Leaving a record for your children
by Jessica Blau
for Real Families, Real Fun
etting aside time to sit down alone and write is an impossible luxury. But carving just 15 minutes every few days to jot downthoughts, frustrations and dreams offers unexpected rewards. Simply "putting it to paper" can be relaxing and reassuring. Plus, when you read your entries later, you see your life from a fresh perspective. Don't be shocked if you discover that your life is pretty good, you do have a sense of humor, your spouse is still the person you fell in love with.
Another bonus to journal writing: Your weekly thoughts will offer an invaluable keepsake for your children -- or their children -- years from now. Unlike other hobbies, journal writing demands no expensive equipment; all you need is paper and a pen (although you might prefer a computer or a bound, blank book) and a sliver of time. Write on!
- Choose a time when you won't be interrupted. Lynda Hannan writes in the early afternoon when her four-year-old is in school and her two-year-old is napping. One California mom writes in the early afternoon when her two girls are at school and her son is napping. "I sit in the kitchen and turn off the ringer on thephone," she says. "And I never answer the door."
- Don't judge what you write. You are not submitting your journal to an editor, you are not even submitting it to your spouse; so forget about grammar, punctuation and spelling. The only person who needs to decipher your writing is you (unless you choose to share).
- Write anything. If nothing comes to mind, write, "Nothing comes to mind." Eventually those words will lead you to other words until, before you know it, fifteen minutes later and you've written a paragraph. Don't discount yourself as uninteresting because you aren't running a country or starring in the latest blockbuster. A diatribe about the inefficiency of your dishwasher is a perfectly suitable journal entry.
- Writing should not be another item on your endless "To Do" list. Think of it as an escape -- a needed act that entitles you to a pocket of writing time three or four times a week. If you skip a day, or even a week, you can always pick it up and start again. Remember not to pressure yourself to fill in the blanks between entries. One busy mother says, "I have given myself permission to write short quips and thoughts without explaining everything around it."
Filling the pages
Don't know where to begin? Write the date at the top of the page and complete the following sentences, then let your thoughts take you in any direction.
- One of the most joyful moments I've had with my children was when...
- The time I feel most loved by my spouse is when he/she ...
- I realize that I am __ years old, but inside I feel like am ___ because ...
TAKE IT FROM ME:
I always end each journal entry by writing how much I love my children. . . If they get anything out of these journals, I hope it will be how deep my love is for them. --Aileen Steigerwald
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