Why I hate the phrase ‘making memories’ [022]

Ok, ‘hate’ is a strong word, and I know this will make me sound like a bitter old woman (I promise I’m not!), but the fact that people seem to call out: “Enjoy making memories” for half of the things that you do in life is a real bug bear of mine!making memories

“We’re getting married next month”. “Fantastic! Enjoy making memories on your day!”

“We’re going on holidays tomorrow”. “Oh, enjoy making memories for your kids!”

Innocent, I know. Just a thing you say. And that’s probably because I’m a bit of a language geek, but I don’t say it, and you guessed that I’m about to tell you why.

It makes it sound like a task

If I’m planning a day out somewhere special or going on holidays, as a family of 5, we’ve got enough stuff to plan for to make it all happen. “Making memories” doesn’t need to feature on my to-do list. “Making the most of it” definitely will. And if it was a good day and one worth remembering, then I’m sure it’ll become a memory, but the bit I want to focus on is the enjoying bit, and I’m sure that the memory will then come.

It makes me feel like whatever we’re doing is already in the past

We’ve not even done it yet, and I have to think about the memory already? As a generation of parents I think we are all a bit too guilty of ‘not living in the moment and in the present’ well enough. We focus too often on the past and constantly seem to worry about the future. I’m going on holidays to enjoy every minute of it, hopefully, without focusing too much on whether it is going to be a good memory or not, for me or my children.

I don’t want to miss out

A few months ago, Adele made the news (you know, first world problems and all that) because she told a fan at one of her concerts to put the camera away and just enjoy.

She’s right though.

And at some point I actually was that fan. I was lucky enough to see Adele performing Hello live last year, and I filmed the whole thing on my phone. Then I asked myself, “Why did I do that?!” I never watched it back – in fact, I did attempt it, and the video wasn’t even good quality. It just was nowhere near what the experience was really like. Now, you may or may not like her, but she undeniably has a powerful voice. And one that really holds the stage. For me it was quite an emotional experience, but why did I bother filming it rather than just enjoying what I was watching? I ended up watching it through my phone screen to make sure I was aiming right – why not just watch her directly?

We are too guilty of this, I find. In the age of smartphones and social media, it’s almost like we are ‘expected’ to show what cool things we do with our kids and what cool places we go to.

And you know what? We all know the truth here. We don’t always get to do cool things and go to cool places because in fact for a lot of parents with young children life can be quite routine-heavy sometimes, and it’s definitely not always picture perfect. I’m sure as parents you also have days or moments that you don’t want to have memories of, and you probably don’t want your children to remember them either! So when we do get to do something different and nice, we do want to share it. There’s nothing wrong with that. But I’m sure you’ll agree that watching things through a lens isn’t the same thing as watching them ‘live’.

Shall we trust life a bit more?Why I hate the phrase 'making memories' Mind your Mamma

I have memories of when I was a child. Everyone does. And yet my parents didn’t take a camera wherever we went. And they didn’t have a blog or social media to share every single day of their lives with others.

We remember because our brain has the power to retain information, thankfully. We may have forgotten a lot, but we also remember a lot. And the childhood memories we have are ones that we (hopefully) treasure.

Even without a photo or a video to record them.

Even when our parents didn’t set out for the day with the objective of ‘making memories’.

The days were lived.

Moments were shared.

Emotions were felt, and memories were made.


So if you tell me you’re going on holidays, I’ll just really, from the heart, tell you to relax and enjoy it! You may or may not remember some of it in a few months. You know, the tiring and stressful bits that inevitably always happens if you’re on holidays with your children…

Your children may or may not remember some of it in a few years.

But if you enjoyed the single moments, it will all have been worth it, I’m sure.

I know this is a bit controversial. So, what do you think? 


  1. Claire
    14th December 2016 / 10:22 pm

    I quite agree! I have been making a conscious effort to stop taking so many photos lately, I feel like I’m interrupting life sometimes for the sake of a good Instagram shot, y’know? It’s good to make real memories that you don’t hold in a photo but in your heart 🙂 #kcacols

    • Sara
      15th December 2016 / 11:00 am

      I love that phrase Claire! “I feel like I’m interrupting life sometimes” – it’s so true! I’m glad I’m not the only one trying to do this 🙂

  2. 15th December 2016 / 11:31 pm

    Perhaps the part you really disagree with is the recording of events as memories, rather than the making of memories in itself? I agree to a certain extent, in that it may be difficult to enjoy the moment if you’re too busy trying to compose the perfect photo. But I also think it’s important to record special times – I have a terrible memory, and I really enjoy looking back and reminding myself of things which I would have otherwise forgotten if I didn’t photograph it.. #KCACOLS

    • Sara
      16th December 2016 / 2:53 pm

      Yes, totally. I’m all for living events and remembering them, but I just really don’t like the phrase as it puts something immediately in the past. And sometimes this happens when things haven’t even happened yet. I totally agree that it’s important to record special times, and obviously I do it too!

  3. 16th December 2016 / 2:24 pm

    That’s really interesting. I think I need to put my phone away more and just enjoy the moment I’m in. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday X

    • Sara
      16th December 2016 / 2:47 pm

      Thank you Kerry – it’s really hard for me to do that too, but I’m really trying to make a conscious effort to do it! x

  4. 16th December 2016 / 8:22 pm

    This is a really interesting post and I do know I need to put my phone down more. I also went to see Adele live last year and she was just incredible! I loved every moment of it. #KCACOL

    • Sara
      17th December 2016 / 10:35 pm

      She’s amazing, isn’t she? I was quite emotional – her voice is just amazing!

  5. 18th December 2016 / 9:43 am

    Well this makes me feel better that I don’t take anywhere near as many photos as others! I always forget as im just enjoying the moment. Thank you for linking up to #SundayBest x

    • Sara
      19th December 2016 / 3:06 pm

      Enjoying the moment sounds quite good to me! 🙂 x

  6. 19th December 2016 / 9:55 pm

    Really good point and powerfully put too. I was quite moved by your post because it really struck a cord with me. We should enjoy what we do for what it is and how it makes us feel at that moment. Brilliant!
    Thank you also for linking up with my christmas special.

    • Sara
      19th December 2016 / 11:00 pm

      Thank you Mainy! I’m so happy you liked it and that it struck a cord! Thank you for hosting the linky! 🙂

  7. 4th January 2017 / 4:45 pm

    A very thought-provoking post! What on earth did we all do before we had cameras and social media? #mainyloveschristmas

    • Sara
      4th January 2017 / 11:49 pm

      He he – I know, Natalie! Mind you, it’s not like I don’t take any photos! I’m just trying to not be obsessive with it!

  8. Lesley
    9th January 2018 / 12:36 pm

    I’m so glad to have found this article! I too really dislike the phrase ‘making memories’. Surely if you have a functioning brain everything you do becomes a memory? Some are good, some not so good but increasingly ‘making memories’ seems to be about showing off – the perfect family, the romantic couple, the best children, the ‘incredible’ holiday. I love it that some people have these experiences but I wish they’d just enjoy them!!!

    • Sara
      9th January 2018 / 5:28 pm

      Thank you Lesley – I totally relate to what you’re saying!

  9. Lynda
    5th May 2018 / 1:23 am

    I totally agree. I just looked up the phrase on google to see if anyone else cringe when they hear it! So glad to find your article!

    • Sara
      8th May 2018 / 1:40 pm

      So glad you can relate Lynda! 🙂 (And that it’s not just me!)

  10. Ziggy
    12th June 2018 / 7:49 pm

    Exactly like Lynda, I just Googled ‘why is everybody obsessed with making memories’ because I really cannot stand this phrase – and it led me here! Thank you so much for making this post. I’m in the total minority it would seem; I don’t take photos unless I’m going to print them (which is very rare) and I don’t use social media because I’m too busy living my life to make a record of it – I rely on my brain to recall events I’ve enjoyed – a photograph only shows you what was in the frame at that exact second; it’s easy to rely on a photo as a ‘memory’ and forget the rest! Also agree that it’s already placing anticipated occasions in the past. Boooooooo!

    • Sara
      13th June 2018 / 9:49 am

      A lot of people seem to find the post for the same reason – I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels this way as when I wrote it I thought I would be! We may be in the total minority, but there seem to be a few of us now! 😉

  11. Erica
    11th July 2018 / 1:27 pm

    I also googled to find you! Mine was “making memories annoying”. I don’t think I got past the n and it had already filled it in for me LOL
    Great post. For me, the point wasn’t about people taking pictures excessively, it’s that that phrase is simply annoying and it makes it seem like we are doing things to record it for a newsfeed. Sometimes I wonder, am I being the bitter one for not posting my life on social media? I honestly feel like I want to be modest. I don’t want to contribute to someone feeling bad about themselves if they can’t sfford to take a trip or do something extraordinary. I’ve taken some pretty amazing trips and quite honestly I’m too “embarrassed “ to even admit them bc they are over the top awesome and I don’t want to seem bragging. Not to mention, we don’t need big brother or someone shady knowing our every move. Anyway— great post. Thanks:):)

    • Sara
      12th July 2018 / 1:51 pm

      That’s such a good point, Erica. It’s true though – why are we taking these photos? Why are we documenting these memories (if the truth is that, in the digital age, we hardly ever look at photos anymore anyway)? Is it because you ‘have to have’ a newsfeed? Because you have to be ‘seen’ ‘making memories’? So glad it resonates with so many people!

  12. Joanne
    30th October 2018 / 5:47 pm

    Making memories, aside from being an annoyingly overused saying, is an oxymoron. And what about the other mantra of the day, to “live mindfully”, which totally contradicts “making memories.” For starters, you cannot MAKE a memory. A memory is a thought about a past occurrence, so how do you create a past thought? Do you live so self-consciously that you plan out your future thoughts and memory perception? How is that even possible? You live your life and have experiences that may impact you and create a lasting memory, good or bad. You try to do fun, happy things with your children and family so they will enjoy the MOMENT. Will they look back fondly on that time? probably, but living life to create future thoughts is absurd. The only thing that came close to this sort of stupid “making memories” was when I took my son to Disney when he was about 2 years old, and we used to say, he probably is too young so he won’t remember. That was it really. Nowadays, we all sit around the holiday table telling funny stories and reminiscing about the past. Most of the stories have nothing to do with those “making memories” moments. More often than not, they are the little things that happened long ago, like remembering playing monopoly with grandma or that funny haircut you had. These certainly were not planned out events to imprint their minds with memories. Life happens and you remember what you remember. And if you are lucky you have fond memories of the past and of your loved ones.

  13. Judith Staley
    22nd December 2018 / 6:06 pm

    Just found this because I was googling to see if anyone else hates this phrase. Me too! Just enjoy what you do. It may become a memory… it may not. You can’t MAKE memories.

    • Sara
      31st December 2018 / 11:42 am

      That’s it! Simple, right? 🙂

  14. Tina B
    5th July 2019 / 8:05 pm

    I couldn’t agree more….. It’s a bragging phrase of the pretentious, whose experiences are far more superior to everyone else, and every second captured while they view it all via their camera screen to capture the ‘memories made’… Rather than actually be involved and actually enjoy it…. Pretentious

    • Sara
      31st July 2019 / 10:01 pm

      The phrase does seem to grate a lot of people, Tina, doesn’t it?

  15. Ann
    2nd September 2019 / 4:04 am

    Thank you SO MUCH for your thoughts about the. “Making memories phrase.” I cringe whenever I hear someone use that phrase. (Along with the phrase “ I am so blessed.”). We all need to pay attention to what we are doing at the time we are doing it and not do something with a goal of “making a memory.” I see so many people of all ages constantly using their phones to record memories instead of enjoying what they are doing at the time. I am glad to see that others agree with me on this ! Thanks for your thoughts !

    • Sara
      17th September 2019 / 10:52 am

      So many people tend to have the same feeling about this phrase, Ann! Thank you for sharing your experience and thoughts!

  16. Maryanne
    9th October 2019 / 2:38 pm

    Amen! I was just googling where this phrase came from and your blog post was number one! There’s a few people in my life that repeat this nonstop no matter what we’re doing. It’s annoying because I also know that pictures are the way kids remember their lives in a lot of ways. However I find it a fussy comment. Like I’m doing not doing enough I can’t figure out exactly how to keep it from sounding negative in my mind however it helps to know that I am not the only one with this opinion. Thanks for posting!

    • Sara
      6th November 2019 / 4:09 pm

      He he – as you can probably judge from the comments, a few people feel the same way. It’s crazy to think this post shot to the top of the Google searches within weeks of writing it! We’re not alone 🙂

  17. Mel
    21st October 2019 / 2:08 pm

    Thank you so much for your article, Sara! I thought I was the only one who disliked this phrase, since everybody seems to be using it (a lot) these days! You expressed exactly what I was feeling.

    • Sara
      6th November 2019 / 4:07 pm

      Glad to hear it, Mel! A lot of people (as you may have seen in the comments) can relate!

  18. sandra phillips
    11th August 2020 / 5:09 pm

    Put your camera away and enjoy the real thing

    • Sara
      8th October 2020 / 2:12 pm


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *