We just got back from our annual beach trip, and guess what – we actually had fun (yes, this is blog-worthy – promise. Our beach trip history is u-g-l-y). We don’t usually have that much “fun” on our beach trips – I usually come home kissing the floor of my house. I think it’s because we’ve always had little kids at the beach, and little kids at the beach are SO MUCH work – the nap schedules, the swim diapers, the sand EVERYWHERE, the tantrums, all the STUFF.
Does anyone else think beach trips can be the most stressful vacations?
I’ve never understood friends’ Facebook status updates with picturesque family beach trips – ours have always included some sort of illness – major ear infections, Hand, Foot, and Mouth, family-wide stomach bug, unexplained sleeplessness. We usually make one visit to Urgent Care for something, and this year was no exception – we visited the Minute Clinic for a strep test, which ended up negative.
I’ve always viewed our beach trips as obligatory – family memories in the making – no matter how painful they may be to achieve.
But my kids are getting older – my youngest is almost three and my oldest is nine. We don’t have strict nap routines, bottles, baby toys, or baby beach tents. I’m not nursing a baby every three hours. I’m not silently praying that the baby makes a funny face before pooping so I can grab him out of the pool before disaster strikes. Everyone can walk, talk, and participate.
I didn’t actually relax – no one actually relaxes at the beach with four kids – every move still has to be watched because the ocean terrifies me. But I did feel like I was the newer, non-stressed version of myself. I saw that we’re in the next stage – our kids are old enough but not too old – THEY are fun to be around and actually want US around.
We’re in the sweet spot. And in that sweet spot, I turned into a Yes Mom for a week.
Mom, can I stay up until 10:30?
Yes, just don’t expect to wake me up at your 6 am.
Mom, can I get ice cream? (repeat that one every other day)
Sure! Waffle cones all around!
Can I get my face painted?
Can I buy sand toys at the gift shop?
Of course we need another sand shovel.
Can I have another cookie?
Yes, and get me one, too.
Can I have another Pop Tart?
Yes, toasted or untoasted?
Can I buy huge dangle earrings at the gift shop with my own money?
Yes (that was actually my husband’s yes – not sure I would’ve been a Yes Mom with that one)
Can I sleep in my clothes?
Yes, less laundry for me.
Can I have another doughnut?
Can I have a muffin, Ritz crackers, Cheetos, and bacon for dinner?
Sure, sounds like a well-rounded meal to me!
Can you build a drip sand castle with me?
Sure, I’m already on my first beer and it’s 11 am – why not completely cover ourselves in sand?
Yes, yes, yes. To pretty much everything – luckily the kids kept it at junk food and trinkets – no big purchases to cause a melt down of my wallet and their tempers. I realized that for one week – just one week – being a Yes Mom is quite liberating. I just gave in and loosened up a little. After a school year full of “Nos”, “Not Now’s”, and “Maybe Tomorrows,” saying “Yes” IS a vacation.
What’s your secret to a successful family beach trip (or any other family vacation!)?
Note: Re-entry this week has been TOUGH. No’s are out in full force and kids seem to have forgotten the word – eh, small price to pay for a real vacay…