Courtesy P&G Everday
With her eldest daughter, 5½-year-old Josselyn Sydney, starting kindergarten in the fall, Samantha Harris is more aware than ever how quickly time is flying.
“It was just yesterday that she was a toddler like our little one,” Harris, also mom to Hillary Madison, 2½, tells PEOPLE. “I was just playing with these magnet dolls with [Hillary] and it’s so cute listening to her talk and how she phrases everything. I know that the cute little phrases she has today are going to be gone tomorrow. You have to cherish each of those moments.”
That realization is what led Harris to partner with P&G everyday, a one-stop website with simple tips on everything from cooking to beauty to helping moms spend less time getting things done, and more time being mom.
“It’s hard in our busy, busy life, especially as a working mom and as moms in general. It’s hard to take a breather and spend that quality time [with your kids], which is essential,” Harris, 39, says.
To chronicle those special moments in her own family’s lives, Harris and her husband, Michael Hess, write journals to their daughters, recalling funny stories, the day they happened and how old each girl was when the moment occurred.
“My goal is to keep those going until they turn 18 and — when each of them have their 18th birthday — present it to them,” she says, adding that the homemade quality of the journals is important to her.
“I think that there’s something to be said about having the ability to see your parents’ writing,” Harris says. “I lost my dad when I was 22 and he was just 50, and I realize truly how precious the time is, so anytime I come across a birthday card with his writing, I hold it dear.”
And how does Harris ensure the journals are filled with lasting memories? By taking Josselyn on special field trips.
“I called it Mommy Camp,” she says. “We would pick a new destination every day. We went to the observatory in L.A. We have a membership to the L.A. Zoo. We’ll go there a bunch of different times and tackle different areas of it.”
“So there’s a petting zoo we’ll spend a lot of time in one day,” she continues. “Another day, we watch the elephants go through their morning cleaning and training. We went to the art museum, the tar pits, the beach. It’s lots of special time.”
As Hillary gets older, she’ll also be joining Mom and her big sister on these trips, a milestone Harris can’t wait for. “Having my two little ones has just made my life so much fuller,” she says.
– Kiran Hefa