I was scrolling Instagram the other day and noticed a blogger asking moms to chime in on what a typical day looks like with working, making dinner, shuttling kids to activities and everything else a mom does. Hundreds of moms responded, and I got tired just reading all of the comments. I didn’t see one mom mention “weekly journaling” as one of her top priorities, but journaling is a great way to improve your mothering.
I recently read this article about how journaling can help executives improve leadership skills. The article was in Harvard Business Review and is obviously geared towards business leaders but when I clicked over to read it, I couldn’t help but think how the principles the author shares for business leaders also apply to mothers.
In the article, the author, Nancy J. Alder, said this:
“Extraordinary leadership is rooted in several capabilities: seeing before others see, understanding before others understand, and acting before others act. A leader’s unique perspective is an important source of creativity and competitive advantage. But the reality is that most of us live such fast-paced, frenzied lives that we fail to leave time to actually listen to ourselves.” (emphasis added)
Alder is describing leaders, but go back and read this quote and replace “leadership” and “leader” with “motherhood” and “mother.”
See what I mean?
As a busy mom, wouldn’t you love to be one step ahead (with eyes in the back of your head), sense what your kids are feeling and thinking and take action? And having a little time to “actually listen to ourselves” sounds like a mom’s dream come true!
I know what you’re thinking. You’ve tried and failed to write in your journal in the past. Or maybe, you already feel so overwhelmed there is no way you’re going to add one more thing to your busy life.
I totally get it. I’m right there with you. Stick with me and I’ll show you an easy format for you to start up your weekly journal writing.
First, let’s talk about some of the incredible things you’ll gain as a mother when you take the time to write your thoughts and what’s going on each week.
If you’re like me, you’ve got a million things swirling around in your brain. When I have a lot of stuff going on in my life in addition to all of the worries I have as a mom, I open my journal and just start to write. I don’t worry about my handwriting and my grammar. I just write and get everything out of my head and onto the paper. Surprisingly, this practice always helps me understand what I am feeling and helps me see what is truly important and what I might be able to set aside.
Process Thoughts and Feelings
Journaling helps you process thoughts and feelings. In an article titled Dealing with Stress and Discouragement, a mother explained how journaling helps her:
“My notebooks and journals are priceless. Some people are willing to pay professional counselors to listen as they unravel what’s in their head or their heart. For me, writing down my thoughts and feelings has been an unfailing source of revelation about my own inner self. Especially when I feel stressed out, discouraged, or down for any reason, I write what I’m feeling (often just a list of ‘I feel …’ sentences), and I am usually able to clarify what it is that is weighing on me. Then I can deal with it more effectively. Sometimes I fill a whole page with my frustrations before I begin to see what’s really bothering me. I have come to know myself intimately through my own writing.”
I always feel God prompting me to write when I am facing big decisions, trying to overcome struggles or going through something that’s going to help me grow. A few years ago, my family faced extreme financial difficulties and I wrote weekly about the frustrations, feelings and thoughts I had about the situation in my journal.
Now, when I go back and read about that time, I see so clearly how God was guiding our family. I couldn’t see it when I was going through it, but writing has helped me gain perspective on those trials and shown me that God was right there with me.
Recognize Blessings and Feel Gratitude
In addition to perspective, keeping a journal helps you recognize blessings and feel gratitude. Henry B. Eyring, an avid journal writer, shared these thoughts.
“Before I would write, I would ponder this question: ‘Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to touch us or our children or our family today?’ As I kept at it, something began to happen. As I would cast my mind over the day, I would see evidence of what God had done for one of us that I had not recognized in the busy moments of the day. As that happened, and it happened often, I realized that trying to remember had allowed God to show me what He had done.”
It will be easier to see your blessings when you are looking for and writing about what God is doing for you in your life.
Remember What You’ve Learned
Writing things down will help you remember life lessons you are learning. Last week a teacher at church texted me and asked me to share an experience in her lesson for the next Sunday. I wasn’t sure what to share but turned to my journal and found something that applied to her topic. After I shared the experience I had written about, I realized I may never have remembered the details if I hadn’t written them down. I don’t want to have to repeat the lessons I am learning as a mom and in life. Writing them down means I won’t forget.
Printable Journal Template
Now that you know some of the great benefits of writing, here’s an easy way for you to get started.
I created a template you can print out weekly to start writing. (Go HERE to get access to the template.) Sometimes it’s hard to get started, so this journal page has space for you to jot down different things. Here’s what you’ll see when you print the template out.
Write the memories you have of the week. I like to write the little, mundane things we did like the first swim of the year or that I had to wake my boys up in church three times or that I let my 14 year old back the car out of the garage (and the look on his face was priceless!). It’s fun to go back and remember these little things that I will probably forget later.
Write something you learned or thought about. Your lesson could be related to motherhood, a spiritual prompting you felt, something a friend said or anything else.
How Did I See God in My Life
This goes along with the quote from Henry B. Eyring above. It’s important to take time to think about and recognize how you have seen God in your life. When you write it down, you are more likely to recognize the tender mercies the Lord gives you everyday.
Write down a few things you are grateful for from the week. I love this quote by Michelle Gifford, “One of the biggest punches to the adversary is gratitude and a recognition of God’s hand in your life.” Recognizing God in your life and writing down the things you are grateful for will help you keep Satan out.
Quote or Scripture
Write a quote or scripture that has stuck out to you during the week.
Finally, you have space to write whatever you want. I use this template on a regular basis and some weeks I use this space and some weeks I don’t. The beauty is that filling out the boxes will only take a few minutes and you’ve got a record of your week. You don’t have to fill pages and pages to reap the benefits I mentioned above.
You can print the journal template here. I printed mine double sided, cut the pages in half, hole punched them and put them in a cute little binder you can pick up just about anywhere.
If you use the template, let me know! Leave a comment or DM me on Instagram. I would love to hear your experiences with journaling.