The Power of One-Sentence Journaling

benefits of journaling

I have journals galore. Sadly, most of them are largely blank. But a fresh, untouched journal has so much promise, so much potential. So why is it so hard to stick with the habit? We know the benefits of journaling, but who has time with everything else a mom has to do? What if I told you successful, intentional, beneficial journaling is completely doable, even for the busiest (or laziest) mom?

This past weekend, I found a journal I had written in when my son was a toddler. I only wrote in it sporadically and most of the entries only had one sentence. But as I started to read them out loud, something magical happened for my entire family.

1. It brought everyone together.

I started off simply reading to my son before bed, one or two entries at a time, and we would laugh and laugh. My other kids came in to see what we were laughing about, and they loved it, too. My old journal was like a magnet! Pretty soon, my husband joined in and we were all packed onto the bed together.

2. It helped us remember our kids’ cute younger stages.

This is not to say our kids are no longer cute, but it was endearing to remember how they used to say “peep” instead of “please” or that they used to have a rock collection.

3. It bonded them as siblings.

Being reminded that they grew up taking baths together and helping each other tie their shoes reinforced our kids’ sibling bonds. There is something incredibly powerful about sharing childhood memories and milestones.

4. It built identity.

When I read to my son that he used to love baby dolls, he grimaced. But I explained how he has a nurturing side, and this was proof. He was then able to see that in himself (or at least consider it). Knowing what they were like “back then” helps kids to create a better picture of who they are today and how far they’ve come.

5. It strengthens memories.

Simply saying, “Oh yeah, I remember that!” helped some fuzzy memories become more clear in their minds. Talking about memories also clarified the details. The older kids were able to add details the younger kids were too little to remember.

6. It gave me some precious mom perspective.

Many challenges that seemed so big in the moment (like getting no sleep at night) are now just a distant memory. Reading about these things brought me such hope. We got through our previous struggles and we will also get through our current ones, which seem so looming and large. The saying “this too shall pass” became a lot more real.

7. It simply added laughter to our home.

Who doesn’t need more of that? When I read that my son (at age 1) accidentally peed on his sister (age 4) when I put him in the bathtub with her, the laughter went on for days. Adding laughter to the home helps to ease tension amid the many other benefits of journaling.

What You Must Accept Before You Begin

You cannot be a perfectionist on this. “Simple journaling” is imperfect. It is sporadic. One entry might be a single sentence, while the next is a whole page. You might get distracted mid-thought. That’s OK. Even that adds character.

Here’s another tip: You don’t have to start each child’s journal at the same age. And it doesn’t matter if your child is 2 or 12. The memories will be priceless at any age. Think about your son or daughter at age 40, reading about when he or she was 12. Talk about a book they won’t be able to put down!

What are your journaling tips for busy moms?