Parenting journals are an excellent way for parents to process their thoughts and feelings about parenthood. They can help you reflect on your growth as a parent, integrate new awareness and insights, and stay present in the moment. If you're feeling overwhelmed or like you could use some help in the flexibility department, starting a parenting journal might be just what you need.
Before you get overwhelmed, scrap any preconceived notion you have that journaling has to be done daily. Checking in with yourself once a week in a parenting journal can still make a significant impact on your overall well-being.
Parenting Journal: Why I Started Writing One and How You Can Too
I'll be the first to admit that I used to be a pretty rigid parent. I had definite ideas about how things should be done and I wasn't always open to hearing other people's suggestions (no matter how well-meaning they might be). I quickly realized that rigidity was not going to work if I wanted to survive motherhood. So, I started looking for ways to become more flexible and journaling has been one of the most helpful tools in my parenting toolbox.
I started out parenting sure that through sheer force of will I’d be cool, calm and connected. All the time. And ha. HAHAHA. Not so much.
Probably that's been one of the most important lessons parenting keeps teaching me: healthy relationships aren't about being in some fixed, rigid state of being good. Healthy relationships are sustained through ongoing growth and learning. Rigidity makes for lot of frustration and shame, while curiosity and play open up so much opportunity for the connections we long for.
What is a Parenting Journal?
A parenting journal is simply a journal where you reflect on your parenting journey. It can be as simple as a notebook where you jot down your thoughts, or it can be an online blog where you share your experiences with other moms.
Just releasing some of your emotions through written words help you:
1. It allows you to process your emotions.
Parenting is an emotional roller coaster, and it's important to have a healthy outlet for all of those emotions. A parenting journal is the perfect place to vent, whether you're feeling frustrated, angry, or sad. Simply getting your emotions out on paper can help you feel better and improve your overall mental health.
2. It helps you gain clarity and perspective.
When you're in the thick of parenting, it can be hard to see the forest for the trees, so to speak. But when you take the time to sit down and write about your experiences, it's easier to gain clarity and perspective. This is especially true when you look back on old entries and see how far you've come as a parent (and as a person!).
3. It gives you a sense of control.
Parenting can be unpredictable and chaotic, which can often lead to feelings of anxiety and powerlessness. But when you have a parenting journal, you have a place where you can take back that control. You can document all of the things that are going right in your life—no matter how small they may seem—and remind yourself that you are capable of handling whatever comes your way.
4. It provides an outlet for creativity.
Creativity often takes a backseat to survival mode when you're a parent. But taking even just 10 minutes out of your day to write in your journal can help spark some much-needed creativity in your life. And who knows? You might even discover hidden talents or interests that you never knew you had!
5. It boosts your mood and self-esteem.
Parenting is hard work, and it's easy to forget the positive impact that we have on our children's lives. Journaling about the good moments—even if they seem insignificant at the time—can help boost your mood and give you a much-needed confidence boost…It's also nice to be able to look back on those moments when things are feeling tough. And remember that no matter what, we are doing our best.
Weekly Check-In Prompts for Your Parenting Journal
Here are 3 great questions to ask yourself each week. Approach them with curiosity and self-compassion and you'll be surprised how much of your own inner wisdom you can tap into.
I've started journaling on these questions each weekend and I'm also choosing a Parenting Secret Mission to go along with them to people on my email list. I invite you to play along with me; you can receive Parenting Secret Missions by subscribing here.
Take a moment to jot down answers to the following. Feel into the gratitude you have and to give yourself credit for things big and small that went well. Our brains love to solve problems, so it's easy to focus on things that went wrong. It's crucial to notice the stuff that was good too.
What went well this past week?
You might think of things you're grateful for, celebrations you had, ordinary wins, or moments of light in a dark day.
What was most challenging?
You might think of things that felt heavy, sad, confusing; times you wished for support; or on going issues that are making you long for a change.
What's important for family well-being for this coming week?
Think about your answers from the previous 2 questions. Remember, there's no need to solve everything at once! No need for perfection! Just check in with yourself and see if your joys or your struggles are telling you any thing you'd like to continue or to change.
Journaling helps me reflect on my growth as a parent and allows me to integrate new awareness and insights. It also helps me stay present in the moment and savor the good times (because, let's face it, there are a lot of hard moments in parenting too). If you're feeling like you could use a little help in the flexibility department, starting a parenting journal might be just what you need.
Best wishes and happy journaling!
Related Posts on Journaling and Personal Growth in Parenting:
- Growth Mindset in Relationships – the mindset shift that will transform your parenting
- 20 Self Discovery Journal Prompts for Parents
- Gratitude Journal Prompts for the Whole Year