Scrapbooking Guilt

To my daily surprise, I've become something of a scrapbooking expert, or at least, I get treated like one. I'm not sure how thorough my knowledge actually is, but there you go. Frankly, it's given me a whole new view of what an "expert" actually is. But that's not really the point of this post.

2011.10.10 - Amman

One of the strangest parts of being seen as an expert, is that I've turned into something of a confessor. When I meet someone new, and we start talking about what we do for a living and they find out that I'm basically a professional scrapbooker, they often say, "Oh, I know I should do more of that. I'm so behind. I feel so bad." etc... And by "they" I mean mothers.

This response always takes me by surprise and I get slightly confused. I've been scrapbooking since I was a teenager. It's a hobby that I do entirely for myself. Every once in a while I may work on something for someone else, but I do it because I love it and there are few things I'd rather do instead. In no way do I expect other people to also love scrapbooking. I realize it's not for everyone. So when people start expressing their guilt to me, I feel this weird disconnect.

I'm not sure when scrapbooking became a requirement of being a good mother. I'm not a mother myself, so it's not a pressure I can understand first hand. And while I know there are lots of good reasons to scrapbook for your children, I'm pretty sure everyone will survive if you skip it. In fact, let me share a little story with you. Scrapbooking came into vogue when I was a teenager. I'm not sure what my mom thought when she was exposed to it, but whatever it was did not tempt or guilt her into starting. Instead, she encouraged me to give it a try. Fifteen years later I now rely on those skills and experience to run a business. When you say no to something, that often leaves room for someone else to say yes. And that "yes" may change a life.

My Parents

I even scrapped for my parents.

I'm hoping that most of you reading this aren't scrapbooking out of guilt, but out of love for a wonderful hobby. If you are scrapbooking out of guilt or duty, take a step back and see if there's anything in the process you do love. Memory keeping is a wonderful gift to a family, but there are many ways to do it. Maybe you love photography, maybe you love to journal. Maybe you hate all those things but you can take a minute here or there to jot down a note from the day. And if you'd rather be working in your garden, or painting, or whatever else makes you feel full, do that--and maybe let your kids know about scrapbooking. You never know what may come of it.


Recent Comments

Rita Lai
Rita Lai Thu, 08/07/2014 - 08:48

@Marie Hargis - Yes, I do scrap digitally and then have them printed for all my family and friends. It makes for nice gifts and memories. And keeps me on track. And I have found as the years go by my family (hubby and 2 sons) they do like to flip open the album and reminisce about the trip. I of course journal about a particular day or occurrence that brings that trip to life and it makes remembering more fun. I'm sorry that your friends and family do not get why you love scrapping so much. I hope that they eventually do come to appreciate your efforts. I hope you continue to love what you do and find joy in it. Remember it is for you and we ultimately do it out of our love for ourselves and those we love. Good luck!

Val Fletcher
Val Fletcher Sat, 08/02/2014 - 16:42

I expected something different when I read the title - "Scrapbooking Guilt"! I love to scrapbook and can sit at the computer doing it for hours and hours. And that is where my "scrapbooking guilt" comes from - all of the other things I could and should be doing instead!

Shannon Maguire
Shannon Maguire Mon, 07/28/2014 - 06:37

I too feel as though I'm always behind - and when I do scrap it's usually for friends! I love to paper scrap as I'm very hands on, but it is more time consuming than digital scrapping, which I tend to do much more of. I have vacation photo packs that are years old waiting to be scrapped. In some ways I've been scrapping most of my life. When I got my first camera in grade school, I would always cut my photos down to crop out unwanted background stuff and make a collage in my photo albums, adding other memorabilia from events. I look back at some of my first real scrapbooking pages and think, 'well, we've come a long way, baby!' I too get disappointed when people don't appreciate the effort I put into these pages - they really are a part of me. However, sometimes I think people may appreciate them a little too much - I recently printed off some 8x8 examples of some of my pages for a "Gathering of Creativity in all forms" that I attended. When I got home I put the book away and then printed myself off some 8x8 copies of pages I'd done for friends. When I went to put them in the album, I noticed a generic family tree scrap page that had been at the beginning of the album was missing! Maybe someone at the gathering really liked it - I just wished they'd asked me for a copy.

Lilian Jansen
Lilian Jansen Sat, 07/26/2014 - 15:21

@Marie Hargis - thank you for your kind comments! You inspire me too, with your genealogy LO's. I would love to do that too, one day. I have the negatives ready to be scanned and processed, but I won't feel guilty about having other priorities right now.

Marie Hargis
Marie Hargis Fri, 07/25/2014 - 21:27

@Lilian Jansen - I agree with you about this community. And I also understand where you are coming from about family and friends that do not appreciate your hard work. I will honestly say that I love your work that I have seen posted here, and I actively seek out on our home page for your picture to come up to see what you have posted or said. You have a fan in me. Keep up the good work.

Marie Hargis
Marie Hargis Fri, 07/25/2014 - 21:19

@ Rita Lai - I am happy that you have a win - win situation and it sound like a really good idea. I am assuming that you are scrapping digitally and having books printed. Please correct me if I am wrong in this assumption. Most of my family and friends do not get why I want to scrap nor why I would work for several years on my husband's family genealogy and some on my family (much of my family was done by my cousin). I do it for myself as it gives me joy, but mostly because I want my grandchildren to have it in the future. I would hope at least one of them would take up where I leave off.

Rita Lai
Rita Lai Fri, 07/25/2014 - 07:09

I also love to scrapbook and when I don't have a chance to or "fall behind" then I feel guilty. And then when I do finish a page and my family (husband and 2 sons) are not really into it, then I feel disappointed, like they don't appreciate all my hard work. But then I realized that I am doing this for me. I love to scrapbook, not them! Silly me. But over the last 8 years we have been taking trips with friends and family and I have been putting together scrapbooks of our vacations together and give them out as holiday gifts. And they are greatly appreciated. I love making them and our friends and family love to have them as memories. Now everyone gets into the picture taking aspect of the trip as well as participating in being in pictures - before some of the kids weren't so happy about having the cameras out all the time. Its a win - win.

Lilian Jansen
Lilian Jansen Thu, 07/24/2014 - 16:39

I often get another reaction, don't know if that sounds familiar to you: when I've been on holiday, I can't wait for my album to be finished so the pictures can tell the story. The atmosphere, the colours, the activities... But some people you show them to just flip through the pages and are done. I used to be disappointed, as if the pictures or the stories or the LO weren't interesting enough. But I do realise that some people just aren't in to photos as I am ( you can call me mad, really!) so now I tell the stories to my friends with a couple of photos on the iPad, and the albums for those who really appreciate it. And I post my favourite LOs here, to see if someone else likes them or comments on a technical aspect or something. Thanks for this community of like minded digiscrapping fanatics!

Linda Cobbley
Linda Cobbley Wed, 07/23/2014 - 08:01

I am not only a Mother but a grandmother also, until Kaleena showed me how to scrapbook digitally, (just a few months ago) I HATED scrapbooking! It was something I did only because I had to. a couple of years ago I ended up making a scrapbook (with paper and glue and stuff and with Kaleena's help) for Del's parents it covered the first 2 years of our live together and although it turned out ok (and his parents loved it) it was incredibly frustrating to me and when I finished I told Kaleena that I would never do that again. That was when she started showing me how to do it digitally. Now I am hooked! I usually start with the idea in my head and with paper and glue you get going and you are kinda stuck with what you started with or you waste all that paper and embellishments because it just doesn't work. ( usually have the end result in my head when I start) Now that I do it digitally I can not tell you how many times I change things up I think one of the best things is I can even change the background paper (and have MANY times) if the first one or 2nd or 3rd doesnt look the way I wanted it to. I use to scrapbook once a year (at Christmas) and yes it was out of guilt! now however I scrapbook because I love doing it!

Donna Bell
Donna Bell Mon, 07/21/2014 - 10:53

When I was a teenage the thing I most enjoyed were pen pals. I had as many as 150 at one time, some that I corresponded with more often than others, which kept our mailman very busy.
Then when our children were growing up the closest I came to scrapbooking would have been housing photos and birthday cards in albums.
A few years ago I began going through all the family photos and sorted them by my parents, and grandparents, my husband's parents, each of our siblings and then our children and grandchildren. I have each group in their own 3 ring binder. I used colored card stock and plastic sheets that open at the top. I spent weeks working on this.
Digital scrapbooking would have been so much nicer but since I can scan my photos and have already put so much work into my own project I guess I will leave it alone.
I really enjoy seeing what everyone else does in this forum through. You all have such great ideas. I started out using scrap kits in my psp program to finish or embellish other projects and it is hard for me to get away from that. I guess I would be a non-scrap booker who loves scraps!

Vicki Iseminger
Vicki Iseminger Sun, 07/20/2014 - 05:30

Thank you for this post. The line that really struck a cord with me was, "When you say no to something, that often leaves room for someone else to say yes. And that "yes" may change a life."

Marie Hargis
Marie Hargis Sat, 07/19/2014 - 23:19

Marisa, thank you for your comments they mean a lot. I love scrapbooking and started with my D-I-L. She was around a bunch of our military wives when she started and loves to scrap with other people. Now she is not near any scrappers so she does not make any time for it. I started to teach her daughter to scrap last year at the age of 7 1/2 hoping the two of them could scrap together. My visit was about 2 1/2 months and the little one and I scrapped often, but mom did not scrap once. I know she loved it, and I wish could find a way to get her back into it. That is why I am perusing digital, I hope to learn it well enough to teach my gb and daughter (D-I-L) next summer when I go back to Alaska. Who knows maybe she will grow to love it and feel that this community is her scrapping buddies. Thank you for this great community.

Jess Townsend
Jess Townsend Sat, 07/19/2014 - 21:02

I get comments like this as a singing teacher too. When people find out I teach singing for a living they claim hat they "can't sing," and they get all ashamed. Even when I point out that for many, it's the training that gives the confidence in ability, they say "no amount of training will help me," but how do they know if they don't give it a go?

As for scrapbooking, it's something I do really enjoy, especially seeing what I can come up with and how to scrap a memory or idea, though it has felt like a chore at times with everything else in life.

Susan Cantin
Susan Cantin Sat, 07/19/2014 - 11:56

Mothers have guilt, other mothers make sure of it .... and if you don't have children for whatever reason the pressure is great with them thinking "well you have all the time you want" ... having kids at a bit older age I have gone through both scenarios ... it's not about you ... it's about that person making the comment. Women are so tough on each other and ourselves most times. It isn't until we get older that we really start to realize this and stop :)

Tiffany Johnstone
Tiffany Johnstone Sat, 07/19/2014 - 06:55

i have always loved to craft. I definitely don't consider myself an artist, I'm a craftsperson. Digital scrapbooking is my medium of choice. Even if I didn't have kids I'd still do it, although they do give my pages more meaning.

Bobbie Corlis
Bobbie Corlis Sat, 07/19/2014 - 06:24

I hated scrapbooking for would actually leave me physically ill and nothing to show for it. I would be so stressed out because nothing looked right. I was so envious of people who had the patience and creativity to do it. Then I found digital scrapbooking, and I feel in love. I spend most of my free time scrapping and when I hit a creative block, I hijack pictures from friends and family members and do pages for them.

And my favorite part is when I finish a whole album and I can put it together with music and animations to make a video.

Annu Salman
Annu Salman Sat, 07/19/2014 - 04:53

well, I do it because I kind a felt lost between being a mother and a wife, its something I do for myself , to me its a way of expressing my love and it just gives me a sense of satisfaction, I get great blocks of creativity too then I just turn to my other love, i.e reading! :)

Nadia Slegers
Nadia Slegers Sat, 07/19/2014 - 01:45

So true what you are saying. I get that all the time “I would like to do that but I am not creative”. How do you not know you are creative if you won’t try? For me digital scrapbooking is fun because of the learning process, the “wow” factor when you created something, playing with textures and colors. It’s like a small gift. That why I have given away my kits for free, to let others play with it and make them happy. And I love this site because of the community spirit, the cool layouts that everyone makes, the beautiful designed kits I can play with as a creative team member.
It’s not about having a degree, it’s about doing something you love!

Catherine Bell
Catherine Bell Fri, 07/18/2014 - 22:58

I love how digital scrap booking has taken preserving family history to a new level. I always think about the illustrious family Bible with pressed flowers that has all the marriage records and descendant lists and now scrap booking can bring that to life for everyone to share. I also find it is a great way to preserve memories if you don't like to write long blogs or journal entries.

J.ajabad Abad
J.ajabad Abad Fri, 07/18/2014 - 22:01

I often get a similar reaction to people when I say I'm an artist-poet. People will tell me that they too wish they could be creative. It perplexes me because creativity is something everyone has. I'm a sentimental person at heart so scrapbooking fits perfectly. I recently made a memorial layout and it helped me cope with loss. I have noticed that it's such fun way to compose a moment or preserve a memory.