Yesterday I was reading an article on Yahoo! (don’t judge me, I also read the Washington Post… lol) about a restaurant that has changed their policy so that children under 6 are not allowed to dine at their eatery. That didn’t really bother me, but one of the comments did. It said something like, “Well I’m not going to read this article, but I agree with it and say we should ban infants from movie theaters, and all small children from airplanes.” I don’t really care about the movie theater thing, although I have taken the occasional trip to the movie theater with an infant, and timed it so they slept through the whole thing (score!). But the comment about the airplane made my blood boil.
As a parent, there are a few things I do dread about traveling with my children. I’m just being honest here. The single most dreadful experience for me up until now has been what I like to call, “the walk of shame,” when we go to our assigned gate. No, not that walk of shame… Those of you with small children who have flown know what I am talking about. You walk up to the gate, several of the other passengers take one look at you, roll their eyes, sigh, and dismiss the chances of having a peaceful flight. They give you dirty looks, and make rude remarks under their breath.
I used to let it get to me, but then I realized something… I pay (a lot of money actually) for my children to be able to fly. I also do my best to make sure that my kids are comfortable and won’t spend the whole flight crying. So I don’t let them make me feel bad anymore. Does my 4 year old cry on reentry? Yes, every single time. But she isn’t screaming, and what do you want her to do? Her ears hurt! My children are usually model airplane kids (remember, practice makes perfect!), and the people that were giving me dirty looks at the beginning of the flight usually come up to me after we have landed with shock and awe in their voices as they comment unbelievingly that my children were very well behaved. But sometimes you can’t do anything to prevent your child from being noisy, and that’s ok. If you have a sick child, or an infant, there will probably be some crying. Please, try not to let the stress of how your child’s crying effects the other passengers add to the stress you are already dealing with from trying to calm an upset child. It’s only going to increase your blood pressure (speaking from experience). Do your best, that’s all you can do.
Then of course, on the opposite end of the eye rollers and complainers are the shining strangers, as a I like to call them. They are usually women, in my experience, and they will try to entertain your little one for a bit so you can have a break. Sometimes, if you are really lucky, they are flight attendants. Flight attendants are trained to be helpful, especially with young children, because quiet children equal happy customers, but that doesn’t mean they will actually follow up on this training. When someone offers to hold your infant, or play a game of make believe with your 3 year old and their dinosaurs, take them up on the offer! We all need help, and it’s not like they are going to try anything tricky. Remember, you are all locked on an airplane together.
Getting back to the main point of this article, don’t let someone make you feel like a loser because you have to fly with small children. You aren’t a loser, and you aren’t trying to be inconsiderate by procreating and then traveling.
A note to those flying without children: Be nice! No one is trying to offend you simply by having children and taking them places. Just remember pack your ear plugs and or ipod ;). And if a small child is kicking the back of your seat repeatedly, you have every right to say something (politely of course). If my child was doing that to you, I would want to know, not have you silently suffer through it!
What are some things you don’t like about traveling? What is your favorite part?