Friday, September 30, 2016

Documenting Motherhood

I have all kinds of strengths and weaknesses as a mom. I am no good at decorating a fun and inviting home atmosphere, and right now in this season I’m no good at housekeeping. I’m great at putting together healthy meals, terrible at birthday cakes. I don’t do parties but I do build living room blanket forts. I have a lot less patience than I’d like, but I’m extra sensitive and compassionate. I don’t sing well but I tell excellent stories.

One thing I think I really excel at is documenting all the precious (and occasionally the not-so-precious, though I really strive to keep it positive) parts of motherhood/childhood. I take pictures and videos, but I don’t think they capture the moment the way words do.

I have a one-line-a-day journal but I also try to write in my paper journal most days and I write in a special journal just for each of my kids about once a month. The one-line-a-day is just for fun but I really like having a journal for each of them (I think I’ll give them to them when they are having babies of their own someday) and then one for myself too. My mom sent me my baby book when I was expecting our first, but then last year she asked if she could have it back. It was fun for me to occasionally look back on it and see how big I was when I was my son’s age or to flip through the photos in it, but for the most part it just sat on a shelf. It was a lot more meaningful to my mom so when I sent it back I felt even more determined to properly document this time separately. They’ll each have something special, but I’ll also still have my own journal I can look back on someday. Sometimes I even just copy something out of one book and into the other.

I’ve been reading (and absolutely loving!) Writing Motherhood and feeling even better about my documenting skills this week so I thought I’d share some suggestions or ideas with all of you.

-Try a one-line-a-dayjournal. These are really fun. My morning routine is to read a daily devotional, pray, and write about the day before. It’s so fun to wake up each morning and see what we were up to on this day last year/two years ago. Things like “I’m pretty sure I am pregnant, even though the test was negative” and “Nice lazy Saturday at home today… snuggles, hot chocolate, and a million readings of Goodnight Moon” or “She said MAMA today!!!”

-Make lists. List out the favorite words your child says (or said), noises he/she makes, facial expressions… last week I read a suggestion in the book to list out each of the questions your child asks you one day. I did and it was super fun!

-Recount a special moment. Write a full account of a special morning or a park adventure.

-Make a prediction. I once wrote in my son's journal that I predicted he'd be very introverted. He was, for a while, and then he suddenly spread some gnarly social butterfly wings. Now I think it’ll be fun to look back when he’s older and see if my initial prediction was right or if he stayed extroverted.  

-Speak in fragments. Some days my journal entries are just a simple chunk of fragmented blessings. I write them as I pray up thanks, and then I tear up when I re-read them later. A recent journal excerpt: “Ryan home for half a morning. Silly kitchen dance while we sing NSYNC songs. Kids looking at us like we’re crazy. Husband snuggling my babies and reading them a story. The smell of strawberry french toast. Pink cheeks on a sleepy toddler. Sounds a baby makes breastfeeding. Sweet friend texting and calling me a good mom. Little ones on tip toes to peek out the window. Gummy smile and a big burp. Free book-buying binge, courtesy of the library.”

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