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  • Writer's pictureErin Carenzo

A Day at the Beach is No Day at the Beach

I vaguely remember a time when a trip to the beach involved a towel, water, and Hawaiian Tropic Dark Tanning Oil SPF 2. These days, and if we’re being honest here – we’ll just say this weekend for instance – a trip to the beach is the farthest thing from that iconic tourist t-shirt proclaiming, “Life’s a Beach.” Because whoever came up with that nauseating slogan decorating boardwalk shopfronts up and down the eastern shore, most certainly did not have kids. And if he/she did have kids, then he/she certainly did not take them to the beach. And if he/she DID take them to the beach, and still managed to come up with that little humdinger, well, then, he/she is a masochist.

A trip to the beach in my world now requires no less than a trip to Costco, every electronic device we own, roughly $95 for parking, and a Tommy Bahama cart full of crap. I don’t think I even know what’s coating the bottom of the cart anymore, as my job – besides tracking down bathing suits, rash guards, and wayward children – is primarily handling the detachable cooler portion which holds the almighty snacks.

So in the spirit of sharing, I would like to lay out for you how you too can enjoy a day at the beach with your children in just 29 easy steps. I hope it brings you and your littles years of summer memories. Let’s get started!

How to Enjoy a Day at the Beach With Your Children in 29 Easy Steps:

  1. Ask children to turn off computers/iPads/Phones/Wii/TV and put on bathing suits you have so graciously laid across kitchen counter for them.

  2. Realize you forgot customary trip to Costco. Scrounge together snacks and drinks for 10 or more, or alternatively, figure 4 – 5 servings of everything per person.

  3. Ask children to turn off computers/iPads/Phones/Wii/TV and put on bathing suits you have so graciously laid across kitchen counter for them.

  4. Step into garage to grab cooler. Catch tail end of husband swearing as he tries to cram two surfboards, two boogie… actually, just get the hell out of there.

  5. Re-enter kitchen and see children’s bathing suits lying across kitchen counter in same organized fashion in which you left them.

  6. Pull out crazy mom eyes and threaten to take computers/iPads/Phones/Wii/TV for a year.

  7. Pack cooler as children stare at bathing suits on the counter.

  8. Herd children toward front door. Assume they got dressed in appropriate swimwear, but don’t actually check. Dimly recall what it was like to go to the beach without children and sigh.

  9. Get into car. Strap kids in. Realize a child is not wearing swimsuit and forgot one shoe. One.

  10. Put car in park and run back in to find swimsuit and shoe. Re-enter car.

  11. Wonder if you locked front door. Put car in park and check front door. Lock front door. Re-enter car.

  12. As you drive onto freeway ramp, tell kids to stop fighting or you will their take computers/iPads/Phones/Wii/TV for a year.

  13. Consider hurling yourself from car as KidzBop radio station blares from car speakers. Pretend to pass out so other passengers take you seriously.

  14. Check traffic on phone. Remember this is a horrible idea.

  15. Tell kids to stop fighting. Shove every electronic device you own into their ungrateful hands. Promise to take all devices for a year if they fight again.

  16. (Finally) pull up to beach kiosk to pay to park in undersized lot. Realize parking fee has gone up to roughly $150.

  17. Drag beach crap across hot parking lot and onto sand as child complains he left both shoes in car. Wonder vaguely if you remembered to pick up laundry detergent.

  18. Set up umbrella, chairs, towels, and cooler. Try to avoid grossest patches of seaweed. Realize cooler is just out of arms reach and move entire circus-sized tent set-up as opposed to moving cooler.

  19. Stare at husband with crazy wife eyes as he tells you he’s going surfing for “a short bit” and gives you kiss on forehead. Continue flashing crazy wife eyes as he walks away.

  20. Become aware that you have only packed snacks, and you’re not 100% sure if anyone ate breakfast.

  21. Spend roughly 2 1/2  hours opening and closing cooler.

  22. Spot husband casually riding wave into shore. Remember you’re irritated with him and revive crazy wife eyes.

  23. Convince husband to leave beach in 20 minutes.

  24. Spend roughly 2 additional hours at beach.

  25. Decide it’s “really” time to go. Ask if anyone needs to use bathroom.

  26. Load up car.

  27. Pull onto freeway ramp as child informs you he has to go to bathroom.

  28. Pull into freeway rest stop.

  29. Throw hands up in surrender as child spots rest stop vending machines. Realize Doritos and Diet Fanta have now become dinner. Twitch slightly as your remember that life’s a beach, after all.

Bonus Step:

30. Realize one day your brain will do a kind of slick Jedi mind trick, and you will remember this day fondly, and without pain – much as you remember childbirth 6 months after the fact. But until then, keep your crazy eyes on standby just in case. Because those puppies really come in handy.

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