summer truth

The Beach Kinda Sucks, Sorry Not Sorry

I just find the whole experience to be massively unenjoyable, especially as a mom.

Ariela Basson/Scary Mommy; Getty Images

Beach photos are starting to litter my feed. Moms in their big-brimmed hats chasing toddlers with the sandy-bums into the waves. Kids building sand castles, body surfing, and eating sliced watermelon on miniature beach chairs. It looks pretty, trendy, and fun. The sun, the sand, #saltwater. God, it looks magical. And I wanna be a part of it — I really do. But the problem is that I actually don’t. Because I have a very unpopular and lame opinion that I am not proud of, and that is that the beach sucks.

I live in New England, where the beach season is short. I live relatively close to the beach so you would think it would be my thing. And maybe it’s because I’m neurotic. I mean, that is definitely part of it! But I just find the whole experience to be massively unenjoyable, especially as a mom. But before you write me off, hear me out.

First there is the packing. With four kids, I practically need a U-Haul to fit all my beach necessities. We’ve got towels, hats, sunscreen, extra clothes, goggles, umbrellas, chairs, coolers, and a tent. I look like I’m moving in for christ’s sake. Typically we have to park a decent hike away, leaving me to drag everything across a heat-soaked parking lot and basically completing a Tough Mudder just getting myself and the kids on the beach without losing anything or anyone.

And then there is the sand, which if I am being honest might be my biggest problem.


On my feet, in my lunch, on my water bottle, in my bag. I have to fight the urge to sprint off the beach and to the nearest shower to rid myself and all my things of these teeny, tiny granulated rock the moment I arrive. I can’t even comprehend the people who willingly sit directly down onto it, wet bottomed. Or the kids who get buried. No, no, I would rather go have a simultaneous pap smear and root canal.

My setup typically includes two elevated beach chairs and kids towels placed in front of me. Each of my chairs has a hard-top cooler on either side, acting like a little table and ensuring that none of my food, drink, or other stuff need ever touch the ground.

Once we have settled in we gotta lather ourselves in goo. Do you know how many times you need to reapply sunscreen for a day at the beach to avoid a sunburn? Close to a million, I think. Even then, I mess it up and somehow one of my kids ends up with extra rosey shoulders showcasing my negligence for all to see. But even quick and easy applications lead to sticky hands — which bring me back to, you guessed it — the sand. Who is okay with rubbing gritty sunscreen all over themselves and having the residue left on their hands?! Apparently a lot of people. It blows my mind.

And how about all the safety hazards? I want whatever everyone on the beach is taking that allows them to sit calmly while their children wander around an immensely crowded place and swim in a massive body of wavy open water with unknown living things swimming and crawling below. Maybe it is because my high school boyfriend’s family watched Jaws on repeat for the three years we dated, but I can’t stop picturing my children as ocean predator lunch.

I go in the water for exactly the amount of time that it takes me to pee; honestly, probably a little less. It typically ends with a little running down my leg and a quick slash because even if you convinced me I wasn’t going to get eaten, it is still freezing as f*ck. Sadly, for me, there is not enough Ativan in my arsenal to give me any beach chill.

So, there it is, my sad, annoying, and very uncool summer truth. Of course, it doesn’t mean you won’t catch me on the beach a few times, because my kids adore it, and they make the rules, after all. So I will be there — head on a swivel, sunblock pre-applied, sitting closely to a lifeguard chair, wearing a pair of socks. Just kidding. Although maybe that’s not a bad idea…

Samm is an ex-lawyer and mom of four who swears a lot. Find her on Instagram @sammbdavidson.