While my “dear diary” days are long gone, each day of motherhood brings moments I could write multiple-page diary entries about.
Back then, I’d write about my silly feelings and would quickly lock that sucker up so no one could read the words I’d written. Funny how I’ve now become an “open book.” Those long, run-on sentences about playground crushes and daily events of elementary school are nothing compared to my worries today.
As a mother, each day brings its own share of new stressors, crazy scenarios, and, for me, spur-of-the-moment intrusive and anxious thoughts.
No one has ever said that motherhood is easy, and while we all know that, sometimes, we need to vent.
We need to escape.
We need to release our emotions, and what better way than to write down your thoughts?
Luckily, I have the perfect solution for you…or at least, somewhere to start.
Studies prove journaling to be a self-care practice that helps your body, both mentally and physically. It’s become a type of at-home therapy.
Things journaling can help with:
- Gaining self-confidence
- Encourages opening-up
- Helps to achieve goals
- Improves writing and communication skills
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Tracks personal progress and growth
- Improves awareness of your own thoughts and feelings
I’m not sure if it is my recent Google searches or discussions aloud about journaling in the presence of my iPhone (because we all know about those targeting ads), but my Instagram feed has been filled lately with journal prompts, new styles of journaling, and even mom-specific journals.
I’ve journaled before. I jotted down emotions and wrote letters before, during, and after my miscarriage. I journaled through my terrifying subsequent pregnancy with our twins and I’ve journaled through other hard times.
But it wasn’t until just recently that I realized I could journal about the good times, too.
My dresser is full of guided journals and colorful notebook-style journals, some college-ruled lined pages, and some wide-ruled lined pages. Some of the journals are full, some are completely empty, and some have random words jotted about, but each book captures and holds a moment in time of my life, mostly the struggles, but also some joy.
Over the past five years of motherhood, my internal chatter has become overwhelming at times, and I’ve found that writing, if even a little bit, seems to help me find some calm in the chaos.
If you are wondering where to start, grab a notebook, a pen and write. Whatever it is that comes to your mama mind, write it down. Journaling should be low-pressure. This is not a time for you to worry about grammar, spelling, or the length of your journal entry. It certainly does not have to be beautiful. Your main goal is to get your feelings and emotions on paper before you forget them.
Being a mom doesn’t necessarily provide many moments of silence for anything, especially any type of introspection. So, I recommend trying to find a few moments to journal whenever you can. Some moms are able to get their thoughts jotted down while eating lunch, waiting in the doctor’s office or car lines, watching their kids play at the playground, or even just before they turn the lights off for the night. I prefer to be alone in a quiet space or in my comfy bed when I journal, but each person is different.
Writing should be an enjoyable experience and should definitely not feel like a chore.
For me, writing before bed allows me to reflect on that day or that specific date in the past and release some of my anxious thoughts before I go to sleep. Because I am certainly a night owl, I take this as my opportunity to begin my winding down process.
As with every new self-care activity, it takes time to create a habit. Depending on your current stage of “mom life,” your journaling practice may be daily, weekly, monthly, or whenever the heck you can.
As mothers, our thoughts, emotions, and feelings matter. If you give them the space to come alive, you will undoubtedly begin to feel more in control of your life, or at least of your thoughts.
Currently, I prefer guided journals, suggested prompt journals, and gratitude journals (it is important for me to remember the positives in life, too). No matter what type of journaling you decide to begin with, remember there are no rights or wrongs. It is truly all up to you. Please don’t be afraid to change things up or try a different style of journaling if you feel your current style isn’t working.
Remember, this is to benefit you!
A last little bit to this journaling post is that I’ve recently learned how to turn some of my small journal pieces into more poetic passages. Through my sister-in-law’s, Stephanie’s, newest adventure hosting poetry circles with her degree-level knowledge at Lovelock Healing Arts: A Wellness Collective, I’ve made a fluid connection between journaling and writing poetry. I can now allow my brain to write whatever it feels at the time. If you feel like you could be inspired by like-minded people, with no requirement to share, please look into her next workshop.
So what are you waiting for? Have fun picking out supplies (pens are my favorite), then get started!
When and with whom do you feel your best?
How could you be taking better care of yourself?
What is something you’ve done as a mom that you said you would never do?
What is something you have recently done that you are proud of?
These are some of the most recommended journals for moms, and I hope these will help you on the road to capturing your thoughts in the best way for you.
Daily Gratitude Journal for Women
One Question a Day for Moms: A Five-Year Journal: Daily Reflections on Motherhood
The Honest Mom Journal: The Struggling Mom’s Guide to Struggling Less
Hey Girl! Self-Love Journal for Women
I hope you take my advice to treat yourself with this new form of self-care because you deserve it, mamas.