Every day you do so many things for your child. If you're a co-parent with 50-50 custody, if you have full custody, or if you have regular visits with your child, you may want to consider keeping a parenting journal.
Your parenting journal will provide excellent evidence of your child care contribution if that contribution ever gets challenged in court.
Why are child care journals particularly important for men?
In many cases, mothers receive a full child custody award -- not because courts are biased toward women -- but because women often put more time into child rearing than men do. However, a man who has a journal with daily entries that note what he did for his children will have a better chance of asserting his child custody rights in court.
Your child care journal will also serve as a cherished memory from years passed when you were taking care of your kids. In fact, this way of using your child care journal as a memory-keeper -- and as a way to work out your daily challenges and fears as a parent -- may be the part about your journal that gets you the most excited.
What should I put in my journal?
You can be as creative and detailed, or as simple and brief as you want with your journal. This is your special document, so feel free to make what you want of it. That said, from a legal perspective, here are some details you'll want to include:
- Medical appointments to which you took your children and what the results were.
- Days you spent with your children and what you did for fun.
- Did you read a bedtime story to your child or have other kinds of bonding moments? Write those down.
- Take a note if the other parent is late for scheduled exchanges.
- Jot down notes about important things you need to speak with the other parent about.
- Note any psychological changes regarding your child. If you notice your child is sad or makes worrisome complaints about the other parent, take note of them.
When will you need your child care journal in court?
Although it doesn't happen often, if the other parent tries to challenge your child care contribution, or tries to strip you of your custody rights, your child care journal will be an essential piece of evidence to help you prove your case. Your journal could also serve as important evidence if, during child custody proceedings, you are trying to prove that you are an equal contributor to raising your child.