Someone once told me the days are long, but the years are short.
By someone, I mean literally every mother I’ve ever met.
My daughter turns two next month, and I’m going to say something revolutionary: these have been two loooong years. That’s right—I don’t think the years seem any shorter than they have the rest of my adult life. And I think that’s thanks in part to my habit of writing down memories.
When I flip through everything I’ve written about my daughter, the pages and pages of notes and stories leave me feeling like we have lived. The tangible, written memories of long lazy days at home remind me of the long hours that seemed like they would never end.
I highly recommend writing about your parenting experiences, whether it’s for memory preservation, therapy, or to magically slow down time. Here are five tips to make it easier:
Carve out your writing space
It might be a dedicated desk. It could be your kitchen table, 20 minutes before your kids wake up. Or maybe it’s your favorite coffee shop at 4:15 every Sunday. Pick a time and place—no matter how humble—and dedicate it to writing.
If all else fails, take five minutes out of your day, wherever you are, to write—and I use that word loosely. Jot a few words in the notes app on your phone. Use bluetooth to record a voice memo while you’re driving. You can flesh out the memories later.
Consider your materials
Mom’s One Line a Day. Q&A a Day for Moms. My prudent advice. These are just some of the “fill in the blank” style journals out there for moms, so if you like a prompt, you’re in luck. But a blank notebook isn’t as intimidating as you think. It’s perfect for quotes, song lyrics, poems, and terrible drawings—all of which qualify as writing!
Reading about someone else’s motherhood experience is the best way to get inspiration. You’ll read a story about losing batteries and think, I had no idea such a mundane thing could make such a good story. Other than the wonderful stories here at TCMB, I recommend Coffee and Crumbs, Design for Mankind, and the book Catastrophic Happiness.
Use your photos
I can recite these words more easily than I can recite the opening lines of Goodnight Moon: “There is not enough available storage to take a photo.” You too?
First of all, sign up for Google Photos, back those adorable pictures up, and delete them off your phone.
Then, pick a time — daily, weekly, monthly? — to go through your photos and use them as prompts. When I’m at a loss for words, my pictures never fail to remind me of a story, moment, or lesson worth jotting down.
As a bonus, the Google Photos search feature is amazing. Let’s say you want to write about your little one’s experiences with snow—search “snow” and pull up every photo you’ve ever taken of snow to jog your memory.
Find a community
Gather your mama friends at a local coffee shop, armed with some prompts (in Minneapolis, I recommend this coffee shop that also serves up the hard stuff.). If you can, join an online community like Year of Creativity. Participate in Instagram prompts and challenges. Everything is more fun surrounded by community!