Parasite Parenting: The Secret to Surviving The Beach With Kids



It’s summertime, and for many families that means a trip to the beach. Sadly, taking young kids to the beach is about as relaxing as having a cavity filled while getting a Brazilian bikini wax.

Well, last year I said “Enough is enough!” but they kept screaming anyway. So this year, I decided to put my psychology degree to good use by creating a beach environment that allows for the sneaky style of parenting I like to call “Parasite Parenting.” What is Parasite Parenting, exactly? It’s the weaseling your kids into another family’s fun, while you sit by and do nothing… but relax.

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Here’s how it’s done…

1. Sit right next to or behind a landmark (i.e. Lifeguard Stand, “Danger” sign, or one of those really obnoxious sun tents that could double as a homeless shelter in the off season). Point these out to your kids so they’ll have an easier time finding you when the host family leaves. And mark my words, they will leave when they realize what’s happening.

2. Always choose to sit near a family that is digging a hole. Whether they’re digging to China or digging a hole to drop a body in later, it doesn’t matter. It just needs to be a hole that your child will wander into and want to stay in for the long haul. However, it’s very important that the hole is being dug by the father and his children, not the mother. It’s been my experience that fathers start a hole and then become obsessed with making it bigger and bigger, deeper and deeper. They have a stick-to-it-ness that mothers don’t. I think it’s some sort of vagina-envy-but-with-a-hole thing.

If the other family gets a whiff of your shirked parental duties they’ll shut your kid out. They’ll claim it’s because they want to spend “quality time” alone with their own kids, but really they’re just pissed because you’re more clever (clever-er?) than they are. To avoid this you have to do a bit of work. But don’t worry, this can be carried out between martini refills and chapters of your Fifty Shades of Grey.

3. You should occasionally (about every 30 min) approach your child and spray sunblock on him/her while saying, “Honey, why don’t you come back to our blanket and brush up on math problems, or maybe snack on some edamame?”

4. You MUST wave to the other parents at least once, shrug, and mouth the words “she loves you!” Make sure to follow it with a look that says “Yikes, I’m so sorry.”

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5. Drop off crackers, gum, juice boxes, shovels, and buckets at the edge of the hole – basically help your kids set up shop so that they have no reason to come back before the sun goes down. On your way back to your chair say to the dad “Great Job! I’ll be over here on my iPhone looking up for the deepest beach hole. I’ll let you know what I find. Though the internet has been really slow today. Weird.”

By following the above steps you should be able to read a book, play UNO, get a tan, or brush up on your bartending skills, all with little interruption. Have fun!

Related post: People With Kids at The Beach Vs. People Without Kids at The Beach


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  1. Lynn from For Love or Funny says

    You made me laugh out loud a number of times when I read your beach post…I just assumed moms were tired, which is why their hole-digging skills paled in comparison to dads. Now I know the truth!

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  2. Mama J-Ro says

    Awesome post! My kid always gravitates toward babies which is extra-safe considering they’re usually inside a makeshift pet corral. I’ve never thought of replacing my red Solo cup with a thermos…next on my shopping list! :D

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  3. Amanda says

    Hilarious!! And absolutely perfect! I don’t want my kids swimming at the beach without me, but they can certainly dig the deepest hole at the beach with another family!

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    • carol says

      Not wanting to be a wet blanket (or, in this instance, sandy towel), but just an FYI, digging holes in the sand can be dangerous and deadly. Sometimes the sides of a large hole can collapse, without any warning, burying the ‘occupant’. I live in CA… plenty of beaches, plenty of sand, and there have been instances of people DYING after being smothered by sand. I realize this was a humorous article and not meant to be taken at face value, but everyone does need to know about this danger. Also, if your children dig any type of hole, they should fill it in when leaving. People have broken bones from falling into an unseen hole, especially if they are walking or running on the beach at night. Not trying to be Debbie Downer, just passing the info along. :)

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  4. Dani Ryan says

    “No one wants to drink a warm margarita while watching another mom plead with your child to stop throwing sand in her eyes – it’s a total buzz kill.” <<– Best. Link. Ever.

    This is HILARIOUS!

    Thanks for the Tuesday morning laugh!!!!!


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