As a thirty something teacher and a momma of one, I have a confession to make. It’s startling and cutting edge and I’m fairly certain that there have been zero support groups created for this particular kind of disorder. 

I get lost in the scrapbooking aisles at Hobby Lobby. 

I look at the pretty, pretty paper. 
I want to buy all of the fun pens.
Look at the stickers! 
I could stick them on … things

On what particular things, I have no idea.

Because I am a scrapbooking scaredy-cat. I am not some kind of Scrapbooking Sorcerer that can do pretty tricks with a page protector and a stencil. Up until this point, I have hidden my affliction very well, and I am almost positive that no one knows my dirty, dirty little secret. 

I hate it. 

I hate all of the little pieces and the little messes and the little, little, little glue dots that go on the back of pictures (that are never printed out anyway because who does that anymore?). 

But I am a mother. And it’s some kind of crazy rite-of-passage that moms scrapbook. It was probably part of the “Going Home With Baby” literature at the hospital that I didn’t read. When I was pregnant, I had a Hobby Lobby Meltdown (capital letters are necessary here, people) in the aisle with the glittery 12×12 pages and photo borders and while the store workers stepped slowly away, I thought to myself, “There has got to be a different way.” 

So: Here are three awesome alternatives for people like me. 

When I say “like me”, I really just mean that I was the kid busy gluing her fingers together in elementary and forgot about gluing actual projects together. 

1. Turn your Instagram account into a scrapbook by signing up with a company called Chatbooks. Each book is titled, you can “subscribe” and books will automatically generate after so many pictures are posted, and you can sign grandparents up for the service, too. For Mother’s Day last year, I gifted my own mom with a subscription. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, and better yet, you’re already doing it anyway. This is something that takes minimal start up. Think of it as the crock-pot of scrapbooking. Fix it and forget it. Errr … something like that. 

Bonus points here: It’s cheap and my kid loves flipping through the books. If he ruins it with chocolate milk, I can always order a new one. 

(Not that it’s ever happened or anything.)

(That’s a lie.)

2. Turn your email into your BFF. Before my child was born, I set up an email address for him. I made the password something super easy to remember … something that 18 years from now, he could even remember. Every congratulatory email that was sent to me, I forwarded on. His heartbeat was recorded in an ultrasound and I emailed it to him. Pictures, videos, and short little emails about what we do every day – I send on to his email address. I’ve even recorded me singing his song at bedtime. 

(And when that sweet, sweet child of mine had the flu aboard the Disney Wonder … well … I documented that, too.)

Occasionally, I go in and delete any junk mail and read through what I’ve sent. It’s an awesome reminder for me, but it will be much more powerful for him years down the road. 

Bonus Point: If your kids are six or thirteen or even twenty, you can still jump on the Gmail train. They’ll thank you for it; I just know it. Recipes, background information on inside jokes, or even just a recording of your laugh … think of how wonderful that legacy could be for your children.

3. Turn your small desk calendar into a daily play-by-play. My best friend’s mother jotted down a sentence or two on her calendar every day. Her gems include things like, “Suzy took a swig from an almost empty beer can before Sunday School today. Her breath didn’t smell too pure.” There’s another one line story about her daughter, Haley, falling head first down the laundry chute. The girls treasure her handwritten notes. They’re gifts. Manna from Heaven. And it took her momma about two seconds every day to put something in a calendar that she was keeping anyway.

Bonus Point: Michael’s sells some pretty cute ones that are NOT in the scrapbooking aisle.

We’re all busy. For some of us, it just isn’t cathartic to sit at the table and … methodically build memory books. It would drive me to drink. 

So if you’re like me? If you like preserving the memories, but break out in hives at the mere sight of the page protectors and big binders? 

Cut yourself some slack. Try an alternative. You’ll be glad you did. 

Totally leaves more time to glue your fingers together again.

You know. For posterity’s sake. 

Rebecca Cooper

Rebecca Cooper-Thumann is an English teacher in a sleepy town in the midwest. She has published four novels and is currently working on a fifth. She has a precocious four-year-old son, she loves nachos and Jesus, and she tries to live her life every day rooted in courage and joy.