When you become a mother, you take on several other titles: you’re chief cook and (literally) bottle washer, doctor, teacher, magician, and most definitely pack mule. Everyone counts on you to be prepared for all contingencies, and a beach trip is no different.

Here’s what the Zeds need for a great day at the beach:

  • An awesome bag. Unfortunately for the rest of the world, you can’t find this one in stores–Mama Dubs (my mom) made it.  She took the original pattern and made it twice as big for me (a gift from one pack mule to another….she totally gets me).  Why we love it: The mesh fabric and removeable panel in the bottom make it easy to shake the sand out at the end of the day. Genius! The outer fabric band makes up 8 large deep pockets for other beach gear.  I can’t take this bag anywhere without getting compliments on it.  Twice, someone has offered to buy it right off my shoulder.  I’m trying to convince Mama Dubs to open an Etsy shop.  Click the comment link above ^  if you think she should, too–maybe together we can convince her!

Then, of course, there’s the usual suspects:

  • Sunscreen:  I love Aveeno for the kids’ faces and Coppertone sheer spray for their bodies. And don’t forget lips! I pack EOS Lemon Ice with SPF15 for that.
  • Detangler:  My daughter, Curly Sue, imagines herself a mermaid, but at the end of the day, she looks more like Medusa.  Detangler (and a wide-toothed comb) helps prevent an end of the day meltdown (for both of us).
  • A wet bag. I prefer a zippered wet bag rather than a used grocery bag or a large ziploc. Bonus: a wet bag can also be used to keep your keys and cell phone dry. Ours has two pockets–one for dry stuff, and one for wet stuff.

And a few life hacks:

  • A fitted sheet:  Use heavy items like water bottles to anchor the corners, and you create a protective “wall” to prevent your toddlers from kicking sand all over your towels.
  • A laundry delicates bag: Perfect for keeping smaller items like goggles and beach toys in one place. The holes make it easy to shake sand off and let the items dry.
  • A paint brush and baby powder. You read that right. Follow me on this one–have you ever tried to brush the sand off a slightly damp child? Your hands get all sandy, and then you’re stuck in the swirling vortex of everything and everyone being covered in sand.  Enter the paintbrush–use it for that last dust-off before getting back in the car, etc.  sprinkle a little baby powder on to help damp skin dry and get the last of the sand off.

Anything I missed? What are your must-have beach items?

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