I've always been a firm believer that you should learn from your past mistakes, whether it's parenting, relationships, or that awful style trend you wore 15 years ago that's now back on the racks.
But there's also something to hearing advice from someone else, a person who's been there and done that and, in sharing their own self-reflection, might have a few helpful lessons that could make your life easier, better, or less embarrassing.
And that's exactly what you'll find here in my weekly column. First up: my thoughts on the dreaded, guilt-inducing, much-debatable baby book. And why you should do it differently than I did.
Back when my first daughter was born nine years ago, I bought the fancy schmancy keepsake baby book, and for the first few weeks, I filled it out, elegant pen and all.
Then I realized it was sort of lame, and time consuming, which is hilarious now that I have four kids and think to myself, "What was I so busy doing with one tiny baby?" So I bought a blank journal and just jotted down notes instead. First smiles, cute things she did ... it was brilliant!
I kept it up for the first year or so, and then started writing a blog, where I chronicled stories of her -- no pictures of her but enough that I felt like I'd have something to show her when she came to me in 20 years and asked me what she was like as a baby.
Then I had another kid. And a couple more. And while I kept up my blog and took photos every month for the first year, that brilliant journal got shoved in a bookshelf somewhere. And the sweet things my son and two subsequent daughters did ... well, they're gone now. All the funny things they said, the baby milestones they hit and when, the little tidbits of their first year and toddlerdom -- all completely evaporated into thin air.
And that just plain sucks.
If I could have a do-over, a chance to rewrite that part of their history, I'd keep the book, or at least I'd find something similar but easier to use so that I'd have all those memories. Those precious moments neatly stored away to look back on now that my children are so grown and I wonder where all the time has gone.
I mean, how long does it take to jot down a few sentences at the end of each day?
If I were to be a new mom now, I'd send an email to myself with the funny words or cute conversations we'd had, all marked with their names in the subject line and later dumped into a folder for each child that I'd created. All automatically dated and time stamped.
And I'd use something like a private blog or an app like DayOne, which I only recently discovered, that lets you take photos, jot notes, and print it all out.
Because as much as I used to think I'd remember everything about my children as babies, in reality, I don't have a lot of vivid memories at all. And I really wish I did.
Do you think it's a good idea to keep a baby book?
Image via Caitlinator/Flickr