“Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what. If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.”
-Catherine M. Wallace
This sentiment helped me survive the toddler years – many times tantrums could be avoided when I would get down on their level and simply listen. As nonsensical as they may have been at 2 years old, they just needed to feel heard! And now with older children, the “little stuff” is getting bigger, and I don’t want to miss anything. With the kids headed back to school, I thought I would share a sweet idea I have begun with my children: “Mom and Me” journals.
What is a “Mom and Me” Journal?
Well, it can be anything you want it to be! For me, it is a simple way to better communicate one-on-one with each of my children. My kids are both now old enough to both read and write (somewhat) legibly, so I decided this was a good time to start a special shared journal. I labeled one for each child, and wrote my plans for our shared journals, or “Mom and Me” journals on the first page:
“In this book, we will share messages, questions, thoughts, pictures, or whatever we feel like! I love you very much, and I am excited to begin our ‘Mom and Me’ books!”
Next, I wrote something special on the second page of their books, and left the journals on their beds. When the kids found their books, they were incredibly excited and ready to respond! After they responded, they placed the books on my bed, and the cycle continued.
Why did I start the “Mom and Me” journals?
Why did I start these shared journals with my children? It’s not like I don’t see them enough… If they are not in school or asleep, we are together! Of course, I would not consider all of that time as “quality time”. As a matter of fact, it feels like a lot of that time is spent in the car… going to and from school, activities, sports, etc. Sometimes we play games in the car, sometimes we tell jokes, sometimes the kids argue, sometimes they make “the most annoying sound in the world”, sometimes we just listen to music, and sometimes the kids ask me really hard questions. About life, death, birth, “bad words”, friendship, the list goes on. And, unfortunately, when I am in “Mom Taxi” mode, I don’t feel like I always give the best response. Which leads me to the reasons I started our books…
Reason #1: I have Introverted Tendencies
“An introvert generally prefers solitary activities to interacting with large groups of people. If you would rather work through your feelings in your diary than have a conversation, then you are an introvert.” (www.vocabulary.com)
Yep! I prefer to think things out throughly in my head before I respond. In general, my thoughts come out much more clearly through writing than in conversation.
Reason #2: One-on-One Time is Rare
Even though my children and I are together a lot, and I am very grateful for that, I do not get a lot of one-on-one time with each child. There is very little privacy and lots of interruptions in our house right now! I want each child to feel special and know that their thoughts, feelings, and questions are very important to me.
Reason #3: My Hope for the Future
Although I know this time fleeting, I love that my kids feel comfortable coming to me and asking anything. I want this to last! (Parents of pre-teens and teenagers, try to control your laughter). I hope these books make them feel comfortable to say whatever they feel – and it gives me a good chance to answer in a thoughtful way!
We have just started our “Mom and Me” books, but we have already asked a lot questions, drawn pictures, and said whatever we were thinking about and feeling. The kids are loving it, and so am I.
However, I could use some practice on my drawings of Pokemon characters… we have had a few good laughs at my expense!
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