It seems there are countless excuses that stop us from enjoying life: lack of finances, no time, already feeling exhausted, etc. These excuses stop us from connecting with others. They stop us from learning new skills and from exploring our towns, states, and countries. The worst part? These excuses stop us from making memories, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You have the freedom to make memories with your family now!
Make Memories In Spite Of Circumstances
My husband and I are the King and Queen of misadventures. On our honeymoon, we got locked out of our cabin after the park rangers went home for the day. We also thought that we got locked out of the entire state park, hiked 1/5 of a mile up a mountain road, and then realized that the GPS took us to the wrong gate.
From rushing to set up a hike-in campsite before dark, to having to improvise padding due to an unforeseen freeze, to even having to paddle a mile in rain, it seems like our trips never turn out the way we imagined.
Yet we always manage to have fun and make unforgettable memories. Okay, so maybe the misadventures help, but I give a lot of credit to the fact that we’re together even in the miserable situations.
What About Our Ordinary Lives?
Even when we’re not having another misadventure, we still know how to have fun. Memories are the shared moments where joy is expressed, where amusement is shared, where we are all connected in the exhilarating moment of, “This is fun.”
There’s nothing that can truly take those moments from you. I think we sometimes get caught up in this rat race idea that we should do the “big” things that we see everybody else do. This comparison game can leave you feeling like you either have to go into debt or work even harder to get exciting memories.
But the truth is that memories don’t have to cost a lot of money. They don’t even have to have an entire day dedicated to them. There is only one thing that memories do require: intentionality.
You need to be intentional about turning the unexpected things in life – like our misadventures – into something fun when it’s easy to be negative about everything. You need to be intentional about wanting to create memories; otherwise, you are in danger of losing out on precious moments due to stress. You need to be intentional about seizing moments to make memories.
In our relationship, I see a recurring problem when it comes to planning something to do. The Hubby and I both agree that something would be fun to do or even outright say that we want to do something, but we never actually do it. Why? Because I think we’re waiting for the stars to align and for a collaborative planning session to happen.
Recently, I realized that we’re squandering our time. Sure, we make lots of memories. We see friends. We see extended families. We have our misadventures. But we do very little ‘fun’ for our own family outside of the domestic things I’ll mention later. And I thought, “This is crazy. Even if it’s thirty minutes to the park, it’s still something we can go do together.”
Then I thought, “Why hasn’t the Hubby helped plan any adventures?”
It’s my standard thought because – as a full-time employee and graduate student – he has the busiest schedule. It was then that I realized, he has the busier schedule.
It was a lightbulb flashing in my mind. Why wasn’t I coming up with some plans on things that we could do together as a family? I didn’t have to fill up every blank spot on the calendar. I just needed a polished proposal to suggest.
And of course, I quickly remembered how horrible this area is for doing things with a toddler (at least until the splash pads open in April) as soon as I took the initiative. That’s a story for another post though.
Tips for Planning Memories
- Check out your State Park resources near you. While our closest State Parks are decent, I was super excited to discover a free State wildlife management area complete with a playground and nature trail only 20 minutes from our home (that’s closer than the park we go, too!) Unfortunately, it feels like you’re asking for trouble if you go there alone, which is why I can’t wait for the Hubby to finish his thesis work so we can finally go explore.
- Do seasonal searches in your area for festivals, holiday events, splash pad openings, etc. You might be surprised by what you find near you.
- Remember to think about food. Put together a snack and water kit. Remember to factor in meals for both time and money.
- Write a list of things you would like to do. Include even the dorky and random things. Collect similar lists from your family members.
- Use Facebook to search for events local to your town. Sometimes you’ll come across a church event that you might not have heard about otherwise. If you’re mischievous, though, you’ll have to resist the urge to crash birthday parties.
- Always check your estimated travel time at least 24 hours in advance. This will allow you to put together a rough leave/return schedule and help you avoid eating two meals out when you only expected to eat one.
What’s Holding You Back?
Joy is a distinguishing trait of a Christian. This means that we need to make room to be joyful. When I talk about making memories, I’m also talking about having joy in life.
So what’s holding you back?
If it’s a lack of time, then it’s time to find some freedom from doing. If you’re afraid that you might fall behind in this world by taking the time to build memories, then it’s time to conquer that fear. Remember, rest (which can also be achieved in making memories if you go about it the right way) is a commandment from God. This means we can expect Spiritual warfare to make us feel like we cannot take those moments to rest.
You’ve already got the freedom to make memories with your family. You’ve just got to choose to get rid of the burdens that are stopping you so that you can actually make those memories. (And I have a special freebie for those who want freedom from their burdens at the bottom of this post.)
What about a lack of funds?
No problem. In Lovisa Hammock’s post Showing Love Through Action, she shares some significant memories from her childhood. I love this, because the things she remembered are not big or costly.
Sometimes making memories is just about doing the unexpected in the ordinary everyday life. It’s the pajama-clad runs for ice cream, blowing bubbles on a beautiful spring day, or running through a sprinkler during the hot summer.
In my own childhood, my parents often skipped out on swimming or playing electronic games with my brother and I. That’s why it was a real treat when they did join us. It was the unexpected in the ordinary.
At Home Memories
- Join the Cardboard Challenge by Imagination Foundation. Technically it’s in September, but you can take the challenge whenever you have spare cardboard.
- Create a game challenge. You can either challenge each other to make a new board game, or select random objects that must be used.
- Or you can just have a board game day.
- Write a story together. You can find plenty of prompts on Pinterest. Alternatively, you can each write your own story.
- Go blanket fort camping. Find a baked s’mores recipe to add authenticity.
- Spa day or beauty parlor.
- Find a new cookie recipe to make.
- Play the ground is lava together.
- Look up team building exercises or minute-to-win-it for some unique activities.
- Play volleyball, badminton, catch, Frisbee, or soccer. (Whichever doesn’t usually get played.)
- Tea party.
- Picnic in the back yard.
- Play imagination games together.
- Nerf gun wars for indoors, or water wars for outside.
- Grow a unique plant.
Special Trips for the Frugal
If you want a special trip or activity to make memories, then there are plenty of ways to keep the price-tag down (or even completely free!):
- Some of the earlier tips should help you find free or inexpensive activities.
- Plan to eat at home before you leave or pack a picnic lunch.
- Consider something dual-purposed, like going to pick your own fruit or vegetables at a farm. You get to make memories while doing something helpful for the family. It’s a win-win.
- Borrow needed items from friends. Want to go fishing but don’t have a boat? Need a tent or a camper? Ask help from somebody who does.
- See if your local library has event passes that you can check out.
Making Memories Through Ministry
I almost didn’t add this section. However, I think that some people need to read this. I know I can be guilty of forgetting this option when it comes to making memories with others.
As a pastor’s daughter, it shouldn’t surprise you to know that I have many fond memories involving ministry. Construction projects – although dirty – provided some of the most genuine Christian fellowship that I’ve ever experienced. Outreach events also provided unique memories. There’s something really cool about witnessing to people alongside one of your parents or your sibling.
There are so many benefits to getting children involved in ministry. It helps you to teach your children to love the Lord because they can see that the relationship is real in your own life. They learn compassion and humility.
And while we think of ministry as something solemn, it doesn’t have to be that way at all. There are plenty of opportunities to laugh – like at the time my entire job for an afternoon was plugging in and unplugging power tools because there was only one extension cord – and to have fun while ministering to others.
In conclusion, dear Busy Mom, you always have the freedom to make memories with your family.
If you want to dig even deeper into this post, then you need to connect with the Chaotic Life community. Comment below with one of the following:
- A favorite memory made with your family
- Any helpful tips for making memories
- Something that you would like to do with your family
Look for another comment or two to respond to. You can also join Chaotic Weekly for even more Chaotic Life encouragement by signing up for the Freedom from Burdens journal below.