By Jessica Blau

Journal Writing New Kind of Prose Just for Parents

Setting aside time to sit down and write may seem like an impossible luxury.

But carving out just 15 minutes every few days to jot down thoughts, frustrations and dreams offers unexpected rewards.

Simply "putting it to paper" can be relaxing and reassuring. Plus, when you read your entries later, you see your life from a fresh perspective. You may find that your life is much fuller, that your sense of humor is much greater and that your spouse is more supportive than you realized.

Another bonus to journal writing:

Your weekly thoughts will offer an invaluable keepsake for your children -- or their children -- years from now. Unlike other hobbies, journal writing demands no expensive equipment: All you need is paper and a pen (although you might prefer a computer or a bound blank book) and a sliver of time. Write on!

Journal Writing Tips

Choose a time when you won't be interrupted

Lynda Hannan writes in the early afternoon when her 4-year-old is in school and her 2-year-old is napping. One California mom writes in the early afternoon, when her two girls are at school, and her son is napping. "I sit in the kitchen and turn off the ringer on the phone," she says. "And I never answer the door."

Don't judge what you write

You are not submitting your journal to an editor; you are not even submitting it to your spouse. So forget about grammar, punctuation and spelling. The only person who needs to decipher your writing is you (unless you choose to share).

Write anything

If nothing comes to mind, write, "Nothing comes to mind." Eventually those words will lead you to other words until before you know it, 15 minutes have flown by, and you've written a paragraph. Don't discount yourself as uninteresting because you aren't running a country or starring in the latest blockbuster. A diatribe about the inefficiency of your dishwasher is a perfectly suitable journal entry.

Keep writing off your to-do list

Think of it as an escape -- a needed act that entitles you to schedule a pocket of time to yourself three or four times a week. If you skip a day, or even a week, you can always pick it up and start again. Remember not to pressure yourself to fill in the blanks between entries. One busy mother says, "I have given myself permission to write short quips and thoughts without explaining everything around it."

Fill in the Blanks

Don't know where to begin? Write the date at the top of the page and complete one of the following sentences, then let your thoughts take you in any direction.

-- Today, the most joyful moment I had with my children was when ….

-- My spouse (or kids or friend) made me feel loved by ….

-- I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing when it comes to ….

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Parenting - Journal Writing New Kind of Prose Just for Parents