parents

Going to the beach with kids is NOT relaxing, people.

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Oh hey, spring.

The weather is warming up (FINALLY) and summer is certainly in the air.

My family recently moved to the beachside suburbs of Sydney and we are loving it. But it’s also really brought home just how different “casual” trips to the beach are, now that I have a mischievous toddler in tow.

taking kids to the beach
When you have kids, there is no such thing as a “casual” trip anywhere. Image via iStock.

How simple beach life used to be… I’d throw a bikini on, and a towel over my shoulder, and leisurely saunter to the beach for some people watching (if my husband is reading this — definitely not to stare at cute lifesavers…). I’d read a book in peace and quiet, maybe head off for a cold drink and then return for more baking, gazing and swimming.

Now, those days are long gone… and parents, I’m sure you’ll relate.

1. Packing requires military precision.

These days I need to pack for all eventualities, as if we’re going away for a month. Think tip truck, bucket and spade, spare sets of clothes, food, water, sun cream (which is applied every half hour, at least), hats (which he just throws off every 10 seconds), plastic bags, pram, and towels – you name it, I pack it.

Some might call it OCD, I call it survival.

2. Free as a bird? Think again.

When you’re a parent, you need to factor in naps, feeds, cranky babies, and more. If you time your trip well it can be magic – get that wrong and you’ll be dealing with grumpy children, and panic stations.

And fancy alcoholic beverage afterwards? No chance – it’s bath, feed and bed time, otherwise your child will make sure everyone at that particular café or bar knows EXACTLY how tired/hungry they are.

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taking kids to the beach
“When you’re a parent, you need to factor in naps, feeds, cranky babies, and more.” Image via iStock.

3. Frantic chasing instead of leisurely baking.

Farewell sitting on my bum in the sand or sunning myself for with a good book. I’ve kissed relaxation at the beach goodbye. I’m now on the move constantly, chasing, rescuing and cajoling.

And while my toddler is getting faster, as I’m currently pregnant, I’m getting slower and less capable of waddling after him. Actually, I like to think it’s not a waddle – it’s my ‘pregnancy swagger’, OK people?

4. Cleanliness to chaos.

I’m the first to admit I’m a little OCD about mess – which is certainly not conducive to a trip to the beach. In my PB (pre-baby) days I’d carefully place myself on my towel on the sand, perfectly positioned for people watching and showing off my newest bikini, and avoid getting too much sand where the sun doesn’t shine.

Now? Forget about it. Sand is EVERYWHERE – including in my son’s nappy, all over the pram, in my eyes, in his ears. As soon as his nappy is off he generally pees (in my direction) – and don’t even get me started on the dreaded floaters in the water situation…

Don’t get me wrong — I wouldn’t change being a mum for anything in the world. It’s the best job ever. But wow — trips to the beach ain’t what they used to be…

What are your days out to the beach with kids like?

The weather is FINALLY warming up. Time to hit the shops for some new season gear for the whole family…

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