After growing up on Cape Cod, I have unrealistic expectations about how much time should be spent in a beach chair during the summer months. I swear the ocean calls to me and pulls me in. My body subconsciously knows about ALL the amazing health benefits from the sun, the air, the cold water and even the sand. Did you know that it’s been scientifically proven that the beach can improve mood? Where was I when the sign up sheet for this study was going around?
Even as a kid, whenever we had a bad scrape or some ailment, my mother would tell us to ride our bikes to the water and go for a swim. I don’t know if she knew at the time how spot on she was.
Now that I live in Southern NH and it takes us an hour to reach the shore, my husband has had to bring me back to reality a little bit and explain that we can’t be making that trip more than once a week.
As much as I love all of those things, my #1 reason to just adore beach days has changed as I entered the momming phase of my life. It’s this simple: the only activity options are lounging or playing.
There isn’t any laundry in the dryer to be folded and put away. There aren’t any bills to pay. There’s no dishwasher to be emptied or dust in the corners nagging at me to be wiped up. There’s no pee on the bottom of the toilet seat (ok there might be but it’s not my toilet to clean). There’s no dinner to start prepping or grocery lists to update.
There’s no point in checking my enormous To Do list because there’s nothing I can check off while at the beach. As a #wahm I’m guilty of checking my phone a lot in case one of my tribe has a question. But at the beach, I can’t do that because the 3G doesn’t reach past the parking lot. At first that frustrated me but now I think it deserves an amen and a hallelujah!
Because you know what there is plenty of as a result of that?! Unlimited time to just play with my kids. They don’t have to wait for me to finish what I’m doing to start building a sandcastle or go splashing in the waves. I’m just there. Want to go for a walk? Sure, let’s go. Want a snack? Help yourself to the cooler! Want to wrap up in a towel and cuddle? I’m your girl.
During a typical day, I’m so guilty of not playing with my kids enough and getting caught up in the tasks that keep the wheels of our home turning. But on beach days, there are no distractions from those beautiful faces. We’re also in that sweet spot with #3 where he’s old enough to play and run around but still needs to nap to make it through the day. I put him in the baby carrier, walk until he falls asleep and then just sit and hold him and stare at the water. It brings to tears to my eyes if I’m not careful.
Meanwhile, #1 and #2 are getting full on dad time. And I’ll tell you right now, kids need their dads. Boys and girls alike need that love, security and model set for them.
I’m so grateful for these beach days where we get to focus on what really matters. “If you want your children to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them and half as much money.” -Abigail Van Buren