we noticed – a mother’s journal
I remember sometime before we had our first child, dreaming about being the kind of mother who keeps a regular journal for each child. Aaaaand … that didn’t really happen. But I’m a scrapbooker. And for sure I’m a documenter. And I do plenty of journaling in those scrapbooks. So I’ve never viewed this as a “fail” – but rather a realization of the type of documenter that I am.
My favorite stories are the ones told with photographs.
And yet still … I have had this unrealistic desire to keep up with actual journals for each of the kids. Every day I could write paragraph after paragraph to each child. But reality is – there are a thousand other things that have to be done in any given day. One thing I notice as a mother is how easy it is to get caught up in the rigor of the day-to-day and sometimes let the most meaningful things slide.
I had a bit of an a-ha moment a few months ago that led me to the idea of how to actually keep up with a journal for each of our kids after all. They key? Simplify. Instead of viewing these as traditional journals with lots of streaming thoughts … the idea that came to me is that I would simply write ONE thing we noticed about that child each day. One thing. That’s all. Not a few paragraphs. Just one thing.
I call these our “We Noticed” journals.
And so I started. On January 1st this year.
Because my angle is absolute simplicity, this New Year’s resolution has been attainable. Doable. And extremely meaningful. It’s so much more than just writing something I noticed about each child each day. This very brief activity that has become a part of my nightly routine drives me to make a more conscientious effort to notice the little things about the greatest gifts we have – our children. I feel that photography achieves that goal similarly, and I do take pictures every single day. But this writing activity allows me to describe with words something about their personality, demeanor, character … that isn’t always easy to capture with a snapshot.
These are not some sort of secret journals that I plan to surprise the kids with when they’re 18. Porter, Claire, and Crew are aware of the journals – and that is intentional on my part. They know that at the end of each day I ponder about (and sometimes discuss with David) the little things they each said or did. And then I write it down. Once in a while they read through their own journal or have me read aloud to them. The content? Sometimes serious. Sometimes funny. Sometimes it’s a direct quote that they said that day. And once in a while … I want David to be the one who writes in the journals.
What a boost for children, right? I’m a firm believer that this is absolutely affirming for our kids.
So – the journals I chose? They’re designed by Greenroom and I picked them up at Target (where I tend to pick up all of my notebooks). Blue for Porter. Pink for Claire. Orange for Crew.
ADDED NOTE | AUGUST 2017:
I have filled these notebooks up a few times over and now that we have launched our own Simple Notebooks you better believe those are what I’ll be using next for our kids’ journals! Our notebooks can be found in our shop.
So how about that fancy label, right? Yep – I just printed their name with the “We noticed” title and … slapped it on the front of the notebook with a piece of packing tape. Done.
My philosophy with scrapbooking (as you know) – is that I can keep up with it … IF it’s SIMPLE. (Enter Project Life®.) Same goes for keeping these journals for my kids. In my world …
Simple = Done
A couple months into this goal and I’m going strong. Every day is the goal – the ideal. But do I miss a day or two here or there? Yep – sure do. I’m not aiming for perfection. I’m aiming for another way to connect with our children and strengthen our family bonds. I’m aiming to cultivate a good life by the little ways I choose to spend my time. I have a thousand ways to improve and I make a thousand mistakes everyday … but it’s the little stuff that adds up. And I’m trying.
PS – This idea is certainly applicable in other relationships besides parent-child. Have insight or additional ideas on this topic to share? Have a great source for awesome notebooks and journals? I’d love to hear.
At Home with Becky
This post is part of a weekly blog series called At Home with Becky. Each Wednesday, I share a little something from home – routines, organization, traditions, decor, etc. Coming up … a favorite family tradition that has nothing to do with a holiday, my absolute favorite gift wrap, and some healthy snack ideas. If ever you are interested in seeing all of these posts in one place, just click on that turquoise button at the top of my blog that says At Home with Becky.