People With Kids at The Beach Vs. People Without Kids at The Beach

I have two boys. They require a crap-ton of preparation before heading to the beach. As much as I adore summer and the time I get with them, I find myself sometimes longing for the days when all it took to go to the beach was me, a towel and a good book. Those days are long gone, and I can tell you from experience it is pretty easy to pick out who has kids on a beach and who doesn’t. Kids don’t need to be anywhere near people to tell if they have them or not.

People with kids have two tons of crap with them. No really. They have boogie boards, kick boards, noodles, buckets, shovels, rakes, plastic things shaped like stars and turtles, coolers, chairs, towels (enough for way more than the amount of people with them) eight varieties of sunscreen, (baby sunscreen, face sunscreen, sunscreen in the form of a stick, spray, cream, sweat proof, water proof, keep you looking like Casper guaranteed), umbrellas, and a big giant blanket.

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People without kids have a towel, a chair and a cooler.

People with kids have a cooler filled with juice boxes, sandwiches, pretzels, goldfish, watermelon, grapes, granola bars, water, cookies, chips, crackers, cheese, yogurt sticks, strawberries and a baked ham for the love of Pete. There is pretty much nothing left in the kitchen of their home. It’s all in the damn cooler.

People without kids have beer, water (if they’re smart), and a sandwich.

People with kids look exhausted before they even set up for the day. They seriously look like they need a nap, an IV of coffee and possibly a hospital stay.

People without kids look either hung over or well rested. There is nothing in between.

People with kids set up beach chairs but never sit in them for all that long. They are either building a sand castle, getting their kids a snack, chasing a kid, calming a crying kid, applying sunscreen to a kid, preventing a kid from going out to sea or looking around and wondering how long everyone will stay happy.  They absolutely never get to sit back and close their eyes. No sir. People with kids are like prison wardens…always watching.

People without kids are sitting in their chairs, holding conversations, sipping a beer, or simply watching the waves.  They may even *GASP* get to close their eyes and take a nap. (I’m getting sleepy just thinking about it.)

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When people with kids decide it’s time to leave the beach, it’s usually because the kids are crying, hitting each other, pooped through a stupid flipping swimmy diaper, or there are no snacks left to keep the kids quiet.  It takes them approximately 45 minutes and 12 seconds to pack up all the crap they showed up with.  They may actually NEED a hospital stay at this point.

They head to their mini vans and SUVs and throw all the crap in the back. They then load up all the kids, get in the car and head home to relax. HAHAHAHHAHAHA No, that’s not right. They head home to give a bunch of tired kids baths, feed them (kids seriously eat ALL THE TIME) and hopefully get them to bed before they themselves are face first in a plate of cold spaghetti.

People without kids fold up their chairs and head off the beach to a bar.  They then go home take peaceful hot showers and sleep for 14 hours.

About the writer

Jennifer Lizza is a wife,mom, writer, runner, sleep enthusiast and blogger at Outsmarted Mommy. She's starting to think her kids are smarter than her although in her defense it could be the lack of sleep. She writes to stay sane and has been featured on Scary Mommy, The Huffington Post, and Today Parents. She is also a contributor in the hilarious books The Big Book of Parenting Tweets and The Bigger Book of Parenting Tweets. Her kids don't care. They just want to know what's for dinner. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

From Around the Web


Renee 4 months ago

Any beach day with my kids is just like this! One of my boys loves it, the other decides he likes it two minutes before we’re ready to leave. My husband could care less about going to the beach, so it’s like having another child there. I do agree that a house on the beach is the best, we did that once and it was so much better. But the only way for me to have a relaxing day at the beach is to go solo :). There is no such thing as relaxing wih kids!

Lisa 5 months ago

That was funny. However, I have 4 kids. I did without all the extra stuff. We went to the beach all the time. Had a great time at that. A big sheet, couple towels, cooler and a few snacks. I always made my kids carry their own toys. If we took any. My kids were just fine playing in the water. So while this is funny and true for some, definitely not me.

Carolynn 5 months ago

I hate reading these types of articles. Paranoia is a choice and kids deserve freedom, that is how they learn. And the snacks are ridiculous overkill, no wonder they won’t eat dinner when you get home. Don’t get me started on that – my kids don’t ever get snacks and they EAT at dinner. I PROMISE – no one is going to starve during an afternoon at the beach. This is a choice you are making, and it hurts you and your kids. I hate reading these types of articles because it removes the joy from parenting and having fun with your kids, isn’t that the point of the beach trips. Chill out and let your kids be independent of you for 10 minutes!

Diana 7 months ago

And people (my sil) wonders why I don’t want to even attempt the beach yet…even though my kids are 11, 9, 6, and 1. I’ve talked to my sister after she’s been to the beach with hers. Nope. Don’t wanna go there. Dad and the older kids get wet and have fun. Mom gets burnt and has to deal with a cranky bored baby who is hot and tired because the boys aren’t done playing. Not gonna do it.

Gabriela 9 months ago

This is real… Esto es real…Me encanto. This like to me.

Tracey 1 year ago

I think that the older your kids get, the more you realize that you need LESS at the beach. One bucket, one shovel, one flotation thing. Unless they can carry it themselves, then THEY can carry more, NOT ME. We are down to one small cooler, one bag, one umbrella and 2 chairs. A few towels and a sheet to sit on and we’re DONE. Less IS more, when it comes to the beach.

I love taking my kids to the beach: always have. Wish it stayed warmer longer up in Illinois!

Mer 1 year ago

Attention! Scary Mommy is for people who have a sense of humor, an appreciation of sarcasm and who wear their panties that don’t easily get in a wad….get it!!! Some people really get on my nerves, can’t post anything without someone crying about it. If you don’t like it why are you even reading the blog. Don’t read it, it’s common sense.

tareesa zee 1 year ago

I usually enjoy the entries because they are an exaggerated dose of reality but thus one story disappointed me. I was expecting more from the title. I can relate to what’s being articulated but…I don’t know. This didn’t do justice for what could have been done with this based on topic alone.

Joan Kinateder 1 year ago

I had two children 20 months apart. They are now in their 30’s. They were life’s greatest gift and
it was a joy raising them because I am a kid at heart and enjoyed all the fun things we did together.
It went by too fast…enjoy it ! Someday you will miss those days at the beach when it is only you and a book again. Make memories!

SandBiz Games 1 year ago

Enjoy this phase of life Jennifer!! The Kids grow up so fast and then one day the only conversation you have with them at the beach is you sitting in your beach chair, staring at the sea and calling them on the cell phone saying, “Wish you were here”

mimi 1 year ago

i lost my 4 yo son to brain cancer before he ever got to see the beach which was on his bucket list. your kids wont remember the crap you went through to get them there, they will remember that they did get to go to the beach and they were lucky because their friends had to stay home. i have taken my other boys to the beach every time i got a chance , because it is all worth it. you never know when the house or the car will be quiet because your kid isnt there anymore.
although the article is funny and accurate , it is also sad to me that thats how busy parents see a trip to the beach . chillax and enjoy it is only a few days out of a whole year . and the kids remember them for a lifetime. there are truly worse things, like NOT being able to take your child to the beach…

Rachel 1 year ago

That’s why I pack the grandparents with us. Haha. No in all seriousness we have taken our kiddos several times and had a ball. They are two girls under five and we had a ball. It is a lot of work, sure, but the memories are priceless!

Jessica 1 year ago

I dont think this is right. Lol i have a child and i never take as much as listed and i get time to sit. Im just as happy and have just as much energy as the adults with no kids. I for one Love to build sand castles, and play in the water, and just watch my daughter play.

Susan Maccarelli 1 year ago

SOOOOO depressing and true! I am headed to the beach with a 2 and 4 year old in July. It should be nice and exhausting for me. The worst is the 8 tons of sand that gets in the car to and from the beach vs. a few grains for the non-kid people. This was a great read!

Mildren 1 year ago

These times are treasure you don’t know it yet, but down the road you will! For the folks with no kids they will never remember there trip to the beach that day! They lose we win!

Jacquie 1 year ago

LOL! We just got back from a beach vacation and my husband actually said “I’m tired of packing up all the crap to go to the beach each day” — yea, just regular life when you have kids and want to go ANYWHERE :)

ps. don’t even get me started on the choices of bathing suits you can have for people without kids (any cute suit will do) vs. people with kids (any suit your child can’t easily expose you in public when they grab for you in the water)!

Ama 1 year ago

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Lauren 1 year ago

This hits the nail on the head! A good beach cart is a great investment!! It makes the trips back & forth much easier!

Amy 1 year ago

Love this article …but I have 3 boys and being from the Cape, the beach is one place I know everyone will be happy

Kelly 1 year ago

When I was a kid we went to the beach almost every weekend. We brought a couple pails and shovels and maybe a beach ball if we were lucky. My mom would pack sandwiches, chips and grapes. 1 kind of sandwich, 1 kind of chips. No Doritos or salt and vinegar or BBQ chips to chose from. It was apples bananas or grapes. There were no choices. You ate what she packed and you liked it because you were hungry. And because you were the kid and she was the mom. Period end of sentence.

If we got bored with our pails and shovels (which we were happily entertained with for hours) we gladly used our imaginations to make up games. Sometimes we jumped the waves pretending a sea monster would get us if our feet touched the ground too long. Sometimes we “dripped” sand to make giant sand castle sculptures and we would tell stories about who lived in them. Or better yet we would act out scenes about the people who lived in the castles. Other times we played tag or hop scotch or tic tac toe in the sand. We would collect shells and rocks and beach glass. We were never bored. We never wanted to go home. We never sat on cell phones playing games in the glare of the suns rays. We just played and played and played until our little minds and bodies were exhausted from all playing in the salty air.

I have to wonder if kids today had fewer choices to entertain them would they too enjoy using their imaginations? Would the words “I’m bored” and “what can I play with now” disappear from their vocabulary for even just a day? Would the pail and shovel and their minds be enough for just a few hours? Perhaps it would but we’ll never know if we keep handing over the next snack, the next toy, the next gadget. Perhaps kids want the opportunity to just play, and play and play until their little minds and bodies are exhausted from so much playing in the salty air?

Hatold 1 year ago

Better enjoy the hustle and bustle while you have them….they grow up too fast. I can assure you hauling all the crap, throwing a 1000 passes, build a city of sand castles, etc was the best memory of any of my “non kid” days times infinity.

Haw614 1 year ago

Wow. I wish I was that person who had to deal with the “hassle” of dragging boogie boards and coolers full of juice boxes and 73827 kinds of sunscreen to the beach for my children, but unfortunately that is not in my cards. When I go to the beach, I don’t go to the bar afterwards, I generally leave devastated at the fact that one of my 5 Angel babies would be the age of one of the children playing on the beach. I can’t stand this whole “I’m a mom, I deserve this” attitude lately. (Not just from this article but in general) some of us don’t choose to not have children, so next time you see people without children on the beach or anywhere for that matter, think about their struggles. You don’t know their story, you don’t know that they would give ANYTHING to be in your shoes.


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