10 Simple Memory Keeping Ideas… Just for Moms!

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The first day of school is behind us.

In this early morning quiet, I take this in in two breaths.

One for the worries and hopes and fingers crossed that things will go well for my kids. That they’ll love their teachers and enjoy their work, that their friends will be kind and that they will be, too.

And one for the relief that comes with a truly sweet start to the school year. This exhale is golden.

The night before school started I set out their new clothes and glittery headbands, I lined up their backpacks and sneakers – each set slightly smaller than the one before it. In the morning, my husband and I made a special breakfast, packed a solid lunch, and baked a sweet after school treat.

I flip through these moments in my photo stream, my Facebook thread, my Instagram account. The story of my children’s first day of school is told and documented there.

There’s a lot of talk about the digital footprint we moms make for our children today. What our mothers and grandmothers did for us with printed photos slipped between the pages of thick photo albums that barely closed, we do online.

Our kids will be able to look back and read their stories, our thoughts, how we felt as new moms, how tightly we cherished their laced fingers and morning eyes and sun-kissed cheeks. The day we learned to let go, the moment we realized we had to.

And I truly believe with every nook and cranny of my heart that these are the gifts we offer our children – their archived memories, one (digital) moment at a time. 

But somewhere in there, our own stories lie. Our hopes and goals and habits. The ways we’ve changed, the ways we’ve realized that we never will.

But somewhere in there, our own stories lie. Our hopes and goals and habits. The ways we’ve changed, the ways we’ve realized that we never will. How we find our happy, what makes us grateful. What brings us pause and awe and beauty.

How we find our happy, what makes us grateful. What brings us pause and awe and beauty.

When I was a classroom teacher, there was a parent who always found a way to slip her ‘Self' into every conversation. “I’m not just a mom…” she’d often say. And I’ll admit that I found this off putting. I was young and new and didn’t understand that puzzle pieced to the small moments that make motherhood so all encompassing is the danger of losing our own stories.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

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Here’s how.

{ MORE: Gratitude Journals }

Mothers archive their families’ stories via Facebook and Instagram, blogs and scrapbooks. The photos on the wall, and in the photo streams, tell our children’s stories.

This year, I’m going to try one – or more? — of these unique, simple, and creative ways to tell my own story.

It, too, is worth telling, and reading.

10 Simple Memory Keeping Ideas… Just for Moms!

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Image via Karen Walrond from Chookooloonks.com

Give Creative Journaling a Try

Karen Walrond is a speaker, author, and photographer. She's also the stunning inspiration behind BlogHer's Own Your Beauty campaign and the voice behind creative journaling. In her own words, Karen's daily journaling comes down to this, “I just look at my journal as a place to record my life — my messy, disorganized life, with its half-thoughts, and to-do lists and scrawled messages and the occasional fortune-cookie fortune or found photograph — the end result pretty much accomplishes the recording, chronicling purpose, doesn't it?”

This creative journal truly tells your story, without the burden of too much structure on what we know is already a full plate. To learn more about creative journaling visit Chookooloonks

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Image via MommyShorts.com

Recreate Loved Photos

Ilana Wiles writes the popular humor blog, Mommy Shorts, which chronicles her life as a working mom raising two little girls in New York City. She's also the inspiration behind a heart-warming trend — recreating well loved photos. Ilana says, “This photo of my mom, my sister, and me was always a favorite of mine. I've had it framed in my home for as long as I can remember. As soon as I found out I was having another girl, I knew I had to recreate it. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity!”
 
I couldn't possibly agree more. Take the opportunity with old photos that you love — wedding photos, photos with siblings, mother-daughter photos, even friendship photos — with old and new versions framed side by side. These will thread the past and present of your story and warm your heart all at once. 
 
To find out more about how Ilana recreated the photo above, visit Mommy Shorts

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Image via Familiar.com

Get Your Modern On with Familiar

Familiar is a cutting edge photo sharing site billed as the 21st century photo frame. With the option to share video clips and personalized photo montages, it's slick, easy to use, and gaining popularity quickly. Consider using Familiar to create montages and videos that you're in — that's the important part. Archiving your story with you actually in it is an amazing way to use technology!

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Or Go Traditional with a Planner

Before my husband and I got iPhones that automatically synchronized our schedules and commitments, I kept our family (mostly) on track with a monthly calendar. I saved these calendars and love looking back at who we made plans with, where we went on family outings, and what I deemed calendar-worthy from year to year.

In this vein, I recently bought a pretty monthly calendar to record my work assignments, plans with friends, date nights, and appointments. Seeing my story told one monthly glance at a time is fun, simple, and, if I'm being honest, yet another attempt to stay organized!

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Set — and Reach — a Goal

I was once told that where your mind wanders when you're showering or going to the bathroom is what you really want to be doing. If that doesn't work for you, then dig deep in your own way and figure out exactly where your passion lies. Do you want to write that book, run that race, or figure out how to work from home? Then write that goal down and research what steps you need to take to get there. Commit one Facebook status, Instagram photo, or one journal entry a week to chronicling exactly how you reached your goal.

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Image via Amazon

Keep a Ticket Stub Diary

Do you remember the last movie you went to? Concert you danced at? Play you swooned for? These kinds of outings — as date nights or girl time — feed our souls. Keep a lovely nostalgia-inducing record of these with this sweet Ticket Stub Diary. Slip a ticket inside each slot, and tell your story one adventure at a time.

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Keep a Books Read List

Years ago I was a in a book club with the women I worked with. One of the women kept a small moleskin notebook with all of the books the group had ever read listed on its pretty pages. While I lost touch with the group, I've always remembered this idea.

Books inspire us in so many ways and reveal what's affecting our thoughts, feelings, and learnings. Consider listing the books you read in a pretty notebook. This list can be as simple as a date and a title. Adding what you thought of the book or whether you abandoned it is optional, and deliciously revealing!

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Image via Blurb.com

Create a Recipe Book

Above my dining room table I have the words, “The greatest memories are made gathered around the table” printed on the wall. The pretty script makes me smile every time I see it, because with every fiber of my being I believe it's true. We make memories over food. It's how we break bread, toast accomplishments, offer comfort, and show love. Create a recipe book archiving your favorite family meals, best loved desserts, most creative cocktails, or even your holiday go-to recipes. Telling your story via food is a scrumptious way to go!

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Image via ThePleatedPoppy.com

What I Wore Wednesday

Lindsey is a mom of three kids who works from home and has a handmade business. She's also the blogger behind The Pleated Poppy and the popular link-up What I Wore Wednesday. Lindsey started WIWW to motivate herself to get out of yoga pants and pajamas and the idea has really taken off from there with many women chronicling their weekly look — together!

In the ultimate move in owning your look, and your story, get in front of the camera and take a weekly photo of just you. Fashion is a wonderful way to tell the story of the times and seeing side by side weekly photos of you will truly tell what was going on in your story week by week!

To find out more about What I Wore Wednesday visit The Pleated Poppy.

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Use Your Words

Kate Hopper is a writer, teacher, editor, and mother who writes about motherhood. Her first book, Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers, teaches readers how to find the heart of their writing, learn to use motherhood as a lens through which to write the world, and turn their motherhood stories into art. Filled with poignant essays and writing exercises, this book is a perfect writing kickstart for any mother.

To learn more about Kate's writing guide for mothers, check out Use Your Words.

{ MORE:  6 Books All Women Must Read }

How do you preserve your memories? 

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10 Simple Memory Keeping Ideas… Just for Moms!

Galit Breen is the bestselling author of Kindness Wins, a simple guide to teaching your child to be kind online; the TEDx Talk, “Raising a digital kid without having been one”; the online course Raise Your Digital Kid™; and the Facebook group The Savvy Parents Club. She believes you can get your child a phone and still create a grass-beneath-their-bare-feet childhood for them. Galit’s writing has been featured on The Huffington Post; The Washington Post; Buzzfeed; TIME; and more. She liv ... More

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5 comments

  1. LOVE LOVE LOVE! Can’t wait to do these with my son!

  2. ProudMomma says:

    I think these are all helpful ideas.

  3. Tip #5 has inspired me to keep a journal behind the toilette for my partner and I to share passing thoughts. Hopefully the silly setting will inspire him to write things down every once in a while! Thanks, Galit!

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