Reconsidering our Scrapbooking Expectations as a New Mothers

by | Productivity Advice | 18 comments

Having a baby can be one of the most joyous times in a person’s life. For scrapbookers, it means having plenty of new topics to document in your layouts, which can be just as exciting as finding out you are going to be a parent!

Jess Forster

Caring for a baby requires a lot of time and responsibility, of course, and appointing yourself as the CMO or Chief Memory-Keeping Officer of your baby’s life can add unnecessary pressure. Let’s face it – everyone knows that as a new mother, finding time even to sleep and shower is hard. As a CMO, how on earth will you ever find time to scrapbook your baby’s moments?

Although it may seem overwhelming when you have 10 times the photos and only 10 % of the free time you used to have, there are ways to cope. Whether your baby is in diapers or is about to get his or her driver’s license, it is always important to consider our scrapbooking expectations.

Below are four simple tips to help you balance those first few months (or years) of parenthood and creative desires so that you don’t drive yourself crazy or resign your post as CMO.

1. Don’t make scrapbooking a chore.

When you have a screaming baby, dishes piled high in the sink and unfolded laundry scattered everywhere, don’t add ‘make a layout’ to your to-do list. We’ve all had times when we thought we ‘should’ scrap. Remember that creativity doesn’t always work on a schedule. Scrap when you are inspired AND have some time to spare. I’m sure your significant other can get over the fact that your home doesn’t look like Martha Stewart’s.

2. Remember scrapbooking is a process.

So many of us think that scrapbooking only happens when a layout is complete. If this were the then, many of us couldn’t call ourselves scrapbookers. Whether you spend time journaling, taking photos or making embellishments in between feedings, it all counts. You may only have time to focus on one aspect of scrapbooking now, but you will always have a chance to complete layouts later. Apparently, babies do grow up.

3. Set yourself up for success.

Sometimes limiting the time or the products you use can you help to make those necessary but small decisions that help finish a layout. Love mini books, but never complete them? Have a favorite go-to sketch? Stick to what you know and love. Perhaps you won’t be trying the latest and greatest techniques, but you will benefit from having some time away from changing dirty diapers and being creative in ‘your element.’

4. Strive to be ‘Good Enough’ – not perfect.

When you have time and inspiration to create a layout, remember that there is no such thing as a ‘perfect scrapbook page.’ Although you have may have spent countless hours choosing the ‘righ’ paper to use before you had a baby, chances are you don’t have that luxury now. Go with the flow and accept the fact that there will be some pages you love and some pages you won’t. I bet that when your baby grows up, he or she won’t care what color of cardstock or pattern paper you used.

Jess Forster is a self-proclaimed creative junkie who, like Jennifer, is expecting her first child in November. When she is not craving sour keys or ice cream, you can find her working on layouts for the Simple Scrapper Design Team or blogging about her everyday life with her husband, Aaron, and dog, Charlie. You can find Jess on her blog, Life on Lee Avenue, and on Twitter as @lifeonleeavenue.

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  1. grannymike

    I am so way past the new mommy stage, but I still appreciated this article. How I wish I had known about digital scrapping when my children were young! I think you also have some really great tips here for all of us who find ourselves in situations where we feel overwhelmed but still want to capture our memories. Thank you.

  2. grannymike

    My email address on the above comment was wrong, so just adding a correction. I’m not sure it matters, but this one is correct.

  3. Irma Peredne

    As a mom of 2 boys under 6 I relate to this post on so many levels.
    I second the suggestion on letting go of perfection and too-high expectations when raising young ones. When I started scrapping, I self-imposed an expectation that only the photos taken with my ‘good camera’ – the cumbersome DSLR with all the bells and whistles- are worthy to be scrapped. As a result, I missed a lot of everyday, goofy, silly shots of my kids. Now I take with me everywhere the point-and-shoot camera in my purse, and I’ve got some stellar, unstaged, ‘real life’ shots of my kiddos….all because of letting go of high expectations. I’ve even scrapped photos taken with an iPhone, or shots my son took with my camera unknowingly. It’s great to have other family members be involved in taking photos too.

  4. rebecca.k

    I have dabbled with scrapbooking off and on for about 6 years now. I tried to start with a baby book for my daughter, and was quickly overwhelmed. This is great advice for someone who has just had a baby, and I wish that I had heard it back then. 🙂

  5. Cindy

    So true that the number of pictures outweighs the amount of time to scrap! I am so thankful that all those digital shots have date and time stamps as I find that what was so clear ‘in the moment’ is a little more murky years later. I also started using a lot more digital templates to get scrapping done – it helps me to feel like I’m accomplishing something and it’s so much faster as a starting point.

  6. Carol

    This year a subscribed to the “done vs. perfect” camp, and as such, have become so much more productive. My word for the year is complete. I wanted to complete some of my bazillion projects I had started and this philosophy helped a lot.

  7. ava-j

    I cannot wait to have our own little blessing to scrap about…but until then, I can scrap about our continual honeymoon! thanks for this post, it’s still so applicable to the non-preggy scrappers among us too,lol!

  8. Terra

    Thanks so much for the great advice. Sometimes I have to remind myself that scrapbooking is a hobby and needs to be enjoyable. It is the best hobby I have ever discovered and I don’t want to lose it because I feel that it becomes a chore.

  9. Lynea Ford

    These suggestions are wonderfully applicable to any time we find ourselves and families under extra time demands or stress. Thank you this thoughtful post.

  10. Kelli Blinn

    Point number four is my favorite and perhaps the most important. As a new(ish) mother myself, I realize how easy it is to get carried away with every day life and not take moments to record everything so that the family and I will remember things for years to come. Thanks for these tips and for sharing your insight. Thanks too for the opportunity to win a JoTotes bag, they are fabulous!

  11. PatriciaD

    Truer words were never spoken…RE: there is no such thing as a “perfect scrapbook page.” It simply doesn’t happen. You will always find something that “could have been” better. Who cares. If you get it done (that’s the goal) and it was “good enough” at the time you did it then let that be it. I’ve yet to go back and find something I couldn’t improve on a page months later but sometimes it’s also about seeing your progress as a scrapper, too.

  12. Kathy

    I had my kids in the 80’s and I didn’t even learn about scrapbooking until the mid-90’s. Luckily I decided to write short letters to my children every so often and tell them all the things that were happening intheir lives. Thank goodness I did that. Because by the time I discovered scrapbooking I really didn’t remember those little details. Everytime I meet a new mother I suggest this idea – at least they will be capturing memories while they are fresh (and their children will love the little notes/letters when they are older)

  13. kristin t

    Wow – this is great advice even if you don’t have kids! 🙂 I recently picked up a lot of extra design work on the side, so my scrapbooking sometimes feels like it’s going the way of the dodo. I was so glad to sit down today and read this post and be reminded of these tips! I’m actually heading over to desktop computer now so I can fill in some done-but-not-perfect pages that just need the journaling. Thanks for the tips and the reminder that we’re not alone!

  14. Suzanne

    Wow! These tips are for me! I may not be a new mom but I can certainly use them as I get too overwhelmed by the number of supplies that I have plus the tendency to make EVERY page *PERFECT*. Thanks, thanks!

  15. Kendra

    My kids are 7 & 11 so I am past the “newborn” mama stage. But this is what I remember. A friend gave me one of those month-by-month fill in diary type books with my first some. It was great to prompt me to remember the little things….first smail, how many hours he slept at night, little idiosyncracies. Even though I couldn’t sit down and do a layout, I had all the memories recorded….and of course the photos helped to illustrate the memories….even a year after they happened. Now….. I scrap in big chunks of time (usually a weekend getaway) and do things digitally at home. I have layouts that are my favorite and use them over and over – whatever feels right with the photos I have. I do “power layouts” where I my layout 5-6 spreads before embellishing and jouranalling. And, you’re right, sometimes good enough IS good enough.

  16. Jen Evangelista

    I started digi scrapping past the new mommy stage, but it is good advice to set realistic expectations in any stage :).

  17. Julie

    That is very good advice. I wish I had read that before my children were born. We didn’t have internet back then and I think I had more time to scrapbook – even with the daily parenting things. I took a gazillion photos and sporadically wrote in a baby calendar, but I need to just grab all the mementos, scraps of paper with the cute things that my children said and did – and just scrap them!

  18. Lindsay

    I’m not a new mother (or a mother at all. lol), but I do have to balance scrapping with my school and job and family. These are great tips! I tend to fall into the trap of adding it to my to do list so it becomes a chore, and I’m never as happy with the product.


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