As a working mom, with side pursuits like achieving financial independence, it’s hard to find the time to document the kids’ development. It takes a great deal of prioritizing and mindfulness just to remember to take in each new day with them – to put aside the stressful obligations on your mind and watch, listen, and engage. I feel somewhat accomplished with respect to my careful observation and enjoyment of the daily changes and growth in my children.
One thing that always seemed to bother me was those baby books. In the beginning, the information was filled in with careful handwriting and descriptive detail. As time goes on, however, more and more pages remain blank. And let’s be brutally honest: if you don’t fill in those blanks about “my newest adventure” at eight months old (as opposed to seven months old) there is no way you are going to be able to come up with that information in the future. Part of the problem was my perfectionist tendencies. I wanted to make sure that the longer entries (ex. birth story) were carefully drafted and revised before being penned in ink. Days, weeks, and months went by and I never took the time to craft those perfect essays. Many precious memories were lost to time as a result.
The third little one’s due date is quickly approaching and we’ve been considering the necessary baby gear. One item that I’m tempted to omit from the list is a traditional baby book. Goofball and Tornado’s baby books had not been touched in the past year, or more. But that doesn’t mean that there is no record of their development (besides the thousands of pictures on my phone). Instead, I started writing in my “Mommy Journal.”
It is a simple, cheap, little notebook with a variety of information about my two little ones. It is so much easier than trying to remember specific dates for when reached certain developmental milestones. I just jot down a little note when they do or say something funny, sweet, or otherwise impressive. It is not necessarily in chronological order either. Just the other day, I added an entry about what Goofball did way back before his sister was born. There is a song (Stompa by Serena Rider) that played on the radio often while we were driving to and/or from daycare. He would clap his hands and stomp his feet along with the lyrics of the song. I heard that song the other day and made a quick record of this happy memory in my Mommy Journal, to make sure that I never forget it. There are notes of little things – like how Goofball still says “lellow” instead of yellow, or how Tornado tells me everyday that she ate pizza for lunch at school.
There are longer entries too. On nights when I find myself reflecting on a wonderful day spent together as a family, I include a long description with many details to hopefully jog my memory years from now. These longer essays about my children wouldn’t fit in the spaces provided by a generic baby book. My hope is that these journal entries will be much more meaningful years from now, as compared to fill-in-the-blank responses to impersonal topics.
My Mommy Journal has truly helped me on my mission to “do it all” and decreased the mommy guilt. Also, I’m pretty sure that this little notebook was purchased at the dollar store, so there’s no excuse not to give it a try. Just imagine how wonderful it will be to read from a silly conversation with your toddler when he’s about to leave for college.