Baby Book Guilt? No, Thanks!


Tell me I’m not alone. Tell me, PLEASE tell me, that some of you mamas with young kids have failed, perhaps epically, to keep up with your kids’ baby books!

You know, those incredibly cute and “awww”-worthy journals where you reflect on your baby each month, document milestones, and add sweet photos, hospital bracelets, and the like. You guys, I love that stuff. I was the girl who spent hours working on scrapbooks of childhood photos, artfully accenting with stickers, quotes, and mementos. It’s entirely possible that I still have my ticket stub for the 1997 film Titanic, because that certainly needed lifelong documentation. I’m a sucker for the sentimental.

But I learned quickly after the birth of my first child that this working mom wasn’t quite living up to her baby book expectations. Not. at. all.

I have guilt over not keeping track of the order in which my firstborn’s teeth came in . . . not because I ever would have thought to record that, but because there was a page for that in the dang baby book I bought! That was three years ago. My eight month old doesn’t even have a baby book. I’ve been recording her milestones on the pad on our fridge where I write our grocery list. Both of my children’s hospital bracelets are in a Ziploc bag in a closet somewhere in my house. My son’s 2015 baby book, completed up to only 10 months, haunts me like those creepy twins from The Shining, popping into my thoughts and saying, “Come craft with us, Laura, forever and ever and ever.”

Tell me I’m not the only one!

But recently I had a realization. Not once in my life, even through two pregnancies when babies were on my mind constantly, did I ever think to ask my mom to see MY baby book. I don’t even know if I HAVE a baby book. Will my kids even care if they have a traditional baby book?

What will they care about when it comes to documenting their childhoods?

I grew up in the ’80s when people didn’t have thousands of pictures of their kids because, well, film. Remember when you actually had to wait to see the photos you took? One-hour photo processing is now one-second photo processing, and it’s free! As a result, I have what feels like millions of pictures and videos of my sweet babies doing all sorts of things. If they really want to know when their incisors and canine teeth came in, they could probably track it via photos I took of them laughing, mouths open wide with a joy that can only come from spending time with their mama.

I also send sweet updates, funny memories, and photos to my babies’ email addresses (yes, to the email addresses my husband set up when they were born), and when they’re old enough, we’ll give them the passwords to their virtual baby books. They’re haphazard. Sometimes there are no messages for months. They rarely mention their teeth, if ever. And hopefully they’ll endure in this digital world as long as those beautifully crafted, hold-in-your hand baby books will. 

Don’t get me wrong, I still long to make a baby book that resulted from at least three trips to Hobby Lobby. Maybe I’ll get to it someday when I’m not simply trying to keep them alive and shape them into kind and productive people. But I won’t feel guilty about it if it doesn’t work out that way. No, thanks!

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Graduate school brought Laura from her beloved home state of Colorado to Texas (hard to beat the Rocky Mountains!), and meeting her beloved husband Jonathan convinced her to settle here. Now the two are overjoyed and exhausted parents to sweet Christopher (2015) and a little girl on the way (2017). In addition to her role as a mama, she also works full time as a clinical psychologist working with military veterans who continue to amaze her with their strength and humor. When she’s not busy juggling career and parenthood, you can find her cycling, enjoying local culture (and food!), baking, “hiking,” and embracing her love of travel.


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