I get out of the van and head around to help my five youngest children unstrap. It used to be harder, I used to have five children under five, but now I have big six and seven year old girls to help. I also have ten children now, but I frequently run errands with just the youngest ones.
After years of running errands with a passel of young children in tow, I’m finally at the point where I am could run errands by myself. However, I find that I still run most errands with a several young children in tow.
Our family rule is that whoever wishes to run errands with mommy, may run errands with mommy(Think ‘yes’ mom.) and my little ones love a trip to the grocery, returning things to Target or dropping something off at a friend’s
There are several reasons that we’ve decided upon this approach, but it basically boils down to our priority of relationship.
My goal is not simply to get through a list or to accomplish certain tasks. My goal is to use the opportunities that God has given me to disciple ten eternal souls. I’m best able to accomplish that by slowing down and incorporating them into each aspect of my life, even in the midst of errands.
I enjoy being with my younger children and I’ve found that running errands together gives us more opportunity to talk about little kid things. I enjoy the extra opportunity of getting into their brains and hearing what’s going on in there little worlds.
It gives my not so young, younger children (the 5-7 crowd and sometimes the 2 -4 crowd) the opportunity to be the ‘big kid’ and help mom with the younger ones. I’ve watched my mid-range kids shine as they seek to help me by serving their younger siblings. I’m often surprised at how capable and kind they are when given the opportunity.
Running errands with just the littles also gives me the opportunity to make sure our little ones are well-trained. This may sound strange to some of you since I’m at home everyday with these little guys, but often the big kids are playing with them and there are lots of fun things to do at our home, so seeing them out when there is not as much entertainment available, when they need to obey immediately, pay attention and not touch everything in sight is a good opportunity for them to shine or show me areas where we need to work.
So for those of you who are always accompanied by lots of littles and long for the day when you will be able to run errands without strapping and unstrapping half a dozen car seats, consider that perhaps when that day comes you may choose the privilege of taking them with you, so take a breath and enjoy the blessing of time together now.