I’m always seeing posts about traveling with kids. How to prepare, how to pack, what not to do. My problem isn’t my son, it’s the insensitive people around me. I was a flight attendant for 12 years, and during that time I’ve seen my fair share of people traveling with kids. I saw the good and the bad. Since I’ve had my son there has been so much more I’ve seen and learned.
Santana and I traveled to Washington D.C. alone this past weekend. I should mention that since having my son I’ve developed severe anxiety. When he was first-born I wouldn’t even leave the house until Courtney got home from work. I was struggling with postpartum depression and feeling overwhelmed when I went out alone with him. It’s no wonder that as soon as we pulled up to the airport this same feeling came over me. I’m sure there are plenty of mom’s who can relate to this feeling.
Everyone knows I have flight benefits (my husband is a pilot) so they assume I should just be able to pack up my son and go flying around the world. It is NOT that easy! Kids are unpredictable. When we travel I make sure to pack a ton of snacks and toys for Santana to play with. I try to travel first thing in the morning because he is so tired he will sleep during the flight. However, he is still a child. What’s not acceptable is the way adults choose to treat people traveling with kids.
So if you are traveling this holiday season, here is a list of 3 things NOT to do to parents:
THE STARE DOWN
It’s 5 o’clock in the morning. Santana and I have been up since about 3. We are sitting in the gate area waiting to board the flight. He’s babbling and reaching out to me (he’s in his stroller.) I’m trying to keep him up until we are on the plane so he can sleep during the flight. Sitting next to me is a woman who is obviously annoyed every time my son opens his mouth. So she stares. An ugly, irritated, condescending, stare. I stare right back. We are all tired, my son isn’t any different. As a matter of fact, people traveling with kids have to wake up earlier than most because we have to get our kids ready as well as ourselves. Nonverbal communication is still communication!
THE UNNECESSARY COMMENTS
I had to travel by myself because Courtney had to go to work. While he was on his flight he saw something that was so disturbing to me. A family traveling with a child my son’s age. Doing what kids do, babbling, and playing with his mother. He wasn’t hurting anybody. At the end of the flight while everyone was deplaning a woman storms up the aisle and approaches the mother. She proceeded to tell her that her son “talks too much, and was f’ing horrible.” The mom broke down crying. Who says things like that? The flight was over, so that woman could have kept walking. There isn’t anything you can tell someone traveling with kids about their own kids. Don’t you think we know?
THE UNWARRANTED ADVICE
I think one of the most annoying things people can do is offer “advice” when nobody asked for any. It’s even worse when they think they know the problem. We have a system with Santana, once the plane starts moving we make his bottle after the captain makes the takeoff announcement we give it to him. He’s usually sleeping by the time we’ve reached 10,000 ft. This time, however, he got angry his milk was gone so he threw a fit (he does it at home all the time.) Lucky for me the passengers around me let me know that his ears were popping and what I “needed to do.”
When we took Santana on his first flight we were so nervous we were going to inconvenience the other passengers we gave out ear plugs to everyone around us. We even offered to buy them snacks and drinks! Anytime our son does anything that babies do we apologize non stop because we feel bad. Just remember we don’t want our kids acting out in public either. As parents, we are already under a lot of pressure traveling with kids. What’s not cool is having to deal with a bunch of insensitive people.
Have you had any similar situations while traveling? Is there anything you wish people not traveling with kids would do or not do?
Until Next Time!