I belong to a Facebook Scrapping community where we talk about all things scrappy: paper, photos, photography, shopping, and memory-keeping. It is so refreshing to chat with other enthusiasts and also prevents me from boring people who aren't interested in my hobby.
Someone on the group asked how to keep up with scrapping while dealing with the normal challenges of having young children. I completely sympathize because this has been my situation for 16 years as a mother to six children. I responded with a rather lengthy comment. The following is an expanded discussion of the topic.
Why would a busy mom with young children even want to scrapbook? I think every creative person needs to reflect on why they devote time to this hobby. Doing so will give them direction in how to maintain their hobby. These are my reasons why:
- Scrapbooking is a form of self-care. I get a boost in happiness when I make a page, which helps me be more effective in fulfilling my responsibilities. My mother modeled this when I was growing up. She managed our home efficiently but also carved out time to sew. She loved sewing and made us dresses, cross-stitched pictures, and crocheted. Now she quilts as both a creative exercise and an expression of love for her children and many grandchildren.
- Scrapbooking is a reflective exercise. Scrapbooking gives me an opportunity to reflect on my experiences and find meaning and value from them. This happens for both the negative and positive events. I find I am more grateful and often recognize the good things in my life when I scrapbook.
- Scrapbooking is an opportunity to express creative impulses. I think all human beings are deeply creative at their core. The challenge is to find a way to express that creativity in an authentic and unique way. I express my creativity in a variety of different ways: scrapbooking, blogging, cooking, and through singing and playing the piano. After dealing with the necessary, but sometimes mundane tasks of maintaining a home for 8 people, I crave opportunities to make something that lasts.
- Scrapbooking is fun and a form of play. According to more recent research, adults need to engage in play. Doing so has enormous benefits across the board. I find scrapbooking to be enormously fun and playful.
- Scrapbooking allows me create a lasting record of my life and record the memories of our family. I believe that my story is important and should be told from my perspective. I also believe the life my family is making is worthy of recording. I want my descendants to know why our family has moved so often. I want them to understand how being expats has affected us. Too many people mistakenly believe their stories don't matter, but they are wrong. My grandparents didn't record their memories and stories. There are so many things I don't know about them. I wish I had more information about them. You would astonished at how much history is lost from one generation to another.
- Scrapbooking allows me to provide a tangible record for my children to explore of our adventures. From 2002 to 2013, my family lived in four different countries: Sweden, Israel, the United States, and Saudi Arabia. There are details I want my children to remember and have access to. I have layouts documenting our bikes that we rode in Sweden, our morning routines, grocery stores we visited, the playgrounds we explored, our backyard, the buses and trains we rode, and the people we met in those places.
These are all profoundly powerful and important reasons to scrapbook and therefore, I think it is worthwhile devoting time and energy to scrapbooking.
Here are my best tips for fitting in scrapbooking into a busy life.
- Plan with spreadsheets what you want to scrap. I usually include the idea of the layout, number of photos, and any other relevant info. If the thought of a spreadsheet terrifies you, try making a list or mind-mapping to get an idea of the stories you want to record.
- Batch edit and print photos. If I am too tired to scrap, I can spend 15 minutes editing photos and choosing photos to print. Having a stack of photos ready to go makes it easy to get started.
- Let go of perfection. I decided that I wanted to have fun scrapping more than I wanted my layouts to be perfect. My layouts make me happy and serve a meaningful purpose for my family. Its OK that they aren't magazine or blog worthy.
- Scrap from a kit so you reduce your time looking for supplies. Limit your supplies. If you don't subscribe to a kit, make your own kit. There are videos and classes teaching how to do this.
- Scrap lift or use templates to speed up your time designing.
- Plan creative time in your day when you aren't tired. For a while I was planning my creative time at night when the kids were in bed. But I was so darn tired I couldn't think. Now I scrap in the middle of the day when my daughter naps. I instituted a quiet nap time for all family members when they are home.
- Make scrapbooking a part of your daily life. I create something every single day. I have found that creativity begets creativity.
- Be flexible and willing to adapt your scrapping style and focus so that it meets your needs and your circumstances. I never thought I would ever scrap digitally until the Project Life App came out and I found I didn't have time to spend on traditional layouts. I used the app exclusively for a long time while my life was crazy. As things have scaled back I have been able to return to scrapping traditionally, but I still use the app. I also make photobooks and use Chatbooks to print out my Instagram photos. It all counts and it all makes me happy.
- Use the Project Life App to scrap during those quick moments in the day.
- And finally, this quote from Elisabeth Gilbert in her book, Big Magic, DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT!
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