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Sunscreen: Pretty Sure I'm Doing It Wrong

It's that time of year again—flowers are blooming, birds are singing, the sun is shining. Which means parents everywhere can look forward to attempting to slather a wildly kicking, screaming beast in a thick coat of white goo every time you want to step outdoors.

Yes, I am talking about applying sunscreen to the children. The thought of having to do it makes me want to pack us up and move us to a polar circle. (I'm not sure which one, but probably the one that has WiFi and Chipotle.)

Being a fair-skinned lady, I take my sun protection seriously. "Tan" is not in my vocabulary. I'm either white or red.

RELATED: The Truth Behind SPF: 10 Facts You Need to Know

While my 3-year-old daughter takes on a golden French-fry color in the summer, her albino-esque twin brother is just like me, which means I can't skimp on the SPF.

The plan for myself is pretty straightforward: SPF 50 or higher, a wide-brimmed hat or visor and sunglasses. When I walk the streets of Brooklyn, I try to find patches of shade wherever possible.

Simple. Effective. Done.

Getting the kids to wear sunscreen is a whole other matter. When they see me coming with the bottle, they sprint away from me so fast you'd think they were contestants in the Hunger Games. When I finally catch them, and I always do, they scream bloody murder as I attempt to coat all visible patches of skin in a concoction of unpronounceable chemicals so that they won't die of skin cancer or end up looking like a cast member of "Sunset Tan." By the time I'm done, their eyes are tearing, their clothes are stained, I'm crying and we are all ready to go outside and have a great time.

The only thing worse than applying sunscreen to kids is shopping for it. The choices are too overwhelming. A recent visit to the drugstore presented a plethora of options that were virtually indistinguishable from one another. How was I supposed to know which one to get? There was baby sunscreen, kids sunscreen and something called ultra-kids, which claimed to offer anti-aging properties. I want to keep my kids young-looking, so I definitely considered that one. Then there were the sprays, presumably made for those lazy, hands-off parents who don't enjoy spreading cream into the tiny folds of their toddler's arms and necks.

I recently read an article that said you should be using a lot more sunscreen than you think— one application should be the amount you can fill a shot glass with. Wanting to be a good mom, I took my shot glasses out of the cabinet. Seven hours later, I woke up on the kitchen floor grasping an empty bottle of José Cuervo and the hand of a strange man named Jim.

The whole experience made me long for the days when I was a kid and sun protection was much simpler. Growing up on Long Island in the '80s, before we went outside to play, our parents would hand us a bottle of baby oil and a sun reflector. We'd set out to find the hood of a hot car to sit on.

Simple. Damaging. Done.

I am just going to go out there and say it: I think God effed up on skin. I mean, shouldn't it be self-protecting and not require an expensive bottle of goo just to keep from frying outside?

RELATED: 5 Facts About Kids and Sunscreen

But since I don't want us to get skin cancer or freckles (shudder), I guess I'll keep buying and applying the stuff.

Maybe one day I'll even clean out my shot glasses.

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Image via Jacobs Stock Photography

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