How to achieve a bucket list with kids in tow

Run a marathon; drink cocktails on a beach in the Seychelles; write a successful novel…

These are the kind of wishes that fill my bucket list. Millions of people all over the country have lists of wishes for their life, yet I wonder how many of us actually achieve them?

Maybe you procrastinate; get bogged down by the daily grind; lack the resources? Or maybe you are like me and can’t conceive a way to achieve your bucket list with three kids in tow?

Bucket list + kids = challenging

I’ve thought long and hard about how to get going on my bucket list but I’ve decided that being a parent to three delightfully time-consuming children stacks the odds against me.

Sure, I know what you are thinking, what about all those amazingly capable mothers who have achieved great things? There’s retired Westpac chief executive Gail Kelly, once ranked by Forbes as the world’s eighth most powerful woman. She has four children, including triplets.

Then there’s JK Rowling, creator of the Harry Potter series, one of the most popular book and film franchises in history. She started out as a single mother on welfare.

And not to be forgotten, Angelina Jolie, award-winning actress, humanitarian and mother of six.

No doubt these amazing mothers have achieved their bucket lists and then some.

So I concede it may be possible to make incredible achievements with kids in tow, it’s just you may find an extra few obstacles in your path, hurdles to jump and walls to climb!

Choking on visualisation

Experts say that visualisation is an important step in achieving your goals, in other words, imagine it’s going to happen and it will happen.

But what about when you choke? When you try and imagine something beautiful and other thoughts drift in that cloud your vision.

Take a look at these scenarios and see if any ring true.

  • Scenario 1: Run a marathon

bucket list with family running picBefore you run a marathon, you first have to train, and train hard. And it is here, during the training phase, before the race has even begun that my visualisation starts to go horribly wrong.

According to the Blackmores Sydney Marathon Training program, to prepare for a marathon you should be out pounding the pavement six times a week, building up the intensity and duration over a four month period.

A quick calculation and I’ve worked out that marathon training would require a 50% increase in my current exercise level. Easy to achieve maybe if it doesn’t have to be squeezed in between work, chores, sleep, little people demands, meal preparation, and did I mention ‘little people demands’?

Yes I have tried getting up at 4.30am to squeeze in training before the day starts but the side effects of having to keep my eyes open with toothpicks by the early afternoon were having an alarming effect on my work productivity.

  • Scenario 2: Drink cocktails on a beach in the Seychelles.

bucket list with family cocktail pic

Let’s say that a family trip to the Seychelles has been paid for by winning the lottery (I have no trouble with this visualisation).

Reclined in banana lounge by ocean, husband at side, cocktail in hand, I relax, ready to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of tropical island sunset.

Next moment:

“Mummy, I’m bored. Can’t you play with me, haven’t you finished lying down yet?” (4 year old)

“Mummy, why does the sun set, can you explain what makes it go down?” (9 year old)

“Mum, can I taste your cocktail?” (12 year old)

  • Write a successful novel

writing novel family bucket list with family in tow

Writing a successful novel is a popular dream among writers, but my vision is slightly more demanding than most because the novel must not only achieve critical acclaim, it must also sell millions of copies and be reprinted in 10 different languages!

To achieve this ambitious goal I need quiet. I’m not talking whisper quiet, but let’s say that anything above 50 decibels gets my goat – so that’s the dog barking, the garbage truck, talkback radio and of course the arguing, moaning and bickering of children – the decibels of which you might be interested to know, rise alarmingly when a third child enters the fray.

Multiply this quiet by the number of hours required to write a critically acclaimed best seller and try to achieve it in a household I endearingly refer to as the ‘zoo’. Perhaps you can see where my visualisation starts to go pear shaped?

A family bucket list solution

making a  family bucket list

So if you are like me and having trouble getting your bucket list off the ground, you might be interested in what I consider the perfect solution: a family bucket list.

That is, instead of making your bucket list all about your own wants and desires, how about you make it about your family – the things you can all achieve together. This way, not only is there more chance of getting some action, but it draws everyone together as a family unit.

It was through a friend that I got the idea when she told me about a family she knew who has formed a list of 100 things to do together over 10 years. Everyone in the family sat down together to nominate ideas and the list is laminated and displayed on the wall with a tick next to each completed item.

My family recently sat down to form our own list and I’ll share with you what we’ve come up with so far.

  1. A Pyjama day. Stay in PJs from sun up to sun down (hopefully also stay in house and have no unexpected visitors)
  2. Sports camp at home (20 different sports up the driveway, kids vs parents)
  3. Horse riding weekend away
  4. Chopsticks only. No cutlery allowed for a whole day.
  5. Hike NZ’s Abel Tasman coast track
  6. Movie marathon. Watch movies at home all day (yikes!)
  7. Trip to Disneyland
  8. Play in the snow
  9. Go on a cycling holiday in Tasmania
  10. Host our own Masterchef day at home
  11. Watch a sunrise
  12. Volunteer at a homeless shelter
  13. Have dessert for breakfast
  14. Trip to Gold Coast theme parks
  15. Visit Uluru
  16. Go on a road trip around Australia
  17. Ride in a helicopter
  18. Visit a castle
  19. Ride a camel
  20. Campervan trip along the Great Ocean Road

We need lots more ideas so I’d love to hear your suggestions for things we can add or any bucket list experiences you have had as a family.

3 thoughts on “How to achieve a bucket list with kids in tow

  1. Marilyn woods

    How about an African Safari? Or go snorkelling with whale sharks. There’s a couple of items I would add.

  2. Lenka

    What about spending a whole day in silence? Not all family at once, may be each member of your family on different day during a month time. I know it sounds very challenging and must be done over the weekend. But it is something I would like to try to give my kids the chance to experience it. Probably it is worth waiting until the youngest family member is at least 10 years old.


Leave a Reply

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