We’ve all seen the hilariously funny videos about going to the beach before kids versus going to the beach after kids. The carefree days of grabbing a towel and sunglasses are replaced with schleping a bag of sand toys, water toys, snacks and what feels like enough stuff to camp out for days on end. So as I’m reflecting on my “fun day” at the beach with my daughter, I can’t help but envision myself starring in those videos.
This week, I took my daughter to see her friend who’s family is renting a house down the shore for the month of July. The night prior I packed a bag filled with the beach going usual. Towels, hats, sunscreen and all that. After the drive down, we get settled in on the beach. My friend and I unpacked all of our kids’ things first (she rolls 4 kids deep, so that took a while!). The kids were happily splashing their feet in the cold ocean while we finished setting up our own chairs and towels. We quickly joined them at the water’s edge and my daughter grabbed my hand. She looked up at me and smiled, Yep, this is what summer memories were all about.
Then 10 minutes later….it began. The whining.
I want that shovel.
I don’t want to play that game.
Get up. Get drinks. Sit back down for 2 minutes. Get up. Get sand out of a kid’s eye. Aaaaaand back down. All the while throwing 5 words here and there between moms.
After the beach, it was back to the house to clean up and get dressed for dinner. We decided to take the kids to the arcade before we ate. After a flurry of tokens and junky prizes, the kids were happy and hungry. We finished the day with ice cream and plenty of smiles and hugs.
During our car ride home, I was exhausted. It was a tiring day and I wondered if it was worth all of the work. What I thought would be a fun day with friends just felt so draining. Don’t get me wrong, I had fun, but in a very different way than the old me, the me prior to motherhood, would have had. As my mind drifted off into some actually relaxing summer memories down the shore, I heard my little one say “Mommy?”.
I had such a great day. Thanks for the good time with my friend. You’re the best!
There it was. That is the reason we do these tiring things. That is the reason why we can adapt so easily to our “new fun”. Because in their eyes, our tiring day looks very different.