Events to Experience vs. Tasks to Complete

I was talking with a friend the other day who had just had her second child.  Her oldest is 2.5 and she was wondering how she was ever going to be able to go grocery shopping with both kids. 

I’ve felt the same way…especially with three…thankfully I didn’t have to take all three grocery shopping by myself until Hannah was six months old (and I didn’t have to stop AT LEAST once to nurse!)

I’ve realized that somewhere along this parenting journey I’ve had a change of perspective: I’m viewing life more as events to experience rather than as tasks to complete.  

Little things (like grocery shopping and errands) and bigger things (like 400 mile car trips) need to be viewed as events to experience and enjoy.  When I begin a task with the mindset to experience it as an event, I have a more peaceful and joyful time.  I do not feel stressed to complete the task in a reasonable amount of time…just to complete the task and enjoy the process.

What does this look like for our family?  It means I ALWAYS pack snacks (and sometimes lunch).  I know our limits (a max of 2-3 stops for a trip to town…this is about 2-3 hours total, including 45 minutes of drive time).  I take the time to stop and look at the fish in Walmart.  I take the time to eat samples at Costco (including pulling over and parking in a side aisle so the kids can finish each sample before coming to the next one).  Sometimes we plan for a picnic lunch at the park following our errands.

We just got back from a trip to Iowa for a family reunion.  400 miles each way, with three young children.  I’m excited to say that we got our first “Are we there yet?” from our eldest when we were only 25 minutes from our destination!  Here is what we did:

9:45am  We left home. A great aunt had made bags of fun for each kid…these were just dollar store toys and such but they LOVED them! And it kept they occupied…for FAR longer than I had imagined possible!

11:45am Stopped at Cabela’s, looked at all the animal displays, walked through the aquarium, used the bathroom.

12:45pm Back on the road with lunch to eat while driving.

2:30pm Stopped at another Cabela’s, looked at the animal displays, walked through the aquarium, used the bathroom.

3:15pm Back on the road. Snacks!

5:30pm Stopped at a rest area to use the bathroom and run around the picnic tables.

6:35pm Got our first “Are we there yet?”

7:00pm Arrived at our destination!

We planned all there stops ahead of time and we knew it would take MUCH longer than the 6.5 hours of actual drive time to reach our destination.  But we made it with smiles on our faces and lots of fun things to tell Grandma about!

What do you think will change if you choose to see things as events to experience rather than tasks to complete?

2 thoughts on “Events to Experience vs. Tasks to Complete

  1. Lea says:

    Ad a mom of 6, I remember being where the younger mom was, and now being somewhat more like you described yourself. But I think I will be more intentional now that you’ve spelled it out so simply! Thanks!


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