A wise mommy friend Tanya recently sent me tweet that said “Tired is a mom’s perpetual state of being.” I couldn’t agree more, particularly when you take your kids on a beach trip.
Here in the confines of our Myrtle Beach resort room, I find myself thinking about how the entire being of our beach trips have changed since the girls have come into our lives. My husband and I are beach / water folk and we would frequent these places whenever possible. We’d go diving or to the beach even just for the day, just to enjoy the sun, sea and sand. They were all fairly uncomplicated, easygoing and relaxing excursions.
As we moms know by now, the world turns on its head once you have a child (To borrow the words from the Chapel Hill Creamery’s tour guide, “It is only after the female has given birth does she truly become a cow.”), and apparently so do the nature of beach trips. As a parent I don’t find them as easygoing nor as relaxing – which is ironic since the purpose of such a trip is for the family to “get away from it all“.
Who are we kidding right? Family vacations are of course all about the children. At least in our case, the girls dictate the destination, the itinerary, and the schedule. Thankfully, the type of hotel too!
When our girls were “still a possibility”, my husband and I would pick resort rooms based on bathroom decency (that was my non-negotiable) and cost (his). That’s because we would only use the room as a place to store our things, shower and sleep, and would spend the entire day out and about in our beach attire. We’d carry a minimal amount of things, we’d let the sun dry us off and we’d survive on one tube of sunblock for several trips.
Nowadays (much to my husband’s wallet’s dismay), my decent resort room standards have err… gotten more complicated, to put it mildly. That’s because I hardly leave the immediate vicinity of the resort –Jamie’s sleep schedule and Sam’s frequent bathroom breaks rank as the top two reasons why. Between the two girls I am constantly shuttling back and forth into the comforts of quarters that I have personally painstakingly disinfected. So now I need a place that I wouldn’t mind spending a lot of time in.
Then there’s the food. I never used to pack more than chips and soda for my husband and myself; but now I have crackers and bread and cookies and pretzels and bananas and gallons of water and milk (the chips and soda are buried somewhere) and everything else in between. I also take home food from restaurants, just in case one of the girls gets cranky hungry — it is the fastest remedy to an empty stomach. I never used to do that.
As for packing in general – I can never stop laughing when I hear my husband muttering under his breath and scratching his head, “WHAT did she bring this time?!” as he loads half the house into the car. In my defense… Jamie is a very sensitive being and has trouble sleeping in new and unfamiliar places (in Filipino we say, “namamahay”), so I try to ease her into it by bringing her pillow and stuffed friends. Sam knows a certain routine and will not let up unless it’s in place; so we bring her books and her stuffed friends along too, among other things that she wants to take with us. I like to give her a say in what we need to bring too.
And then there’s the worry. And the stress. Do they have on enough sunblock? Should I re-apply again? In most cases, because I think I’ve applied so much sunblock already so many times, I forget I didn’t put any on me!
Will they get sunstroke? Heatstroke? They need shades to protect their eyes (added inventory). Should they wear a hat (yet another thing to run after when the wind blows it off)? Is there too much sand in their bathing suits? Will they step on a jellyfish? Should they wear water shoes?
Sam my little adventure-seeker doesn’t hesitate to run into the water to catch the waves, and I am constantly calling after her and running in after her, all fully clothed. I’m afraid because she runs in quite far and doesn’t know how to swim. To think, when I would run and jump into the waves, I wouldn’t look back. It is pure karma my friends.
Jamie loves the water too, and will sit and wait until she gets splashed on. I am afraid she will roll over when the wave hits so I’m constantly holding on to her in the most awkward positions (in case I need to haul her up and jump in after Sam).
Between the two of them, the beach toys, the wardrobe, the accessories and the endless inventory of things to keep track of for four people, my heart is constantly in my throat and my head is everywhere. At the end of the day when they are wiped out and peacefully snoring in their (disinfected) bed, I am ready to collapse too.
I suppose all I’m saying is: Three years and two children later, I am still in shock as to how so much of my life has changed in such a short span of time. This beach trip is just another concrete example of that.
Yet… we do it anyway, over and over again. My girls LOVE the beach. As any mom will tell you, there is no greater joy than seeing your children completely and utterly happy. If the beach and the sand and the water does that for them, then off we will go and I am more than willing to take on the role of Beach Mom. Besides, when it comes to your kids, when is anything “work” anyway? It may not be as relaxing, but who says it’s not fun… especially if it gives you the excuse to jump waves with all your clothes on. 🙂