I have a “mom hack” that I am certain will change your life as a parent if you’re someone who wants to document what’s happening in your life, but don’t know how. Three words: modern memory book.
I’d like to take credit for this idea, but I saw it from this commercial many years ago and tucked it away as a brilliant idea. I did coin the term though, so I’ll take all the credit for that.
When we found out we were pregnant with our rainbow baby several years ago, I was determined to document every single thing she did, good or bad. I wanted her to be able to recall anything and everything from her childhood.
Well, it was a great plan, but the reality was that by the time I got home and found the book, I had already forgotten details of what it was that I wanted to document. Thankfully, I remembered this commercial and created my version of a modern memory book.
The concept of this modern memory book is simple. You create an email account for your child (I prefer Gmail) and simply email them memories. The not so simple part? Finding an email address you liked. I struggled for a while with what email address to give my daughters. I wanted something unique, but also something useable in case they wanted to continue using the email into adulthood. (So, [email protected] was not a wise option; ahem, younger self.) Things became much clearer once my husband and I decided on a name for our daughters because I used a variation of their names to create the email accounts.
I started adding to the memory book with each week of my pregnancy. When I would email family and close friends updates on the pregnancy, cravings I had, reports from our doctors’ appointments, symptoms I was having, etc., I simply added our daughters’ email addresses, respectively, to the list of recipients.
Of course, this modern memory book works well for documenting momentous events like their births, monthly milestones, birthdays, but it’s great that even the small things can be documented without much hassle. I typically always have my phone on me so if one of the girls happens to do something memorable (though everything is memorable because I wanted to document everything, remember?!), all I have to do is snap a photo of it if I want and email the photo along with a description of whatever it was that they did.
Another great thing about this is that typical memory books can only hold photos, but the modern memory book can contain videos. And who doesn’t want to look back on the video of themselves at two years old running through the house naked because they didn’t want to take a bath? Our oldest currently has in her email videos of the first time she climbed the stairs by herself, when she discovered what bubbles are, and the very adorable way she used to say “ice cream.” Our youngest has videos of when she was born, her first time crawling, and the first time she genuinely smiled at us. I love that I’m able to capture videos and not just photos.
I’ve also gotten into the habit of emailing our daughters messages of encouragement that I hope one day will resonate with them. I also email them random thoughts I have that I think they may find helpful in the future, recipes of foods I’ve made that they love, and even what songs or toys they like at each stage of their lives. One email that I sent recently was an apology email to both girls from when I was having a particularly rough day and wasn’t patient with them. I hope they see through these emails, not just the happy-go-lucky moments, but the rough moments, too.
A handy feature that comes with this modern memory book is that I am able to do quick searches for memories. As our daughter Maeva was getting her first tooth, I couldn’t remember when Gracelyn got her first teeth, so I did a quick search for comparison. In case you were wondering, Gracelyn got her first tooth at nine months. Maeva got hers at seven months.
But what I like most about this modern memory book is that I am not the only one who can contribute to it. Our families, and friends know our daughters’ email addresses and can send them encouraging messages or memories they want the girls to remember forever. Because our village is helping to raise our girls, I want our village to contribute to their memories, too.
Our plan is that whenever we decide the girls are ready to have access to the internet, we will let them know about these modern memory books, share the passwords with them, and let them read through the thousands of emails they have received over the years from us and their family and friends. And of course, I plan to continue adding to their memory books for as long as I can.