Help a mom out

You can't ban families with children from flying the friendly skies. I agree that, at times, kids don't make for the best travel companions, but I oppose any thought of grounding families like mine. With that said, I do believe it is the parents responsibility to do anything possible to control their children at the airport and on the plane. My husband and I travel with more than enough snacks, toys and coloring books to entertain our only daughter during a 4 and half hour flight.  We make every effort to keep our little girl from screaming, crying or kicking the seat in front of her. After all, we remember how annoying it was to get stuck on the seat right next to the toddler before we had a child.

Well, my patience and understanding for a fellow passenger with kids was tested last Thursday when we were coming back from Puerto Rico. A mother boarded the plane with 2 little girls (both under 5 years old). The youngest screamed bloody murder non stop during 3 and half hours. At first, other passengers were sympathetically looking at this mother traveling alone with these girls, especially because she had the younger one on her lap. That was until we notice that this woman had no snacks, no books, no entertainment for either of the girls. She expected these children to sit for almost 5 hours staring at the seat in front of them. Actually, it seems she just expected the rest of us to deal with her daughters behavior because we never heard her trying to control the kids.

After 3 and a half hours, a mother of 3 sitting in front of me couldn't take the screaming anymore, and being a better person than the rest of us, she stood up and took the little girl away from her mom. She was about to show the child an iPad when gave her my old iPhone full of preschool friendly videos. The little girl was quiet for the rest of the flight. When we were told to turn off all electronics, a wave of panic swept all of us at the possibility that the screaming could start all over again. That's when I gave away my daughter's lollipops to both kids.

"Mama, what are you doing?" asked my incredulous but well behaved traveler/daughter.

"We are solving the problem, Amelia!" I replied.

The clueless mom never thanked the stranger who helped her with her 2 bored daughters. I did, I thanked her on behalf of the entire plane and of parents who understand that it is our right to fly with our children, but our responsibility to make sure they are in their best behavior. I also thanked her for showing me that, instead of complaining and passing judgement of fellow mothers, we have to help each other out, without expecting anything in return. Ay Mama!


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  • I can only assume that the mother had never done a longer flight with kids before! I don't even take a flight on my own without at least something to read, so why little kids should be expected to sit still for 5 hours is beyond me.
    I too have experienced parents in various situations, who let the kids run loose, or as in this case don't attend to their kids, and expect others to deal with them. Only a few weeks ago we were having a family meal in a restaurant when two tots started crawling around under our table. At first it was mildly amusing, but they were pulling at our legs etc. and eventually it became really annoying. I'm now at the stage where I can have quite a peaceful meal with my kids, so I didn't really relish the idea of entertaining someone else's. Solution - I took them back to their parents and explained that our meals were coming and I was very afraid that they would pull something down on their heads. Given that I didn't wait around for an answer, there wasn't much the parents could say.
    (It helps that I have an English accent and can sound very Mary Poppins when I want to!!!)

  • Expat in Chicago, enjoyed your comment and may have to borrow your strategy. Thx for reading and sharing your thoughts.

  • help a non-mom out! leave the kids at home.

    JUST KIDDING. I admire your quick thinking and patience but not many people are walking around (flying around) with lollipops or ipads that they would gladly surrender to strangers' kids.

    that being said - it's parents like this one that make non-parents (and some parents) resent children on planes. we're under no obligation to board a plane, bus, restaurant, etc, and become instant babysitters.

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