Sunday, August 28, 2011

Stress on the Beach

I adore the beach—I love everything about it: the sand, the sun, the crashing waves, the trashy clubs...even the stupid seagulls.   Long ago, in my BM years (that's "Before Marriage," people, not "the days during which I pooped a whole lot"), my girlfriends and I had an established routine when we went to the beach.  In fact, our routine was not too much different than that of those airheads from "Jersey Shore"—except that instead of "gym, tan, laundry," our mantra was "swim, nap, party," followed by sleep (optional).  Then repeat.

But those days are long gone now.  Since my children came on the scene, my idea of the perfect beach vacation has morphed into "anything which requires little to no effort on my part." Presently, my idea of heaven on earth would be to simply alternate between lazily bobbing in the ocean and languishing on a towel in the sun.  A trashy chick-lit novel might make an appearance in there somewhere, but only if I felt the need to engage my brain in something more stimulating than people-watching.

Unfortunately, on our recent trip to Bethany Beach in Delaware, I was neither afforded the opportunity to nap on the beach nor to frolic in the waves.  And the only people I got to watch were my children, who, left unsupervised, would have quickly wandered down the beach to disappear amongst the throngs of vacationers.  (Dammit, why don't they sell leashes along with the beach toys on the boardwalk?)

No—I spent most of my time struggling to confine our little rugrats to our family's immediate area, which only served to annoy the little monkeys.  They expressed their frustration by alternately throwing sand at me and marauding through nearby vacationers' areas to plunder the unsuspecting tourists' beach gear. 

My 20-month-old daughter was particularly interested in everyone else's flip-flops, and occasionally she would insist that some grave mistake had been made, and that the nearby ten-year-old's Spiderman Crocs were not his, but instead were—in fact—her own.  We were forced to ride out several theatrical tantrums before my little girl found my Glamour magazine and discovered that tearing pages out of it was almost as much fun as stealing shoes.

I decided I was happy to sacrifice the mag if it meant I could plop my ass in a chair for a few minutes and could stop apologizing to everyone in our immediate vicinity.

And I must admit that she did look quite adorable in her little shades, paging through my Glamour mag and occasionally tearing out the choicest pages.

Even though I knew that bringing little children to the beach would be wrought with complications, I was nevertheless determined to have a damn good time.  I had been looking forward to this trip for at least six months, and I had actually begun preparing back in March when I had formally initiated my search for the perfect swimsuit.

Now, I think we can all agree that bathing-suit shopping is one of the most torturous activities we endure as women.  I don't know of a single woman who enjoys swimsuit shopping, even if she's a size 00, has had no children, and is built like a praying mantis with boobs (I'm talking about long arms and skinny legs here... not bulging eyeballs—that would be creepy).

But once you add a belly that has accommodated two children and boobs that have gone south from having breastfed two greedy little mouths for many long months, it's damn near impossible to find a suit that makes you look like anything other than what you are—a MOM (unless you're Heidi Klum, in which case I will refer back to my previous praying mantis reference).

Last year I was still nursing during our beach trip and had yet to lose some baby weight, so I was in full-on mom-suit mode.  I had purchased my suit at K-Mart from the Jaclyn Smith collection, since those suits, although ill-fitting and generally unflattering, offer ample coverage of—well—everything really.  Let's just say that the skirt on the tankini was so long I could have worn it out to a nice dinner.

But this year I was determined to wear something that was at least slightly reminiscent of the sexy gal I used to be, and since a dear friend had raved about what Victoria's Secret suits do for "the boobies," I had gone on a full-out VS Swimsuit-buying mission, beginning five months before the actual vacation to make sure I had enough time to find the perfect suit.

I perused catalogs, searched the web and sent my family and friends endless messages via Facebook, asking them to help me decide between the merits of swimsuit A vs. swimsuit B, then comparing them to the other ten I had proposed the previous week.  I knew I had started to go overboard when, upon logging in to check my Facebook messages, I was repeatedly greeted with the message "[Insert name here] has left the conversation."  My friends started dropping out of the voting process with startling frequency, but I just couldn't stop—I had to find that perfect suit, and I just didn't trust my own judgment.

One day, after I had whittled down my choices to two finalists and sent out the photos for voting purposes, my mother responded angrily, "Just buy both of them for God's sake and be done with it!"  So I did, mostly for fear that in the future, any person that I would approach for advice would stick her fingers in her ears and shout "La la la la la... I can't hear you!!!"

Fortunately, my bathing suits arrived and were glorious.  My boobs stood at attention (well, almost... it pretty much takes an act of Congress and some heavy-duty construction equipment to haul them back up to their original location these days, but at least the effect was light-years better than what Jaclyn Smith had to offer), and the bright patterns nicely camouflaged my post-baby pudge.  They even had cute matching skirts that hinted at being sexy while still managing to hide my cellulite and sagging rump.  I was ready for the beach!

Ready, that is, until hurricane Irene turned the calm surf into chaotic seas on our last day at the beach before being evacuated. 

Before that day, I had spent all my time on land, supervising my children and making sure that they didn't suck on too many broken seashells (Clara was fascinated by their texture on her tongue), eat too much sand or ingest any seagull crap.  But dammit, regardless of the fact that the seas were ridiculously rough, it was our last day at the beach, and I wanted to go in the ocean.

My husband bravely volunteered to accompany me down to the edge of the water, where the waves were crashing heavily and lifeguards were alternating between whistling at people and occasionally rescuing floundering swimmers.  The rest of our family was huddled under umbrellas, safely out of reach of the angry seas, and my in-laws had promised to keep an eye on the kiddos while my hubby and I attempted to take a romantic stroll in the surf on what was to be our last day at the beach.

Wading a few feet into the water was awkward—the waves kept crashing on us full-force, knocking us around.  I tried to convince my husband to accompany me slightly farther out, past the breaking point, where the ocean was a bit calmer, but he looked at me like I had two heads and basically said, "No freaking way.... LOOKOUT!!!"

I turned just in time to see a huge wave about to break on top of us, and I reached out to grab my husband's hand, but it was too late.  The wave crashed right into me, knocked me off my feet, and forcibly ripped off my bathing suit bottom.  I was fortunate to save it with my foot before it got washed away, and I frantically thrashed around, trying to get both legs back into the bottoms while being repeatedly pounded by the waves.

My husband saw me flailing about in the surf and tried hard to yank me to my feet.  "Hold on!!!"  I kept shouting.  "Wait! I can't stand up!"

I had my bathing suit bottom tangled around my knees and was frantically trying to get it up over my butt while the undertow threatened to suck me back out to sea.  Honestly, at that moment I would have been content with being dragged back out—at least I could have held my breath while using both hands to get my bottoms back on!  Instead I was stuck in no-man's land, being tossed around in the surf, trying to get my skirt back up over my butt with one hand while my husband yanked so hard on the other arm that I thought it might just pop out of its socket.

"Get up!  Hurry!  Another wave's coming!" he screamed at me, frantically trying to haul me to my feet while struggling to keep himself upright. 

(Apparently, while this was all going on, our relatives were watching from the shore with mild concern.  Various theories were being tossed around as to why I was flopping around in the surf like a dying fish.)

But despite my husband's continued insistence that I stand up right now, the absolute last thing I wanted was to be the girl that lost her bathing suit bottom in front of an entire beach of vacationers, my in-laws, and the numerous other relations that had come along.

Eventually I got the skirt back on (albeit twisted halfway around), allowed my hubby to yank me to my feet and wobbled back toward our towel on shaky legs.  When we returned to our family and told them the story, the following picture was taken to commemorate the moment.  I'd like to note that, in this picture, I have about a pound of sand lodged in my butt crack and lady parts.  Thank God for the skirt, or the entire beach would have thought I'd pooped myself.

Looking back on the incident, I suppose it's rather sad that I would have preferred being dragged back out to sea over having the entire beach population see my pale, dimpled ass and C-section scar.  But I'm not going to waste the precious few brain cells that motherhood has left me with by analyzing this.

No—instead, I'm taking this as a learning experience. And what I've learned is this:

A. Buying an expensive, brand-name swimsuit does not guarantee that said suit will stay on my body when it matters most.

B. Victoria's Secret suits are great for lounging, playing in the sand, and being gawked at... (the boobs do look rather good, no?), but when it comes to real water action, I'm best off buying a sexless racerback by Speedo.

C. I don't necessarily have to go in the ocean to have the perfect beach vacation; sometimes, it really is enough to just stay on land, "read" a magazine with my daughter, and help my son dig his hundredth hole in the sand.

Lesson Learned.
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  1. Too funny. Glad you got that bathing suit bottom on before your husband bared you to everyone on the beach.

  2. I loved that entire post! I was LOL at the praying mantis reference, and LOL again at your description of nearly being washed out to sea. Thank you for a good laugh! LOL

  3. I understand your frustration with bathing suits!! New follower...can't wait to read more!


  4. I would have stayed under the water until I had the bathing suit bottom back on, too! There's no way I would want to be seen half naked. I'm just modest that way. And bathing suit shopping stinks!

    Thank you for your comment on my blog. It was amazing! I feel the same way, but man!~~I have a hard time being patient sometimes. I know everything will happen in His time. Good Luck and prayers for you as well!

  5. Enjoyed reading your post and look forward to reading more!

    I am a new follower and would love if you came and followed me back at Free eBooks Daily

  6. FYI I had good luck finding a semi-flattering suit from Land's End. A bit on the pricey side but really when you're "baring it all" in a bathing suit looking good really matters.

  7. I can't believe the courage you had to take the kiddos to the beach hahaha. Sounds like you had a good time, though! I would have most likely have drowned before coming up out of the water half naked. There's just no way. Nope.

    Maybe soon I'll have to courage to wear a bathing suit in public. If I do, it'll be a Victoria Secret.

  8. Jenn, You just crack me up!
    Oh what I wouldn't do to wear anything from Victoria's Secret! Nice suit lady...

  9. Great post! Thanks so much for joining me at Create With Joy. I appreciate your sweet comments!

    I am following you back & look forward to getting to know you better!

    Have a fabulous week!


  10. So funny!! As I was reading it I was relating completely. Well, not completely - that happened to me when I was younger and still wearing binkinis - I ended up with the pound of sand in my crotch. I couldn't imagine it now though, because now I have kids that would laugh and point and make it that much more embarrassing! Love your bathing suit and you look great in it! Kudos to you for being brave enough to post a pic of yourself in a bathing suit!!!

  11. How does this stuff happen to you?! lol You always have me laughing.

  12. Funny stuff! The beach is always so much work, but worth it!
    I am following you from the Monday Mingle BLog hop.
    Happy Blogging!

  13. Thanks for following! Following you back. I love the reference to 'BM' not the days in which I pooped a lot- LOL!

    xx Brittany
    You Me & Remy

  14. Thanks for the Hop/Follow today! I adore the beach too! It's just the best place in the whole wide world. Great story!

  15. Hi Jenn,

    First off, I have to say that I'm following you from a comment you left on Maria's blog - Everyday is a County Song. What you wrote had me in tears and then SO happy (in regards to your daughter's birth). I SO IDENTIFIED with how you (and Maria) felt with your husbands' ability to sleep while you're up ravaged with worry. I'm the same way... my husband is the same way as yours... what you wrote - about what your pastor said - WOW, hello enlightenment. I think I'm going to start to look at things like that...

    On a different note, I LOVE THIS POST. Lol, too funny. I'm your newest follower and look forward to reading more from you! :)

  16. New follower! Enjoyed reading your post and look forward in reading more. Have a great day!

  17. Oh my goodness. I was laughing so much because that would be me too! haha. Glad you're okay, though!

    I'm your newest follower. Hope you can stop by!

  18. Thanks for linking up the Fun Tuesday Hop!

    madeline @ The Charming Mad Chatter

  19. What a hilarious story - you wouldn't believe this but when I was in Hawaii BC (before children) the same thing happened to me. A wave came a long and ripped off my bottoms and a struggle ensued. You are such a joy to read - I'm already a follower and will be back!

  20. What a funny post! Just remember it will be a time that you will never forget! LOL

    Thank you for stopping by and following, I am returning the follow love.

    Have a great day!


  21. OMG! What a story! Thanks for the LOL!
    New Follower from blog hop.

  22. Your blog is so cute! I'm following you! Please follow me back at:

    XoXo Romanian Princess

  23. Too funny, thanks for all the advice and site info. I'm already a follower:)

  24. That was funny but also very scary. My husband and I are completely out of our minds...every June we take all 13 grandkids to the beach for a week. Anything and everything that could happen usually does. I love our sitters!!
    I usually get a sexy lounging suit and a well okay but safe swimming suit.
    I'm glad you were safe...shoe stealer...hilarious:) I am visiting and following via Wild Wednesday...

  25. I am so glad I found your blog on the Give A Hoot Blog Hop! You have a wonderful sense of humor, and for the record, all of my kidlets were obsessed with flip flops (and shoes in general) at that age too.

    I am following your blog through GFC and would love for you to follow me back at Perhaps you can take a beach vacation to San Diego one of these days, we have some amazing beaches!


  26. Hi there! I found your blog on Thoughtful Thursday Blog Hop and dropped by to say hello. I am your newest follower :)

    Nana Poppins

  27. Too funny. The beach really IS a whole new experience once there are kids in the picture.

  28. Such a great post! I enjoyed the part about you flopping around in the water trying to get the bottoms back on so much, I read it out loud to my bf and kiddo. Made them smile too, probably because that is just the kind of thing that would happen to me.....seriously. Maybe someday I'll tell you about how I burned my stomach while fixing my hair once....yeah.....I feel your pain.

    Your newest GFC follower from the About a Mom: Wild Wednesday Hop! Looking forward to seeing your wonderful posts! Would love it if you would visit mine :)

  29. Hi there! I'm a frequent Bethany Beach and Dewey Beach-er myself! LOVE it, but prefer it less crowded... LOL. Love your post, found you through the weekend blog hop, come check out my blog with lots of Mid-Atlantic posts. Thanks!

  30. LOL...beach adventures can be trying with kids...I just got back from one with my toddler. At least you made the best of it and still had fun!

    I'm already a follower, but I wanted to say thanks for stopping by my site from FNF and return your visit!

  31. I have blogged about the beach with kids a lot this summer, it's a whole different ball game once you have kids!!!!

  32. lol, I loved this post! And the swimsuit does look nice...though I'm just as happy staying knee-deep or less in the water with my kids!

    Carla @ Jansen Family Adventures

  33. This post was so funny. Thanks for the laughs. I now miss the beach. I'm a new follower.

  34. Hahaha! That was great. Not the most relaxing vacation though, huh? At least you got a nice bathing suit out of it though ;-)

  35. Great piece, very funny!! I think my first instinct would have been the same as yours, not to show my bottom to the world rather than save myself!! Sad!!! Lol!!

  36. What a great post and a really lovely blog, so glad I found you. Following you now from the Weekend blog hop till you drop.

    I know about those swimsuits, too! Though I don't go in the sea over here because it's far too cold!

    Thanks for making me laugh this evening and for sharing those lovely photographs.

    CJ xx

  37. Stopping by from the Finding New Friends Hop. This post was laugh-out-loud funny! Honey, I'd gladly drown before I'd show this ass on the beach, so don't feel bad. Your boobs do look good in the pics, though--nice choice.

    I'm now loyally following! Beware of a new stalker!

  38. i love all your photos!! that suit is super cute, even if you have mini sandcastles forming in places the sun don't shine! ;)
    your stories never fail to make me crack up hysterically! just the other day, i was helping my friend shoe shop for her daughter and i began telling her your story/post about shopping with clara! :)
    the way you tell a story, it just puts me right there with you! i love it. hahaha
    i can't say it enough, thank you so much for your kind comment the other day. it really meant a lot to me. thank you again, for sharing such a personal and beautiful/bittersweet story with me. it touched me so very much.
    i hope you enjoy the holiday weekend. and of course, i hope it brings on some funny stories bc i know you will write another amazing post for all of us to laugh our a@@es off at :)
    lots of love,

  39. Embarrassing moments make the best blog posts. :) Next time, leave the husband and in-laws at home and find some other moms to go with you. Moms and kids in groups make for the best beach days! Group parenting at its best and the kids play with each other and let you sit for a minute! I swear by it all summer long.

    Love your blog. I'm a new follower thanks to the FNF Blog Hop. I'd love a visit at From Grind to Whine:

  40. Hi - I hear you about the beach - so funny (or not funny)
    I am your newest GFC follower from the hop!
    Would love for you to check out my blog if you get a chance:

  41. I am your newest follower via Lots of Lovin Blog Hop. I want to have a beach day, but just a pool hour takes so much are a brave soul. I love your honest story. It made me smile :) Have a wonderful weekend and please follow back if you like at

  42. linking up from ClaireJustine's blog hop this weekend, so firstly Hi there! and 3nd, the photos of the beach are excellent, my son loves digging ten million holes too! you can find me at if you want to!

  43. Thanks for stopping by my blog, Jenn, and leaving such an effusive comment. This was truly funny stuff. When I was a teenager trying to rock a two-piece I realized pretty early on that if I dove into the pool and did any serious swimming I was asking for trouble. It's been one-piece ever since. Land's End is a great source for suits. At least you got in the water that day. After my kids arrived it was several years before I could go to the pool and actually swim.

  44. Your perfectly voiced all the fears I have about going to the beach. This is why I have a backyard pool. It keeps my public humiliation and child frustratio to a minimum. I am very proud that you not only attempted to do what you did but that you had the courage to write about it so the whole world would know. You're my kind of mom!

  45. Well, I absolutely laughed through this whole post. And I could soooo see you floundering in the surf trying to get your bottoms on. I've had the same thing happen to me. I love your's funny, it's truth and it shows that you don't have to take yourself so seriously!
    Visiting from voiceBoks!

  46. P.S. I wrote you an Alexa review!

  47. I can never find a bathing suit that fits me. I wear those boy shorts, but made for girls and whatever I can find to put on top to control the Double D situation that's been slowly sliding down my body over the years. Sad state of affairs.
    I feel your pain, but of course, I probably would never have gone near the ocean. LOL. Too tempting for me to hold my husband down in the waves.....KIDDING!
    Visiting from voiceBoks.

  48. Jenn, this was an excellent post! I swear, the same thing happened to me a few years ago and I've never gone near the waves again. My poor kids are going to have the boring mom who only sits by in the sand. It's so embarrassing and you'd much rather save your body than your life! lol! I can totally relate. This was hilarious although I do feel bad for laughing. How much water did you swallow? xo NYOA

  49. Oh my...I don't think I've laughed that hard in a long time. Thank you for sharing your rather adventurous beach vacation in such a humorous way! I must admit, I've never had a Victoria Secret swimsuit fall off of me, but I have had my 2 yr old untie the strings while I was wearing it. Big problem there! And I do like the boobage it gives me! Until, of course, I get out of the water and have to squeeze the two cups like a couple of sponges over saturated with water. Glad you guys had a great time. :)


  50. Jeez! What an adventure you had! I too was a former "swim, nap, party," (sleep when I'm dead) type... but I'm with you... now the more relaxing the better. Looks like you missed out on the relaxing part though! At least you managed to resurface and with your dignity mostly intact. I also would've stayed under to readjust, for the record. I say keep the suit though, it looks great!
    Stopping by from Voiceboks, have a great day!
    Angela @ First Comes Baby...

  51. I have not laughed so hard in quite some time. I have tears in my eyes! I can just see you struggling in the waves with your suit bottoms. I can't believe you got so lucky to catch it with your toe;) Thanks for a hilarious post!!

  52. Thanks so much for participating in my simple sundays blog hop. Already Following you! Please follow back if you don't already.

  53. Great post, it was hilarious. My husband would have been doing the same thing to me if we were in that situation. I have to agree that after two kids finding bathing suits that fit correctly and look flattering are like finding a needle in a haystack!


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