You know those Luvs commercials, where the mom does things differently with the first baby compared to the second baby? They’re funny, and perhaps a bit exaggerated, but they are absolutely, 100 percent accurate.
This particular truth set me free shortly after I had my second son, Conner, on May 13, 2015.
He was born a mere 16 months after my first, and with that I became a mom of two under two with a summer of possibilities to explore. It was a dream come true. And, much like most things about motherhood, it was simultaneously terrifying.
But I knew it was due time to put on my big girl panties and make the most of a beautiful thing. So I found solace in familiarity, in doing things I knew I enjoyed as a child: time in, near and around water.
Growing up on the south side near Bay View, I have vivid memories of wading into the chilly beaches of the Lake Michigan shoreline, skipping rocks and building sand castles with my dad. My husband, Steve, has similar beachside memories from growing up in Port Washington.
That is a beauty of raising small children in this area that I think sometime gets taken for granted. From Grant Beach Park in South Milwaukee to North Beach in Port Washington, there are dozens of beaches to explore.
Whether you have one little or a whole gaggle, beaching with babies changes everything in so many ways. Here’s why:
They love it
Whoever coined the phrase, "happy wife, happy life," clearly didn’t spend much time around toddlers. If the children are happy, everyone is happy.
And, chances are, time at the beach will be a hit. They are endlessly amused by everything from the way the sand dribbles through their fingers to the chill that rushes over them when the tide skims their toes. There is a sense of wonder involved, too, as they are allowed to explore and interact with nature.
And, when all is said and done, they’re generally exhausted afterwards, making for quality nap time.
It’s all different now
It’s not like the old days when you can throw a book and a towel in the car and go. And this isn’t like packing a diaper bag before heading out on a Target run. There are snacks and sunscreen and spare outfits and towels and sun hats (and did I mention snacks and sunscreen?) to consider.
Between packing enough of what you need, battling with the sand that will inevitably be everywhere and trying to maintain some semblance of routine, it can seem like a whole lot of work.
Oh, and don’t even get me started on that little devil on all of our shoulders that endlessly teases us about our post-baby body.
But it’s all worth it. Because summer is a time to find joy in the little things. Sure, it helps to remember everything on the checklist. Umbrella? Check. Sunscreen? Check. Sand toys? Check. Beach baby? Check.
But it’s also about embracing the moments that remind you of those goofy Luvs commercials.
So step aside, anxiety about sand being everywhere. Move over, mom-body mental block.
This mom is ready to make a splash.
Ty Schmidt is a freelance writer and mom of two boys.