Keeping a BeTween You and Me Journal
A few years ago, my daughter went to a church activity and brought home “Our Journal”, also called a You and Me Journal. It’s a journal meant for two people to write notes back and forth to one another.
My daughters and I did it for a while but then we moved…and then we moved again…and again, and the journal was in our storage unit somewhere for 18 months. Six months ago we unpacked for good and, lo and behold, there was “Our Journal”. My girls immediately wanted to get going again.
As a mom of two tween girls, the You and Me Journal has presented a unique opportunity to communicate with one another. Here’s why I love this journal shared between us:
1. It provides a safe place to ask questions.
There are some questions that are particularly hard to articulate face-to-face, especially with your mother. Some questions are serious but some questions are silly about childhood or favorite desserts. Have they asked me any deep or hard-hitting questions? Not yet. But there is potential for it.
I get to ask questions without sounding like I’m grilling them when they get home from school. As a mom, you can tell when your kids are upset or troubled by something, but figuring out what that something is can be difficult, if not near impossible. But, if they have a chance to think about it, and write exactly what they want to say, it is a little easier to open up.
2. It provides a safe place to answer.
Have you ever been caught with your foot in your mouth because one of your kids asked you a question that caught you off guard?
You know what I’m talking about, “Mom, how does the baby get out of your stomach?” Thank goodness my sister-in-law had already had to answer that one, “with the help of lots of doctors,” so I was prepared. But then, they want to know if the baby comes out of your belly button.
I believe in telling the truth, which can be incredibly awkward. I love this journal because I get to think through my answers, making difficult subjects less awkward or terrifying. I take the time I need to be sure that I’m saying what I intend to communicate.
I find that there are things I want to tell them that don’t naturally come out in conversation…or we get interrupted by one of the other three kids in my house. I can write a poem or scripture that I find inspirational. Or, I can share deeper thoughts to see what they think.
My girls may not be inspired by that right now, but someday when they look back, they might be.
3. We have a record.
This is one of my favorite aspects of journaling. When you write it down, you can go back and read it again and again. I like to use the You and Me Journal to tell my girls how much I love and appreciate them. I know they go back and read those entries often.
They are entering a phase when they face self-doubt and peer pressure. I tell them I love them all the time but when it’s written in the You and Me Journal, they can look back at it whenever they need to know that they are loved.
It also provides a written record of who they are now so they can see their progression and growth. How much would you like to go back and see what questions you wrote to your mother as a 9, 10, or 11-year-old?
I would love it. Plus, it would be great to read how my mom handled me at that age. It would be invaluable to know what advice she offered me.
4. It’s a place to be silly or serious.
Kids love it when their parents are silly. Maybe it makes us more relatable?
It’s fun to think of silly questions that they’ll enjoy answering like, “If the world were made of only food, what would your bed be made of?” (For the record, mine would be Jell-O.) It often allows us a place to have conversations that are outside the box as well as a place to set aside our everyday frustrations and arguments.
Sometimes, I fight with my tweens. I admit it. But in our journal, we’re not arguing even when outside of it, we are. I like that.
Keep It Simple, Make It Fun
We use composition notebooks for our You and Me Journals. They are easy to pass around and hold up to being tossed on beds and floors. Any kind of notebook or journal will do. Decorate the cover together or just write your child’s name on the front, whatever works for you. Keep it simple, make it fun and you’ll both enjoy writing to one another.
Have you ever had a You and Me Journal? What did you like/dislike about it?