My first child was born in the beginning of the Creative Memories Era. Some how I missed the memo that scrapbook had become a verb and was invited to a "party" to do just that. Having just become a stay-at-home-mom, I was excited to go to a party. I knew we were doing something crafty and had been told to bring a couple of photos. I had no idea that all good mothers and every other woman in the world not only knew what scrapbooking was but had a huge album for each child filled with perfectly designed pages complete with journal entries. I also had no idea that it would cost me $10 to make one page at the "party." I sat there with some curly scissors wondering how everyone had known about this and were already amassing special totes full of crazy scissors, stickers and acid-free markers. I can't even put into words the confusion and surprise I felt as I watched them pull out their supplies and then ooh and aah over the products the hostess was presenting. I am not much of a joiner unless it is something I really want to do. I am also very thrifty and $10 per page for a scrapbook seemed pretty steep. Finally, I felt very stupid for not knowing this activity was a thing when clearly it was common knowledge! At some point that evening, I quietly decided with myself that I wouldn't become a scrapbooker. Also at some point that evening, seeds of guilt and inadequacy as a mother were quietly planted in my psyche.
Those seeds reared their little ugly heads about 5 years later. We now had two beautiful unscrapbooked children and were setting off for a two year adventure of travel as a family. My husband asked hopefully if I would make "one of those scrapbooks" of the places we would go. I thought to myself, "Gosh, even my husband wants me to make one of those things. They must really be important." So I decided to do it but as cheaply as possible. I found a scrapbooking store that wasn't Creative Memories brand but sold similar products at a lower price. During nap, I spread out all of the photos from our trip so far, cut them up into fancy shapes with fancy edges. I agonized over the layouts, glued them down and added meaningful journal entries. I didn't mind doing it because obviously it was the long over due right thing to do and my husband wanted it. I was finally a good mother. It was a labor of love. When my husband came home from work, he looked at me sitting in the middle of a giant mess and asked what I was doing. "I am scrapbooking. Like you asked, remember?" Apparently he hadn't gotten the memo 5 years ago either and had no idea what I was talking about. I said, "You asked me to do this so I am." He answered, "I just wanted you to put the photos in one of those books with pockets." It was a classic miscommunication. To my husband, a scrapbook meant a photo album. To me, a scrapbook meant the thing that I hadn't been making like all for the good moms and wives. Since I did have all of the supplies, I went ahead and filled about half of an album with pages from our travels.
Fast forward to twelve years later. We now have three beautiful unscrapbooked children and a box full of photos, beautiful papers, scissors, stickers, empty album pages and stencils. I can't even imagine trying to "catch up". I googled "how to catch up on scrapbooking" and "what to do when you quit scrapbooking". Apparently quiting completely is not an option. There are ways to catch up and restart but nothing out there for quitters like me. So for those of you who want it, here is your "Get out of Scrapbook Jail Free"card. It is okay to quit. You aren't a bad person or mother.
Here is how to do it.
Step 1. Get rid of your supplies. Give them to your kids to make cards or whatever they want or sell them at a garage sale or donate them to a teacher.
Step 2. Go out and buy a decorative box, folder, regular photo album or whatever you choose to hold the photos. The dollar stores have lots of inexpensive options. Load up your containers. If you have the energy, you could write any special memories or info on the back of the photos.
Step 3. Enjoy your new found light-heartedness. You are welcome.
*Special note to scrapbookers! If you are one of those awesome moms that kept at it and made gorgeous albums for your families then please high five yourself. I have seen some beautiful books filled with memories and admire you for doing it. This article was not for you.
*Special note to new parents! If you are new mother or mother-to-be, please go buy a Baby's First Year sticker calendar at Hallmark. It is a calendar that comes with stickers such as "first tooth", "special visitor" blah blah blah. Some have a spot for the height and weight each month too. Hang it somewhere like by the changing table and keep a pen handy. You can jam on a sticker and add any comments in seconds. It is way easier than a baby book and definitely easier than scrapbooking. I used this for all three kids and had a great record of their sleeping patterns, doctor visits as well as all of the fun stuff. They make great reference tools for doctor's questions about health too. You are also welcome.