I miss journaling. Before I became a mother, I had all the time in the world to sit alone in silence with my trusty journal, my thoughts and life experiences to process it all. I have boxes of journals, chronicling the depths of my heart in various life seasons pre-motherhood. And then from 2016 on, there are a few scattered journals here and there with writing on maybe a page or two, but that’s it.
Before, I could sit for hours and weigh the pros and cons of switching jobs or whether or not to stay with my boyfriend, or perhaps what trip I wanted to take next. These days, I often don’t remember if I brushed my teeth or put on deodorant, which is frightening since we’re weighing big decisions like how much to contribute monthly to our retirement fund and creating blueprints for a home addition.
Perhaps the thing I miss most about journaling is how it kept me in touch and in tune with what I was living. Before, I felt fairly content passing through various life seasons because I was able to process it as I was going through it. But with motherhood, I see these significant changes happen in my soul each day as I raise my daughters, and I fear I’ve missed half of it. I’m growing and changing, but I’m reasonably sure I won’t know who I’ve become or turned into until my kids fly the nest. Is that normal? I’m telling myself yes. To everything there is a season, and this for me does not seem to be the season where I’m able to chronicle my thoughts in depth because instead, my mind and heart are occupied with things outside of myself (read: changing diapers and making PB&Js). And let’s be honest, if I find a free hour in the day, this mom’s going to take a nap!
Here are a few ways I’m filling the gap as I walk through this season of non-journaling:
- One Line a Day Journal: A friend of mine gifted me this journal, and I LOVE it. There’s no pressure for me to churn out a verbose journal entry each day. All I need to do is write a line or two about something I experienced that day. It could be something sweet my husband did for me, something cute one of the girls said, or describing the rage I felt at a particular situation … you get the picture. It may not seem like a lot, but at the end of the year, that’s 365 lines of text that can tell a pretty big story.
- Messenger or WhatsApp Voice Memos: I’ve come to learn that I’m a verbal processor, and given the text-heavy era we now live in, I find myself dying to get out of my own head. I love to send voice memos via Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp when talking to a dear friend. It helps me to speak things out loud.
- Photos: A picture’s worth a thousand words, right? I might not have the time to write long journal entries, but I DO have the time to snap photos and take videos with my phone. I’ve also invested in professional family photos and have them printed and placed around our home. Seeing tangible moments of the life we’re living, displayed right in front of my eyes, reminds me to take the pressure off myself of “feeling” everything there is to feel and just to try to enjoy my family and the beautiful people they’re becoming.
You may feel like I do, or you may find the hours in the day to journal just as you’d wish. No matter where you are today, fellow mom, I pray you find joy in the process and small ways to reflect on your life, even if you don’t have the same time you once did to digest it all.