, bathing, dressing, etc., their baby brother, they do the same with their dolls. It's precious to watch them carefully swaddle and rock to sleep their dolls while I do the same with their brother."

Do you have advice you can give to new mother's who lives are about to drastically change by entering the new season of life we call motherhood?

"Don't worry too much! Life will feel so intense at moments, but don't get discouraged by your temporary situation. You'll constantly be going through seasons of change as a parent. You get into a great rhythm, and then something changes and baby doesn't need to sleep as much or needs to eat more. Each season has its ups and downs and I think motherhood is all about learning how to navigate the change and live life well!"

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