Writing has always been dear to my heart, and journaling has always been a therapeutic way of processing changes in my life. Both creative writing and journaling started for me at a young age. I’ve kept several journals on and off throughout the years, but I’ll never forget my first one—it was a beautiful, hard-bound diary with a watercolor teddy bear on the front cover and a silver wheel lock that you had to spin to reveal the correct letter combination in order to open it. My dad gave it to me as a gift as a young girl. I guarded it with my life and wrote down my deepest 9-year-old thoughts, continuing through the end of my teenage years. I do still have it, and I’ve flipped back through it on occasion—it never ceases to entertain, that’s for sure. It’s hilarious and heartbreaking and everything in between, and sometimes I wish I could reach into those pages and tell that (especially teenage) girl what I know now!
I haven’t journaled much at all in my adult years, but I knew I wanted to document everything about my baby’s first year. So I started keeping a daily journal specifically for that on January 1, 2014, as my New Year’s resolution. I was 7 months pregnant at the time, so it begins before my baby’s arrival (during the last few months of my pregnancy) and goes through present day.
Even though my baby recently turned 1, I haven’t stopped yet. Because, honestly, it’s one of the best decisions I made and I’m hoping I can persuade some other soon-to-be mamas to do it too! If you already have a little one, it’s never too late to start no matter where you are in your motherhood journey.
During my pregnancy, I wrote a few lines each day about preparing for baby’s arrival, OB checkups, how I was progressing, my excitement, what I was learning along the way, etc. Now I write a few lines each day about milestones reached, our daily activities, observations, my feelings, etc. I know I’ll be so glad to have this journal to look back on one day and remember every day of C’s first year and more. It’s a record of his timeline, our special moments, our everyday lives and my celebration of motherhood.
I love my journal too—this is the one I picked out specifically for this purpose, and I couldn’t be happier with it. The cover has Jeremiah 29:11 debossed into it, which you might remember is one of my favorite scriptures. Each page has an inspirational Bible verse at the bottom. I write one weeks’ worth of entries per page spread, and it ends up being the perfect amount of space to sum up my thoughts and the highlights of each day.
I actually started out with this one (there’s also a mom’s version), which I initially thought was great. And I still do, however, I quickly found out that I just couldn’t fit everything I wanted to write in the space allotted. Most people won’t have this problem—I relish the details—so it would be perfect for someone who wants to jot down a quick memory or milestone from each day. Plus you can compare the same day year after year over five years, which is pretty neat.
So are you ready to start journaling baby’s first year? Here are three tips for keeping up with your daily journaling:
- Try to sit down at the end of each day and write your entry while the memories of the day are still fresh in your mind. Every day with a baby brings something new, and it’s easy to forget what happened a couple of days ago, especially when you’re sleep-deprived.
- You’re not going to be able to make #1 happen every day. And that’s OK. Even if you can’t find the time to sit down and write, record notes for your daily entry somewhere. What I find helpful is keeping a running note on my iPhone. While I’m nursing C toward the end of the day, I type out a few quick reminders to jog my memory later. Then I’ll sometimes even write two or three entries at a time in my journal, which is really easy to do with my notes. There’s no way I would remember everything from even the day before otherwise. Mom brain is real.
- Keep going! If you get behind at first, catch up and keep it up. Don’t get discouraged early on. Once you get the hang of it and get a few months under your belt, you won’t want to stop. It will become a daily habit that you look forward to!
It might seem like a daunting or overwhelming task to keep up with a journal every day, but it will be worth it. I’m partial to pen and paper, but there are also electronic ways to do this, such as online journaling websites and even journaling apps you can use. Even a text document in a word processing program can serve as a journal. The important thing is keeping these memories of your child to fondly reflect back on one day. It’s gratifying! It would also make a nice gift for your child when he or she is older.
Your baby’s first year is filled with so many special moments. Keeping a daily journal will help you remember the little things that would have slipped your memory otherwise.
I hope you found a little encouragement to start a daily baby journal. Let me know if you already keep a journal for your kids or if you have other helpful tips for daily writing!
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