Dear Brand New Mom,
There are some things during this newborn phase that you will likely want to quickly forget – but some things you will want to remember forever. But what about those details you didn’t know you’d want to remember?
I am a scrapbooker and photo historian by nature: I love taking pictures to remember things. However, it’s more than the photos that create the history, it’s the details. I didn’t realize I’d forgotten those details until I read or saw them again after going back and looking at 12 years of memories with my kids.
It’s unsolicited advice, but I would encourage you to document the small details of your day – if daily or weekly seems daunting, maybe it’s only once a month. You don’t need to be fancy to preserve memories: a bullet point list with a date will suffice. There are some great online journaling tools these days, your phone notes or calendar can also work great, or a paper journal. (Speaking from experience, I don’t recommend using post-it notes or scraps of paper that get piled on a desk somewhere….) Voice-to-text is an easy way to document them as you think of them. Digital versions have the added benefit of being able to search for specific details later if needed (When was that last ear infection? What was his first word?) Starting any sort of approach will help you remember to document your child’s story as well a way to recall it later. Tip: If you are doing this for more than one child, it can be helpful to also write that child’s name down, as some very confused parents can attest!
Some journaling ideas:
- Feelings you were having about parenting, baby, or life in general
- Baby’s activities – what are they doing with their bodies, voices, and expressions
- Doctor checkup notes
- Developmental milestones
- Baby’s arrival story
- What is happening in the world around you
- Fun family events
- Favorites and/or dislikes: books, foods, activities, toys
- Weekly or monthly photos with the same object (teddy bear, rocking chair, etc.)
Sometimes you know it’s a big milestone, and sometimes you don’t realize it until they’ve progressed past that point. Not only can journaling be a great tool for self-awareness but an added benefit is that you capture things that will fade from your memory as time passes.
My boys are not what I would call sentimental, but they really enjoy hearing about themselves when they were little. I try to keep up with the tradition as they grow – their shoe sizes, favorite colors, favorite toys or activities, or what they like to watch on TV. If I forget a year, it’s surprising to me how difficult it is to fill in the blanks.
A Mom Who’s Been There
About the Author
Jen Winckler is a Newborn PEPS leader in Snohomish County. She is a stay at home mom (aka. Volunteeraholic) to two boys, ages 12 and 10, and is still trying to navigate the constant curve balls that parenting dishes out. She used to dread the minivan driving soccer mom title, but has come to love watching her boys play their hearts out (and did sell the minivan as soon as they could open their own doors without banging the car in the next stall).