As every summer approaches, you feel it swelling inside you – the desire to go to the beach.
And the desire to be a beach mum with relaxed, beachy, tousled hair, kids playing calmly off in the distance. That beach Mum. Yes. That will be you this year.
You will virtually move to the beach for the entire school holidays. You will end so many days with fish and chips and sunsets.
And then summer comes along, and with it, the heat. And with heat comes sweat. And with sweaty heat comes complaining, wriggly children. But you are Beach Mum. You’ve got this. Right?
It always starts the same way, and inevitably ends with an expectation-versus-reality-gap a mile wide.
Here are five ways the beach is never quite what you imagined…
1. You intend to pack light, but pack instead for all contingencies.
Your new stripy beach tote is just about all you will surely need. And yet it fills quickly.
A few towels later, plus beach toys and other props, and the esky, filled with a range of snacks… and some utensils. And a beach chair. And the pop up tent. A cushion so you can sit back and relax… And of course your hat and sunscreen and fly spray and a spare t-shirt and some magazines. And voila – you have a pile of stuff that would barely fit into your car. Oops.
You are then tasked with lugging this awkward assortment of gear on hot sand with kids sprinting off ahead, leaving you to master the pop-up tent that never quite pops up how you expect.
2. You plan to read, but find yourself multi-tasking.
Your novel awaits you. Part shaded, part sunned, you are all set up and ready to bliss out.
Except the kids now want money for an icy pole, and then you promised them you’d come in the water to throw the tennis ball. And then there’s the delicate operation of serving yourself some grapes and watermelon sans sand. Who’s got time to read?
3. You hoped to doze. Instead you are overseeing sand-castle building construction.
You always see yourself taking a few moments in the sun, hat over your face, novel resting on your chest as you simply close your eyes for a bit. Until: “Muuum! Look at me! Look at me!”
Oh. The moments you might have had napping are stolen by other crucial events you get caught up in, like collecting shells to decorate sand-castles. Of course.
4. You hoped to take one quick dip, instead you spending more time in than out of the water.
“You promised! You promised!” Yes, yes, you promised.
One quick dip soon becomes judging underwater handstands, swimming under tunnels made of little legs, splashing, duck diving and floating. It’s lovely and refreshing, it’s just not quite the reading and basking you’d hoped for.
5. You envisioned absolute comfort, but in reality you are merely camping in the sand.
You saw yourself Sex and the City-Abu Dhabi style, didn’t you? Chilled champagne, luscious wind-blown locks, children playing contentedly by the shore…
The reality is sandier (even the smallest amount is surprisingly gritty when you accidentally mix it into your dip). The Australian sun can sting and bite if you’re not careful, as too can hot sand. It can be impossible to keep your hands clean. Your hair may not be an advertisement for “beach waves”. Your tent dome is humid and cramped.
And yet, we love it. Reality or not, the beach draws us in. Every time.
Tell us your ‘beach mum’ stories?
We can think of a few outfits that’ll go perfectly with sandy toes…
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