I read this morning of another case of a screaming child being kicked off an airplane. According to the news story, the mother said that she was waiting until takeoff to feed her child. Guess what, so do I. She reportedly had a bag of in-flight toys and books ready. Clearly this was a mom who had traveled before.
I am not going to change the view of people who don’t like kids, who think they should be seen not heard, or who think they belong at the back of the plane or not on the plane at all. I also am not going to ring in on what this mother was or was not doing to “control” or “calm” her child. I am going to call out everyone who is judging another person’s parenting.
I was recently that mom traveling solo at the Southwest gate with the two year old in a meltdown so dramatic all the forces in the universe could not calm her down. And you know what? I was being judged for everything I was doing or not doing to try and mitigate the situation.
My talking to her – I’m a pushover. If I spanked her, I would be abusive. If I drugged her with Benadryl or TV (my batteries ran out on the first leg of the trip), I was negligent. When I carried her down the jetway under my arm in a football hold trying to cover her mouth to minimize the noise, someone was probably calling child services.
We boarded, but, if looks could kill I would not be alive today. I sat in row six forgetting that there is a universal understanding that children should sit at the back of the airplane. The fit continued as I tried to keep her buckled in her seat. One flight attendant kept a close watch to scold me when she wiggled out. (Or maybe throw us off the flight?) And then the plane started moving, Mirielle calmed down and fell asleep before we hit 3000 ft — just like she usually does.
To all the bloggers out there who are giving this mom advice, or calling on parents to be more respectful of other travelers, or reminding parents how to behave with kids on airplanes, or telling people to keep kids off the airplane — you are judging this woman’s and my parenting and I don’t like it.
For those with children, I guess you have never been on a flight where your child spilled a drink, wet himself, pooped, threw up, threw something over a seat, kicked a seat, talked, screamed, cried, touched another passenger, whined, dumped food on the floor, ran up or down an aisle or really needed to jump the bathroom line? And I bet in your regulation size carry-on there something to take care of all of those situations plus multiple hours of delays?
For those without children, I bet you have never had a cell phone conversation, worn perfume, cologne or a stinky soap, flown with a sneeze/runny nose/cough, had bad breath or body odor, used your neighbor’s seat/storage/tray/armrest as your own, spilled food or drink, watched a movie with violence/sex on your laptop, turned the volume up so everyone could share you music/movie, cursed, farted, painted your nails or consumed smelly food on an airplane?
None of us know where the line is between acceptable behavior and unacceptable behavior because it is different for each of us. Most people think their view is the right one. (It can’t be, because mine is.)
I am going to keep traveling with my child in the not-so-friendly skies. She will kick your seat, whine, squirm, run up the aisle stopping to check out what movie you are watching, and not make it to the lavatory in time. I will try and manage her behavior when it bothers other people (if it bothers other people, it bothered me long before). I try to prevent that behavior from happening in the first place, but I fail sometimes.
When I do fail, this bad parent hopes I chase my daughter right past you to take our seats in first class on our way to visit a non-children’s museum before going out to dinner at a restaurant where they don’t have crayons.
A special thanks to the people standing behind me in line for carrying my backpack while I carried my daughter down the jetway.