One of my favorite things to do when I go to my childhood home to visit my mom is to pull open the drawer of the living room coffee table and dust off my baby book. Especially now that I am a mom myself, I love retracing my mom’s journey of motherhood. I was her oldest, and I feel even more so connected with her as I look at her handwriting in my baby book. I imagine her bleary eyed and sleepy when she wrote that I was nursing every other hour through the night at one month old. I picture her with excitement in her heart as she wrote down my first sentence, “I want book.”
My son, now 4 years old, climbed on my lap the last time we were there when I pulled out the baby book. He loved looking at my old photos, hearing stories from the book about me when I was small like him. Jackson, my son, lights up when we tell him stories about when we were small or when he was a baby. He’s got a sentimental heart, that one. He’s going to make a great husband.
But when I was pregnant, I admit that I felt overwhelmed when I thought of keeping up with all the memories in a baby book or blog. I knew that I wanted to preserve more than just the memories of first words and first haircuts; I also wanted to remember how I felt as a new mom, how this little boy stole my heart right from the beginning. But even as a writer myself, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to keep up a baby book.
If you are pregnant now and planning for how you will document your child’s milestones, you have come to the right place. I’m going to lay out a few options for you to consider. If you are already a mom and feeling overwhelmed with dates and activities, first teeth and first hospital visitors, no worries. The nice thing about documenting your child is that it doesn’t have to be perfect and you certainly don’t have to start out while you are pregnant. Your kids are going to love reading about their childhood through your eyes someday, no matter if you are a superstar writer or a post-it note scribbler.
Traditional Baby Books – You can find these handy books anywhere, and can pick which design best suits you. While I do keep a traditional baby book, I don’t necessarily follow the specific writing prompts within the book. I crossed out an entire page that was designated as “photos of my 2nd birthday” for paragraphs about Jackson at 2 years old and 2 and a half. I prefer jotting down funny things that he says on a page that was originally labeled as “my travels” and I didn’t complete that crazy tooth chart. I mean, how was I supposed to keep up with the date that his first year molars came in when we were both sleep deprived and cranky?
Family Blogs – If you’re not confident that you can keep up with pulling out a book and jotting down milestones, you might prefer a more modern option. Anyone can set up a family blog, and you can set your website to be public or private. If you opt for a private option, you can still invite your family members to follow along on your adventures with a few quick steps. Check out wordpress.com or blogspot.com to get started. With just a few clicks, you can easily add photos or videos to posts, and all of your memories are forever stored on the web.
Emails – I love the idea of setting up an email address for your child and sending him emails throughout his life. When he turns 18, or maybe when he becomes a dad himself, you can give him the password and he can sift through emails you sent when he was born, when he went to preschool, when you were nervous about his first starting basketball game. You can easily attach photos and videos here too, and this might be the most realistic option for many busy parents.
Dropbox or Cloud – Photos and videos from your phone or other digital device can sync automatically with programs such as Cloud or Dropbox. If you are more of a photo and video family, documenting your child’s life might be as simple as setting up a digital storage account.
No matter if you keep a journal, a baby book, a blog, or an envelope full of post-it notes, your child will love looking at how you documented their life. When it comes down to it, their baby book is just as much of a reminder of your parenthood journey as it is of their life. So get to documenting, Mama!
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