I get my love of the beach from my Grandmother Betty–the ultimate beach mom. She’d spend her summers sitting on Old Silver Beach in Falmouth, Cape Cod. She would be packed and ready to go by 8:00 a.m. It’s better to arrive early and stake out a claim on the perfect spot on the sand.
Just like her, I’m happiest sitting on my beach chair, under the umbrella, throwing a side eye at all that sand.
Beach Mom Life: Living the Dream
Picture this – beautiful blue skies stretching across the Atlantic Ocean, waves crashing on the shore as colorful umbrellas as far as the eye can see. Kids playing happily in the surf, as the adults enjoy good conversations with each other nestled in a half circle keeping an eye on the kids.
The umbrella offers shade for the coolers (packed to the brim with everyone’s favorite foods and snacks) as well as cover for those folks who prefer to stay out of the sun. There are plenty of ice-cold water bottles we’ve scattered around the edges of the chairs. Each child has a boogie board and a pair of fins – and there are enough foam surfboards for the kids to play or paddleboard on.
Shovels and buckets tumble down towards the edge of the water or are in the large hole that was dug for everyone to play in. One bucket may house 40 or so sand crabs they happily dug up and collected with the rest of the kids. Not a care in the world. Everyone is happy. No one asks to play games on your phone – and no one utters those awful words “I’m bored”.
Sounds heavenly, doesn’t it? Well, that’s only a snippet of what really goes into a day at the beach.
True confessions: I love the beach, but I also love to complain about the beach.
It is such a pain to lug everything but your kitchen sink all the way to the beach and back! Or what about unpacking after a long beach day, having mounds of sand scattered everywhere around your house – even though you made everyone shower off outside. Or remembering when to wash the sandy towels after so many days spent using it. Think about doing that 3-4x a week, sometimes even more often during the summer months (thanks to my beach-loving husband).
Beach Mom Stats
This summer alone, our beach STATS were staggering.
We spent time at over 16 different beaches, 5 of which were brand new to us. We packed and unpacked countless picnics, dried and folded a zillion towels over and over again. We had 1 early morning kid surf session, but a bunch of early morning surf sessions for the husband and his buddies.
Causalities were limited to 1 broken shovel, a few tangled kites, 1 rusty beach chair that finally got the boot, and 2 pairs of sunglasses whooshed away by the surf. And we had only 2 serious bathroom emergencies. Our trusty green wooden umbrella stayed tried and true – never blew away and kept us cool and shaded throughout the blazing mid-day stretches. The boys caught (and released) at least 200 sand crabs – this was certainly the summer of catching crabs.
Beach Mom: Behind the Scenes
The “behind-the-scenes” of a beach mom – usually carrying a small child over the hot sand, or a surfboard, along with bags of Taste sandwiches, or (if I’m lucky), just my trusty 76th Street Tote from North End Bag Co. This is the bag that holds ALL the very important beach essentials that no one but mom knows we need. It’s been along for the ride to almost every single beach day adventure that we’ve been on in the past 3 years. It’s covered a lot of sand!
If you come with me to the beach, just know that I will always have a stash of plastic bags to collect trash or deal with a potty situation. Not to toot my own horn or anything – but my beach picnics are always ON POINT. There are plenty of ice cold water bottles for each person – and a bit extra. No one wants to be dehydrated at the beach. I also know that I packed each person’s favorite things to eat. I also included a few chilled seltzer waters with coozies to keep them chilled.
The First-Aid medical kit sits (usually untouched), along with a stash of extra clothes & a dry towel. I will also tell you that if we didn’t bring one shovel for each kid – there will surely be a tussle at some point of the day. Sunscreen is always on my mind. I’m usually wondering who needs to reapply, and did I put enough on myself? I dread the words “mom I have to go to the bathroom”, and secretly pray that it won’t happen.
The Perfect Day for a Beach Mom
To me, it’s the people you go to the beach with, that end up making it the perfect day. Trust me. The beach is always better with friends (for your kids and for yourself). You must go to the beach with someone who absolutely loves going. Bonus points if they play with your kids, or have killer snacks. Extra bonus points if you can put sunscreen on your kid when they run away.
The Ultimate Beach Dad
But what about lugging all that STUFF?
This is where my husband comes into play. Here are the reasons why I (usually) only go to the beach if he’s coming with us:
- He transports the bulk of the beach items down and back from the beach
- He swims with the kids – showing them how to surf, how to read the waves, & watch the tide
- He is a world-class Pro-Kadima player (remember – I’m not great at racquet sports)
- He likes the sand
- He’ll dig the kids a hole
- He doesn’t complain about the beach AT ALL
- He’ll weather the storm of a screaming child (I would pack up and split if it were me)
- He remains unphased
- He is a top-notch applier of sunscreen (did you read How to Be A Dad‘s post about what it’s like to sunscreen a child?)
- He doesn’t mind if I sit in my beach chair
Let’s be completely clear about this – as much as I complain about the beach, that it involves wearing a swimsuit in public, and how much effort it takes to prepare, pack, and unpack everything, I truly enjoy being on the beach with my family and friends! And I’m totally fine once I get onto the beach and unpack all the stuff, I promise. I am able to relax (on my beach chair – remember?).
At the end of each beach adventure, I’ll turn to my husband and say “you were right, that was fun.”
Illustration by Virginia Beach artist
Jessica Bordi, Hazel & Grace Illustrations