Nobody warns you about "mom guilt" before you become a mom. Well, maybe they do, but it's probably not something you can fully understand until you're swimming/drowning in it. Ester was about three weeks, I was sitting on the bed nursing and someone texted me, it read, "did you write that in her baby book???" I lost it, nobody was present to witness my meltdown, well, except the tiny six-pound "bee bee", and she didn't mind.
All moms experience guilt, even the ones that tell you they have nothing to feel guilty about. In a way those seemingly composed moms are right, we shouldn't feel guilty, but we do, because we care. We care so deeply about our children that the thought of making one mistake or having any weaknesses seems unforgivable. But that's why we have grace, and in order to give grace we must receive grace. If you never wrote anything down in your child's baby book you're still a wonderful mother.
After my baby book meltdown I decided that I didn't want what a traditional baby book offered, and I realistically wouldn't be able to keep up with one. Plus, I didn't like the idea of opening up Ester's baby book and realizing I hadn't recored information about ______. Instead I decided that I would keep a journal.
I had already started a journal when I was pregnant. We went on a short road trip for my 31st birthday; we had just found out I was pregnant. On our way out of town we stopped at the store to grab a journal so I could write to our baby. I bought one of those huge five subject spiral notebooks, nothing pretty. I didn't write often, only occasionally, but I wanted something tangible that I could share with our children later in life.
Physically writing in Ester's journal was challenging early on, but it reassured me that I had a designated place to record stories, facts, thoughts, etc. Nursing her around the clock was hard, and when I had time to rest I didn't want to write, I wanted to watch TV or sleep. That's when I realized I could use my phone to journal, and I began typing little notes on my phone. Every few months I print the notes and tape them into her journal. It works really well. When our next child joins the family I won't make another journal I'll simply continue writing in the same journal. Once we're old and our children are grown I will make copies, with the added photos and other keepsakes. It will make a beautiful gift for them to treasure.
Our children may not be able to go back and see how much they weighed at a given age, but they'll be able to read stories about their lives. For example, I wrote about the weekend that we went to an outdoor family wedding and Ester had to chew the sunglasses of anyone who was holding her. (Even during the ceremony). By the end of the weekend everyone expected her to take their sunglasses off. It's just a silly but sweet story that I thought she'd like to read years from now.
All you need is a journal and a phone with a notes app. Someday you'll find the time to print your notes and add in pictures, cards, and other keepsakes. The journal could be something that the entire family shares together, and adds to as the days move along. Know and trust that you are a beautiful mama and you are doing your absolute best.
Happy Mother's Day!