Archive for August, 2010
My friend and fellow writer-mom, Melissa, asked me to write a guest blog for her, given she just gave birth at home to a big and beautiful baby boy (woohoo!). Here’s my guest post from her blog, Making Things Up…
Adrienne Rich wrote, “The moment of change is the only poem.”
Change is just so ripe. Ripe with the excitement of possibility. Ripe with the apprehension of the unknown. Change, of course, is our only true constancy in life.
And adding a new member to a family is one of the biggest changes there is.
My first job out of college, in the mid-1990’s, was as a consultant at a small firm in Washington, D.C. that worked exclusively for the federal government. I was brought in as a communication specialist to serve on the “change management” team for the EPA. We basically went in and trained employees how to best manage change in their midst (that is, until furloughs shut down both the government and our contract, and I went off to find a new job…).
Anyway, one tidbit I’ve never forgotten from my crash course in change management is that when one new member is added to a team, it becomes an entirely new team and is best treated as such.
In other words, research found that when a workplace team added a new member, but tried to keep things running exactly as before, just inserting that new member into the status quo, there was usually tension, a lack of productivity, or other negative factors. But, when the team saw itself as entirely new, expectations shifted toward change, and people tended to be more open, comfortable and productive.
I wonder if this concept translates to families? Is it not just a new family member, but an entirely new family, that is born when a baby arrives? Would siblings (and parents) handle the change better if they were introduced to the idea that they get to be new, too, when they get a new brother or sister (or child)? That the baby opens up a whole new set of possibilities for every family member to embrace, and a whole new dynamic to play in?
Would, then, the shift in schedules (because there’s now a thrice-napper in the midst), the quieter voices, the louder wails, the higher laundry pile, the sleepier Mom, seem any easier to glide with, if everyone saw their part as a new role on a new team? I invite Melissa to try it, and let me know.
Or, at least, I invite Melissa and her lovely family to savor the poem of change upon them, to dance its new dance, learn the notes of its new song. To remember, amidst the minor upheaval, the ripeness of this moment in which their new family of seven was born.
Feeling inspired — and a tad guilty for recent purchasing — by this New York Times article. Basically, it validates the point that buying stuff will not make us happy in the long-term. And simplifying might. Buying experiences gives more extended satisfaction than buying things. But good relationships — well, they are the magic key to happiness in this life. Of course they are. Now, back to working on this in real life…