When people ask us if we are going to go for kid number five, I wish I could say, “No way, we’re done!” I envy people with that sense of certainty. I love babies so much (and being pregnant and giving birth and nursing and changing diapers — everything), that I’m afraid I’m always going to look longingly upon those beautiful round bellies.
And since my husband recently described us as “old, tired and poor,” I’m thinking my baby-making days are over. SIGH.
Not that how much children cost has ever been a factor in our decisions about family size, but it’s true that people with fewer (or no) children generally have more money. The government predicts it takes about $221,000 to raise a child from birth to age 18. But of course we all know that some parents are still babying their 40-year-old children (embarrassing!), so that figure could easily be close to double.
Since I suspected that our fourth child would also be our last, I have felt a particular urgency about recording all the delicious moments. I really don’t want to be one of those ladies in the grocery store that stop women with young children and plead, “Enjoy it now because the next thing you know, they’re in college!”
Who am I kidding? I’m still going to be one of those ladies. But to distract myself from my fate, I’m focusing on what’s in front of me: really cute kids.
Easy Ways to Remember Your Kid’s Childhood
Because giving birth has always been an earth-shaking experience for me (in a good way), I have done my best to write down my birth story for each of my children — from the first labor pains to the main event to those yummy days of pampering and bonding in the hospital.
This time around I’ve jotted down all the unique things that newborns do and say in what I call the Newborn Diaries.
With my older children, the most consistent thing I did was to record their first words and funny sayings on a piece of paper posted on the fridge.
But I’m excited about a new idea that I think could appeal to a lot of people — with kids or not: a sentence-a-day journal. Inspired by an interview by Meagan Francis with Gretchen Rubin, author of the Happiness Project, I decided to gift myself a ten-year line-a-day journal.
Being a terrible journal-keeper, I’m hoping that the miniscule scale of what I am asked to do will keep me on task. (Typically my problem is that, faced with a blank page every night, all it takes is a bad mood or an aching back to make me fall off the journal-wagon.)
After doing some online research, I selected Journal 10+ and Mom’s One Line a Day as my favorites. I ordered both and kept the big ugly ten-year diary for myself (I need elbow room!) and gave the compact, stylish five-year one to my friend, Cynthia, who just had her fifth baby. Yay, Cynthia!
I am posting pictures of both of them inside, since I found it hard to find that information online.
Of course there are much more frugal ways to make a line-a-day diary, but considering the urgency of this task and the fact that I am a known journal-lapser, I wanted to get something that seemed fun and purposeful to me so that I would stick with it.
Have I? It’s been a month, and I’m still faithful!
Last year I kept a line-a-day Twitter diary, called DiaryOfaMother, in which I had mixed success. A web-based diary is a good solution for someone who has a smart phone, but I’m usually unplugged. I did like how the accountability of a public diary helped keep me on track, and how it was easy to share with relatives. However, a pen and paper journal is more intimate and I love that I can climb in bed with it at the end of a long crazy day.
In the end I think the single-most important question to ask yourself when choosing a parent’s journal should be: which method am I most likely to stick with?
Do you record your life with children? What ways work for you?