Photo Credit: Cara Slifka/Flickr Open/Getty Images
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 style of parenting I like to call “Parasite Parenting.”
Parasite Parenting: Weaseling your kids into another family’s fun, while you sit by and do nothing… but relax. Here’s how it’s done.
Location, Location, Location
Choosing the right spot on the sand is crucial for creating an afternoon of lackadaisical parenting.
--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.
--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.
Maintain an Appearance of Effort
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.
Do the following:
--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?”
--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.”
--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 Guinnessworldrecords.com 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.
That reminds me of my last point…pack drinks in a quality thermos as it’s vital that you keep your beverages ice cold. I can’t stress this enough! Sure, a quality thermos costs more than a repurposed Turkey Hill Iced Tea container but it’s worth the investment. 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.
*If your kid follows you back then I can’t relate to you -- and I bet we’re not friends.
Have fun at the beach!