If you have kids, travel with kids or spend any time at all with kids, you know that it impacts everything. It changes the dynamics of a trip or vacation in a myriad of ways. I was reflecting on this, while laughing at myself, not too long ago.
As I mentioned in one of my recent posts about my Travel Wins and Epic Fails, I make a lot of mistakes when I travel. Some of them I repeat over and over again. Some of them I learn from, some of them I forget until the next trip occurs.
I’m currently on a road trip with my family and we’ve been to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Delray Beach, Florida; and Clearwater, Florida up to this point in our travels. I’m still making mistakes along the way.
Here are some of my recent thoughts and questions to myself during these recent beach trips with my child. (I only have one three-year-old, but trust me, that’s all it takes to make my point here.)
Why did I bring my beach chair?
This one is pretty hilarious. We’ve been away almost three weeks now and guess how many times we’ve opened up our beach chairs on an actual beach? Zero, zip, zilch. We haven’t even taken them out of the car, to my knowledge. What did I think this was going to be? A vacation or something? Was I expecting to sit back with my feet up on the beach in my comfy beach chair sipping a piña colada? Ha. Ha. Ha. Now that, my friends, is funny.
With all of the other stuff (see below) we’re bringing to the sand on a daily basis, beach chairs have taken a back seat. Literally.
I’m not sure I’ve even sat on the beach for more than five minutes in a row this trip without some urgent need for a snack, a drink, putting floaties on or taking floaties off, finding this shovel or that shovel, getting the blue bucket not the red bucket, and going in and out of the water or back and forth from dry sand to the wet sand a gazillion times.
Why did I bother to put my book in my beach bag?
Did I actually think I would have the time or ability to read a book while on the beach with a 3-year-old? Again, funny.
Don’t worry, I will find time to read my book during our trip. But on the beach? Uh, no.
If I’m not being interrupted every thirty seconds, the rest of the time is spent watching my child like a hawk. Too many what-ifs and unknown factors: wandering, kidnapping, drowning, rip currents, sharks, jellyfish, swallowing too much water, getting about too much sun…. you name it, I’m thinking about it. It’s all-consuming.
No time to read.
Why did I bring all this stuff?
Like I’ve mentioned before, I know these things. I write blogs about topics like this on a weekly basis for my job, for crying out loud. Less is more, pack light, beach bag hacks, etc, etc, etc. I know. I KNOW.
I said I would never feel like a pack mule again since that time in Antigua, but here I am again feeling like a beast of burden. No one’s fault but my own.
Instead, I should be teaching my child to be creative and not reliant on stuff. You want a tool to dig with? Go find a big seashell. You want somewhere to contain the sea water? Go dig a hole…with your hands. You want a to build a sandcastle? Figure it out.
Necessity is the mother of invention, right?
Why didn’t I apply sunscreen to my child before we got to the beach?
Putting sunscreen on at the beach is a royal pain but especially so with a child who wants to dig in the sand or swim in the ocean the very instant we arrive. Wait, isn’t that all children? Pretty much. It’s just another battle I don’t want to have to fight.
It’s always easier to apply sunscreen before we leave for the beach. I do that for myself, why wouldn’t I remember to do that for my child? It’s less of a hassle, there are less distractions, and I as a parent have more leverage in a controlled environment.
Why does my child want everyone else’s snack but his own?
I really hate this one. I try diligently to bring along an assortment of my child’s favorite beach-friendly snacks. Snacks that he loves and adores any other time of the year. Even special ones that he doesn’t get to have any other time of the year.
All it takes is someone else to have something he doesn’t have, and that’s it. Nothing else is good enough. He wants THAT snack. I have no workable solution for this problem except to let him beg. (I’m kidding. Unless it’s family…)
Why am I exhausted?