By Heather Miller

In my last blog I gave a big shout out to parents of one child. This time I would like to give those parents an explanation as to why it is sometimes hard to try to make spur of the moment plans for those of us who have multiple children. I hope that the list below will help to clear up any doubt that we want to hang out with you and your bundle of joy, it is just that it takes a bit more planning for us. While this list could go on and on, I will keep it simple, lets just take one example of something that we, as parents of more than one monster, need to plan out rather than just hop in the minivan and go. The beach.

Reason One: Snacks
With one child you can just grab a lunch box and load it up. You will need a bottle of water, a string cheese, some crackers, maybe a solo PB&J, and if they are extra lucky, a pack of fruit snacks. Throw in an ice pack to keep all of that chilled and you are off! Hell, throw in a protein bar for yourself, there is plenty of room left in there!

With multiple children you can forget about that cute, floral lunchbox. We must go into the garage and dig out the Coleman. Now we form an assembly line on the cutting board, making PB&J’s like a well oiled machine. That little baggie of crackers you have, we have to bring the box. At this point cheese sticks are long gone for the week so I guess we will just throw in the whole block because there is no way we can have a meal without cheese. Crap, we are short a pack of fruit snacks, but we throw them in anyway and just brace for the fight that will happen later. Now we knock on neighbors’ doors to raid their ice because there is no way an ice pack will so much as give the cooler a chill.

Reason Two: Sunscreen
Oh, cute, is that a face stick? You can just reapply that little stick to your kid’s sun-kissed face all afternoon. And I don’t even want to know what wonderful, organic, non toxic sunscreen that is, I already feel like an unfit mother that my kids eat so many fruit snacks a day I am a pack short for this trip. You, parent of one, can just lather that little body up and send him running to the waves. Us, on the other hand, have burned enough calories by the time we are on the fifth arm to make up for the jog that we have been avoiding to go on for the past week. While I would love to have the patience to rub them down with good for you, zinc sunscreen, the fact is, it doesn’t dissolve nearly fast enough. They get sprayed, faces and all.

Reason Three: Boogie Boards
There is no better feeling in the world that grabbing a boogie board and hitting the waves. My kids love it. They love it so much they allow me to carry their boards for them from the car to the beach, be it windy or not. It is hard to look anywhere near calm, cool, and collected while being repeatedly pelted in the face with your four year old’s Finding Nemo boogie board. Somehow you have taken the time to teach your solo child the importance of taking care of their own stuff and he is running off, boogie in hand, ready to play. If you do have to carry it, at least you can use it to drag your one beach bag full of three toys and a towel though the sand. We will be right behind you with an arsenal of shovels and buckets hooked onto our beach cart.

I think you are starting to see where I am going with this. Parents of more than one child need time to prepare. Not only to prepare the things that we need to take with us to partake in activities with our children, but time to mentally prepare. We have to really talk ourselves into going out in public sometimes, as there will inevitably be zero minutes where all of our children are enjoying themselves at the same time.

All of that said, we do it. We pack up that beach bag with every dollar store sand toy known to man and the bath towels from the linen closet (because lets face it, they work the same and beach towels are expensive) and we go. Best part is, we really do love to go! We just need a little heads up. So here’s to you, parents of multiples, you keep on pushing that beach cart!