Sunday, November 20, 2011

Dear Senior Mom: You can do it! (Part 1)

We're nearing the halfway point of the school year, the time when the reality of graduation begins looming large for seniors and their parents. Each year around this time, I run into a scrapbooker with sort of a crazed look in her eyes. This is the “Senior Mom” look! This woman wants to scrapbook all 18 years of her child’s life in the few short months before graduation.

This Senior Mom has been to graduation open houses over the years and knows what is expected of her. She feels enormous pressure to create a beautiful set of albums to display at her party, with every detail of every event in her child’s life perfectly documented. She also wants to create a handmade guestbook and invitations, decorations, and more. On top of that, she feels guilty that she didn’t start these projects years ago. Worse yet, she feels like she’ll be labeled a “bad mom” if she doesn’t get it all done!
 Does this sound familiar? 

Do not fear, Senior Mom! Many of us who work at Memory Bound have been Senior Moms (in fact, we're in the Senior Mom Club!) and we know the pressure you're feeling. We can help you with many tasks on your lengthy to-do list...except cleaning your house, of course! :) Meanwhile, here are some tips I've compiled to help you as you get started.

1. Start early. This means start NOW. No matter what you think, it will take you longer than you expect to meet your scrapbooking goals. And life doesn’t stop while you’re scrapbooking. Starting early will give you a little bit more breathing room.

Maybe you feel like it’s already too late to start early, but don’t despair! You can still meet your scrapbooking goals, as long as you set realistic expectations. Read on...

2. Make a Must-Do Layout List. Make a list of the events/activities/milestones that you absolutely must scrapbook before graduation. Focus your time on completing those layouts and set the other photos aside for later. (For me, this meant absolutely NO CAT LAYOUTS during my daughter's senior year!) As you complete pages, check them off your list. This will keep you on track and give you a sense of accomplishment.

I suggest adding one special project to your Must-Do list: A portrait album. Gather all of those 8x10 school photos, choose a consistent color/design scheme, and put them in an album (I used a WRMK 3-ring binder). If nothing else gets done, you will have a wonderful, concise album showing how your child has grown and changed over the years. I guarantee that this album will get the most attention of any you complete!

3. Scale back your expectations. If you’re a new scrapbooker, you’ll need to make few layouts before you’re comfortable with the tools and process. If you’re more experienced, you may be accustomed to spending quite a bit of time on each page. Either way, you probably need to let go of the dream of scrapbooking every event in time for graduation. 

For instance, I didn't have time to scrapbook my daughter’s birth or infancy in time for the open house -- and that was okay! She created display boards with a few photos from those years and it worked out fine. Let go of the pressure to do EVERYTHING. You can't, and you shouldn't try -- or you won't have time to enjoy the senior year!

Keep in mind that as graduation approaches, we can help you with your display boards -- we can copy photos, help you use our die cutting machines, and assist you with creating your boards.

4. Ask for help from your student. Even a busy senior can help with scrapbooking. As I worked on graduation albums, I had my daughter write notes about events that I later used for journaling. I often created layouts and left the journaling for her to fill in when she had a spare minute. After all, the stories I’m capturing in the scrapbooks are hers. Her voice should be represented in the albums!

In recent weeks, I've been seeing several seniors working on their scrapbooks at Memory Bound. This is a great activity for kids to do in their spare time, and it will be enormously helpful when graduation rolls around! Our work room is almost always available for you to use for crafting, free of charge. Just give us a call to be sure we have space!

Senior Moms, I will leave you with these thoughts for now; look for additional suggestions in upcoming blog posts. Meanwhile, if you have any questions or tips to share, please post them! We at Memory Bound are happy to help you so that you'll be able to enjoy every minute of this very special year in your student's life!

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