What parent hasn’t shared stories about what their kids do and say? And what parent hasn’t been asked, Are you writing this down? (Or taking audio/video/photo, if one is so deft as to unobtrusively capture the moments.) And what parent has not thought, this is a tiny fraction of all the momentous, insightful and often incredible things that we see and hear from our little one.
I kept a pretty detailed journal in the early years of motherhood, but later I found it harder and harder to keep up. Partly because the most attractive feature of the diary, the quiet place where I could be alone with my thoughts and which I could carry around like a book, was also its weakness. Why? I rarely had my diary and a decent pen on hand when I had something exciting to write.
I should confess that once I select a blank journal to be my diary, I use only good pens to pour my thoughts onto the page. I also like to have a place to sit for a nice long time but have had to adjust my expectations.
Typing, in contrast, is not burdened with aesthetic expectations. I found that if I thought of something I wanted to keep, I could type in whatever window was open on my computer at the time. I could dash off an email – maybe to my parents, or to my sister or sister-in-law. Sometimes I would never finish the mail and it would just sit in saved drafts. Or I would not even send it to anyone, just keep saving notepad files with names like may10_tmp.
Then I found a way to turn these various emails, drafts, notepad files and other scraps of text into a diary, all in once place. WordPress! If you sign up for a blog, wordpress allows you to update by email. Just send a email to the unique email id that it assigns you (bcc when writing to family / friends, or their reply-all messages will get posted to the blog as well). The body of the mail appears as a blog post, with your subject line as the title. You can attach pictures and they will appear as part of the post. No need to login! You can set your blog to private if it helps you not to worry about dotting your Is and crossing your Ts. In any case from experience, I can assure you that blogs get no visitors unless you keep publicizing them. (Hint – please let your friends know about askamma!) When you have time you can login and improve the look and feel of the blog – categories, tags, themes etc. You can change the dates of the post to reflect when things actually happened as opposed to when you got around to writing about them. I still have my diaries and pens, and I find my thoughts flow differently when I write on paper. That flow is very dear to me and I try to write as often as I can.