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5 Reasons to Start a Mom’s One Line a Day Journal

Inside: How the mom’s one line a day journal has taught me about family, career, and working mom life, and why it’s one of my most prized possessions. Learn how starting your own one line a day journal can impact your life in just a few minutes a day.

I started a Mom’s One Line a Day Journal five years ago.

Each page of the journal has a date at the top with lines for five years. Every day I write down one line about something that happened that day. From monumental moments to that one day I seriously wrote about my vacuum(??), it’s all documented.

As we close out five years of this one line a day journal, I realize that this daily journaling process has taught me five pretty important lessons.

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Mom’s One Line a Day Journal Lesson 1: Writing It Down Works

Entry from November 2014: Maybe someday I could have a second career as a comedy writer.

I’ve fancied myself as hilarious for a while now apparently. And while it isn’t a career (yet), I did make enough money to buy several gallons of milk through blogging this year.

Fast forward to 2020 as I revisit this post (and am onto year three of my second one line a day journal), and comedy writing is a big part of the portfolio career I’ve created for myself. That’s very cool!

Writing is my version of self-care. My family, my friends, my work as a career coach – they are all insanely important to me and they have my heart. But writing silly stories, that’s my own little corner in my own little room and now I can do it for fun and work. I’m glad that several years ago I wrote down that I wanted to write funny things and that today I spend a lot of my time writing funny things. That’s a win.

The perfect journal for busy moms - just one line a day for gratitude, mindfulness, and memories

Mom’s One Line a Day Journal Lesson 2: Practice Makes Better

Entry from February 2013: Jury duty got canceled. Their There was some random traffic getting home so that was a little frusterating.

Guys, you would not want to read this journal… The grammar and spelling are downright brutal. And to add insult to injury, the content? Yikes… Quite often I’m relaying one-liners in my mom’s one line a day journal about how I could really use a new gray sweater, musings on potty training, or various riffs on “I’m tired.”

But to be a writer, you need to write. A lot.

And this One Line a Day Journal has taught me how to be more entertaining in edited paragraph form. Free form writing definitely has it’s place, even if that place is tucked safely away in your drawer. But then for anything you’re interneting or publishing in print, give that a second pass or two for plot holes and their/there/they’re.

Also, definitely download the Grammarly extension. It won’t help with your journal grammar or spelling, but it will definitely help with anything you’re typing.

Mom’s One Line a Day Journal Lesson 3: Painful memories matter

Entry from July 2013: We lost the baby. I feel like we’re in a nightmare.

That’s really all I could say that day. But the memory written down matters. It matters so much. And so do the entries from October 2013. And January 2014.

Painful memories are part of our fabric, just like our angel babies are part of our family.

Do I like getting to those pages in my one line a day journal again each year? No. It sucks. And I cry as I write something totally inconsequential like what I had for dinner that night on one of the lines below.

But as the years progress, I want those memories to have their place. My angel babies didn’t get birthdays, but they each have a day. And they matter. I’m grateful for my one line a day journal for capturing their befores, their durings, and their afters.

Mom’s One Line a Day Journal Lesson 4: My heart is very full

Entries from February 2015 and June 2016: Happy Birth Day, Jack! Welcome to the world, Norah!

Okay, probably a given that I love those pages.  They capture the moment I become “Mama.” And then the moment our family was made whole. And the moments that the earth gained the two most incredible people to every grace it’s presence. #You’reWelcome.

I love the days right before and right after their birthdays too. We didn’t know the sex of either of our kids before they were born, so the days leading up to their births were filled with anticipation and “he/she/baby.”

Then all of a sudden the baby had a name. And a sweet face. And totally overwhelmed parents who desperately wanted to shower.

These little humans have changed our world, and they are our world. If there is a story to tell from the past five years it is Jack and Norah. I’m so glad to have their earliest moments sleepily chicken scratched onto paper one line a day style.

Mom’s One Line a Day Journal Lesson 5: It doesn’t have to be pretty

Entry from March 2016: Election Day in MA…. incoherent scribble… primary voting…. more gibberish… put my support… did I catch a 9er in there?

Good Lord, Becca… is that a t, i, l, or a cave drawing?

I’m very thankful for computers. But fortunately, in spite of myself, most of my one line a day journal entries are legible. Even if they aren’t pretty.

Writing in a one line a day journal has taught me there is something to be said for putting pen to paper on the regular. It’s good for the hand muscles. Particularly as it relates to Christmas card envelope writing training.

And for teaching my children to dot their i’s. When did I get too busy and important to dot my i’s??

But even if your handwriting is super rough around the edges like mine, what really matters is what you include in this journal. When people ask me what to write in a one line a day journal, I say anything. Literally anything. You never know what little memory or doodle might matter in five years. So just give it a go, I think you’ll surprise yourself with how much you find to say.

That’s The One Line A Day Journal She Wrote

This One Line a Day Journal is going into a drawer in a couple of weeks and I’ll start a new one. I can’t imagine what the next five years will bring. If I were to guess I would say a decent amount of eating lasagna and buying my kids new sneakers.

(2020 update: Yes, that guess was correct. But I’ve also started my own business, been published on crazy huge websites, and written two books. All of that has been captured page by page, and it’s amazing!)

But maybe I’ll meet Tina Fey on April 27, 2019. Perhaps Kristen Bell will sign up for my newsletter on July 16, 2020. Or maybe my husband will give me the best hug in the history of hugs and we’ll be published in the Guinness Book of World Records on September 17, 2021.

Or maybe my kids will teach me what it is to be kind, and brave, and generous every day of these next five years. I think I’ll want to write that down.

One line a day journal - The lessons we learn from one journal, 5 years, and one line a day.
One line a day journal. Simple and impactful journaling for busy moms.

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  1. O man! That Tommy Boy reference did me in! I love it. Thank you for sharing.
    I have thought about doing one but knowing myself it would last for a solid 2 weeks and then live in the drawer forever.

  2. I’ve worked in a couple of bookstores and have always looked at these, but have never picked one up. I probably should. I’m glad your dream is coming true! I’ve only just started (a week in) and really enjoy blogging on WordPress so far.

    P.S. “The Climb” is always an appropriate choice. 😉

    Best! xoxo

    1. Welcome to WordPress!! I’m glad that you are enjoying it! I’m really still a newbie too (10 months in) but so far so good. Glad you enjoyed The Climb reference, its been stuck in my head for a week now… haha!

  3. Wow! This is such an awesome idea. I’m definitely going to start one to start documenting this crazy journey of being a mom! Wish I would have heard of this sooner. Going to check out your picks from amazon!

    1. Thanks so much! If you decide to go for it I hope that you enjoy it! It’s really rewarding and so low commitment. The one I used was just a regular journal that I added dates to but I’ll be using the Mom’s One Line a Day journal when I start the next one in 2018.

  4. “I did make enough money to buy several gallons of milk through blogging this year.” > YES! Well done! You are living the dream 😉

    *After I wrote that, I scrolled back and read the part about angel babies. That is so sweet and heartfelt…I feel like I should probably delete the first part of my comment. But I also don’t want to scrub away the kudos for making some cash.

    So, I’m afraid you have to make do with this slightly yo-yo style comment!! Here’s to 2018!!

    1. Life is a yo yo! We take the silly with the serious, the happy with the sad. A yo yo comment is a perfect representation for what this post is all about! Thank you so much for reading!

  5. What a fantastic idea!!! i’m so bad a journaling because I feel like it has to be such a production. Like “On This Day” on Facebook but a little more….real. Love it.

    1. Thank you so much! And thanks for the shout out in your great blog post this week. I love the On This Day from Facebook too. Today there was a picture of my son getting ready for his first Christmas, melt my heart.

  6. I love this so much! I used to journal way more frequently and it is really great to be able to go back and look at these things! I love how you have so many good, hard, and just real life memories here!

  7. I absolutely love this idea!

    I’ve actually been doing something similar for the past 5 (soon to be 6 years I think). Regardless of how bad my day is I write down at least 3 things that went well that day. I do this everyday.

    Then at the end of the year (usually a week before the New Year). I go through all of my grateful notes (that’s what I call them) and make a list of all the good things that happened to me that year in my journal. This little exercise reminds me how blessed I am. 🙂

    1. Totally! The one I’m finishing up I actually just made myself with a nice hardcover notebook. The one I’m starting next is a Mother’s One Line a Day Journal (I think the same one linked in the post.) The space looks a little smaller in that one so I’ll need to adjust my handwriting and/or stop messing up so often to take up less space!

  8. This is so amazing!! I would like to say that I would be that diligent on the daily but I’m not sure if I would. Thanks for sharing. That is very brave of you. ❤

    1. There are days here and there that I miss for sure but I go back and fill in. I was never a journal writer before but I like how quick this one is! Even if I’m wiped at the end of the day I know it just takes a minute to do.

  9. I don’t keep a journal but this post made me wonder. A life a year at a time and then a review. A touching post

    1. Thanks so much for reading! I do a one page review at the end of the year too. Takes a little more time to write that up but I found it’s a good way to take some time and read back over some of the one lines I’ve written throughout the year.

  10. Staying dedicated to a journal can be forgotten sometimes as we all live such busy lives – but 1 line a day! Now, I like that. I can commit to that. Thanks for the great idea.

  11. I LOVE this!! Such a great idea. Number 3 absolutely broke my heart, but you’re right – those memories are so important. Thank you so much for sharing this. I think I will give it a try.

  12. I love that idea! You’re going to treasure those journals for years to come! I’m so sorry for your losses, but I’m glad you have them commemorated in your journal. Thank you so much for sharing and I’m glad you’re living your dream.

  13. This post made me feel nostalgic for memories in my own life even while you were sharing yours. Now I want to start a five year journal. Even the vacuum memories can be important, maybe?

    1. I hope that you give it a try! Totally low commitment but with a big impact. And yes, I’ll probably laugh at myself seeing how excited I was about getting a robot vacuum in 2015… 🙂

  14. I love journaling and I always recommend doing one line a day for people just starting out. I totally feel you on the penmanship thing! lol sometimes mine can get pretty bad

    1. I think the fact that you typed in Tina Fey just boosted SEO and thereby boosted my chances of Tina Fey reading this and wanting to be friends. For good measure, Tina Fey, Tina Fey, Tina Fey. 🙂 Good looking out- thank you!!

    1. Couldn’t recommend it more highly! It’s my “if I had to grab a possession in a fire” item. Or items now that I am on my second one. I hope you like it!

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