The Importance of Recording Feelings and Emotions and Not Just the Experience

Welcome to the December 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Childhood Memories
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have talked about memories of growing up — their own or the ones they’re helping their children create. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

The Importance of Recording Feelings and Emotions and Not Just the Experience:

I have a really good memory. Always have. I remember all kinds of stuff. Random facts are my specialty or accordingly to Rasta Daddy, the thing that drives him nuts about me! *cough*

I have a very vivid recollection of my childhood. I can remember as far back as my second year on earth. Seriously. While my parents did their best to provide me with rich and varied experiences as a child, I remember all parts of my childhood equally. I can recall names, addresses, phone numbers, landmarks, colors of buildings and homes, smells, tastes, sounds, and the list goes on.

I have somewhat of a photographic memory so it is no surprise that I can recall with such clarity, events of my childhood. While this is all well and good (and certainly something I draw upon when Tiny requests story after story after story) there is a missing piece in all of this. 



If you were to ask me what one thing I wished I had from my childhood, it would be a written journal of my feelings. Sure, I enjoy being able to reflect on my first day of school, the maroon flowered dress I wore, and how I was the only child who did not raise her hand when the teacher asked who ate eggs for breakfast, but I would love to be able to read, in my own writing, my reflections of the world around me and my experiences in it. 

For a time, I did kept a diary or two. I think most children do to some degree. Most of my diary keeping took place around the fourth and fifth grade and served more as a log of my current schoolgirl crushes. Don’t get me wrong, my musings on my love interests at the tender age of ten are all kinds of amusing, but I would love to be able to look back with fondness on both my experiences and how I felt about them. 

When I found out I was pregnant, I immediately was compelled to put pen to paper. Yes PEN TO PAPER! No Word documents here. Each week of my pregnancy, I wrote a little summary of what had been going on in my world both through the lens of my physical experience of being pregnant but also through the lens of the emotional experience of being pregnant. 

I continued my writings after Tiny was born. In fact, I keep a special yearly calendar and I write one paragraph each day. I take note of Tiny’s experiences, developments, challenges, and milestones but I also how I am feeling as Tiny’s mother. I will only be a first time mom once in my life and not only do I want to remember how it felt in the depths of my soul but I want Tiny to be able to get a deep sense of who I was a person and a mother, especially when I am no longer living to be able to share things intricacies with her. 

While I think it is important to chronicle the “what” that happens in our children’s lives and family’s lives, I think it is just as important to chronicle the feelings, emotions, and reactions to these various events and experiences. Life is more than just the “what” and sadly, I think we get lost in that space at the detriment of the deeper aspects of our experiences. 

Beyond journaling for Tiny, I am also beginning to record Tiny’s thoughts on life. Since she is so verbal and quite clear in expressing her thoughts and emotions, I will randomly voice record or video record her. Sometimes I ask her specific questions and other times I catch her in a moment that I believe she will one day be thrilled to look back at. Everything Tiny says and does is shaping the adult she will one day grow into. I want her to have something that shows her the building blocks of who she became. 

How are you capturing memories for your child? Anything unique or out-of-the-box?  Do share!

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be updated by afternoon December 11 with all the carnival links.)

  • Childhood Memories of Peace, Support, Joy, and Love — Amber at Heart Wanderings wants to make sure the majority of the memories that her children have as a part of their family are ones that are positive and help support the amazing people that they are now and will become as adults.
  • Hand Made Baby Books — Destany at They Are All of Me talks about why baby books are important to her for preserving memories of her childrens first years, and shows how she made one by hand for each child.
  • Can your childhood memories help you keep your cool?Here’s To A Boring Year uses memories of being a child to keep her on the path to peaceful parenting.
  • Inter-Generational Memories {Carnival of Natural Parenting} — Meegs at A New Day talks about her own childhood memories, and what she hopes her daughter will remember in the future.
  • Snapshots — ANonyMous at Radical Ramblings reflects on the ways our childhood memories appear to us, and hopes her own daughter’s childhood will be one she remembers as being happy and fulfilled.
  • What makes the perfect parent? — In a guest post on Natural Parents Network, Mrs Green from Little Green Blog reflects on camp follow and camp no-follow…
  • In My Own Handwriting — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen talks about her journals and the hope that they will be able to keep her stories alive even if she isn’t able to.
  • Candlelight, fairylight, firelight — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud re-discovers the ingredients for bringing magic to life, especially at Christmas.
  • Making Memories (or) How We Celebrate Christmas — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis talks about creating new memories at Christmas, and the joy their adventures bring to her whole family.
  • The Importance of Recording Feelings and Emotions and Not Just the Experience — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares why she puts pen to paper every day to record more than just her experiences as a mother and her daughter’s experiences as a child. Jennifer looks at the importance of capturing feelings and emotions that accompany the experience.
  • Dredged up — Kenna at Million Tiny Things has been forced to recount childhood memories at bedtime, due to the failure of her middle-aged imagination. She resists, of course.
  • Crafting Memories — Handmade is what makes the holidays special for Christy at Eco Journey In the Burbs, and she wants to create the same connection with her daughters that she remembers with mother and grandmother.
  • My Childhood Memories; beacons of light in the darkness Stone Age Parent shares the impact of her childhood memories on her life as a parent today, listing some of her many rich childhood memories and how they now act as beacons of light helping her in the complex, often confusing world of child-rearing.
  • 10 Ways I Preserve Memories for My Children — From video interviews to time capsules, Dionna at Code Name: Mama wants to make sure her children have many different ways to cherish their childhood memories. Dionna’s carnival post features ten of the ways she preserves memories; check out her Pinterest board for more ideas.
  • Memories of my mother — Luschka at Diary of a First Child remembers her mother and the fondest moments of her childhood, especially poignant as she sits by her mother’s sickbed writing.
  • Creating Happy Childhood Memories through Family Traditions — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells why family traditions are so important to her and her family and shares how she’s worked to create traditions for her children.
  • Traditional Christmas Tree — Jaye Anne at Wide Awake, Half Asleep remembers the great times spent with her family driving for the Christmas Tree and the lessons learned.
  • Wet Socks and Presents — Kat at MomeeeZen writes about her favorite Christmas childhood memory and why it’s so special. And she hopes one day her kids will also have a feel-good memory of their own to look back on.
  • Stuff does not equal memories — Lauren at Hobo Mama learns that letting go does not mean failing to remember.
  • A Child’s Loss- Will They Remember Dad? — Erica at ChildOrganics writes about their family’s loss of their husband and father. She trys to find answers to the question: Will they remember their Dad?
  • Childhood Memories – Hers and Mine — Jorje of Momma Jorje wished for her daughter the same passions and experiences she loved as a child, but learns the hard way to accept whatever passions strike in her child.
  • Holiday Non-TraditionsErika Gebhardt enjoys her family’s tradition of not having traditions for the holidays.

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  1. says

    Looking back through my journals for Ailia and Kieran, my favorite entries are the ones where I’ve captured emotions, not just events. Such a good point! And I’m with you – I wish I would have journaled as a child, it’s something I hope to instill in my kids. I like the idea of putting pen to paper daily, to set the habit/routine so they can see me.

  2. says

    What a beautiful post. Like you, when I was pregnant I started writing – real pens and paper! I kept that up for the entire pregnancy and I intend to give it to my daughter at some point; either when she reaches a milestone age such as 18 or perhaps when she’s struggling with the teenage years and feels I don’t love her enough – I guess this would be a wonderful way to say “I have loved you since the moment you were conceived”

    Thanks for sharing such as lovely post with us. In this technological age we get bombarded with information that we often do not take in, but some things are too precious to be forgotten…

    Warm wishes Rae aka Mrs Green

  3. says

    Beautiful. I love that you write something for her every day. So much changes so fast, and it all blends when we’re not paying attention. I agree, the how we felt is more intimate and raw than the what happened. It’s what we crave to know, but just the facts are safer. I don’t want to just be safe with my daughter, I want her to know the real me. I think it’s beautiful that you’re doing the same.

  4. says

    I used to be a master journaler, but I haven’t kept a diary in a long time. I even tried transitioning to a computer-file version of one, since typing now comes more easily to me than longhand, but that didn’t take. I should crack open a blank one and see what comes out!

    I do keep small memories of my kids in two separate text files, and we have a family photo blog. That’s about all I can manage right now, so I’ve decided it’s enough, even though the perfectionist in me would like it to be all-encompassing. I’ll be thinking now about how to add emotions into my jotted notes.

  5. says

    Haha! I have a really good memory too, whereas my husband swears he can remember virtually nothing before the age of 17!

    I started out super eager, noting down every weighing of my first born, every word he acquired, and then in the whirlwind of my next two, I desperately tried to jot things down here and there, but was generally pretty useless. So I have few facts or figures about my girls, but I started blogging when my third was a small baby, so I have a lot of bigger memories, feelings and all, preserved which I am really glad about.

    Thanks for your post.

  6. says

    Aren’t journals the best?! I have to sit down tonight and write about the events of the last two days… my son’s tantrums have put me in embarrassing places, but the actual unfolding of events are too funny to not record! Writing the actual emotions, the color of the sky, the minute details in your life will bring them to life as your children read them someday… it’s the details that make journals so special to me!

  7. says

    Great post, you’ve inspired me to journal again. I love writing and used to keep a journal in which I would write daily. I’ve let that go, and I regret it. I NEED to start that up again!

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