In the first few years of motherhood, I would look at all that “other mothers” were doing and feel completely inadequate. I didn’t scrapbook, which was all the rage when my oldest child was first born. I didn’t make grand displays of cute pictures all over my house, and I didn’t keep detailed, daily memory books. I know, I know…fail!
I admire the mothers that do these things for their children. They are giving their kids such a gift, but over the last nine years, I’ve lightened up on myself a lot, and I have realized that what works for other mothers isn’t necessarily what works for me and that’s ok! And in the process of mothering, I’ve found what works for me: simple things that don’t take much time or effort. The truth is that there are quite a few ways to document your children’s lives without taking a lot of time. And guess what? A few times, I’ve even cheated and gone back a few years to document things that I missed. So no worries if you are in a stage of life where you just can’t do these things for your kids. It will come back to you one day when you do have time to write it all down. Today, I wanted to share with you a few ideas to document your children’s lives that don’t take much time.
1. Social Media: Yeah, I know the stigma it’s getting, and I know all about over-sharing. You and your family have to decide how much you will share, but in my early days when I had multiple babies and little ones, I was so very thankful for social media. I could grab my phone, post something cute or funny that my kids did, and have it saved. That way, a few years down the road, when I have a little breathing room, I can actually write it down. By the way, I’m hanging out on Twitter now too-I’m so fancy! Look me up! @deanadwood
2. Birthday Journals: I can’t write all the cute things and big accomplishments my kids have made each and every day, but I can take time one day per year, on their birthday, to write about their year. I keep a journal for each of my kids and every year on their birthday, I write about all the big things that happened, I scan through Facebook and write down all the cute stuff I want to remember, and I write about all their likes and dislikes.
3. Jar of Memories: I’ve never done this, but I have a friend who does this every year, and I think it’s such a great idea. Keep a jar and a stack of blank slips of paper handy. When something memorable happens, write it down and stick it in the jar. At the end of the year, take the slips out and read all the memorable moments of the year together. If you’re really crafty, you could even make something artsy with all the slips of paper.
4. Calendar Memories: I keep a planner and always have. These days it’s too full of stuff to do, but back when my calendar was less full, I would jot down memorable things that my kiddos said in the day boxes, just so I would remember it and look back at the end of the year.
5. Photo Books: It has been said that our generation takes the most pictures yet will have the least photographs. The problem is that we don’t have our photographs printed. Each year, I suggest making photo books. Services like Shutterfly and Groove Book are great services where you can easily unload all your Facebook or phone photos and have them made into a book. Groove Book is very reasonable in price too.
6. Blogs: My very first blog was just a place to document what was happening with Isaac. It grew from there, but at the heart of every blog post, has been my desire to leave a time capsule of my thoughts and my family at each particular stage in life. Blogs are easy to do, and you can even adjust the privacy settings so that they are just for you or just for you and those you give access to. Check out Blogger or WordPress to start your own. It takes about 15 minutes and you’ll have your first post up and running!
I don’t do all these things. I will tell you, I use social media, my blog, and birthday journals faithfully. If you are just starting out though, pick one thing that resonates with you, one thing that you think is doable. And if you are a mom with babies, I know that stage! It doesn’t last forever. Don’t worry if you don’t do all the neat things to document your kids’ lives. One day, you’ll have a chance to catch up. And you won’t forget everything! And in the meantime, talk about the sweet memories often, even if you have to tell them to your baby! Talking about those memories will keep them alive until you can get them on paper.
What are some things you do to preserve memories of your kids?