Flying…with Kids (published on 8/4/16 on ‘Sammiches and Psych Meds’)

Traveling is a hobby of my husband and mine. We love to explore new places. We vowed, even after having kids, to continue to visit different destinations. We now have a one year old son and a three year old daughter. Although we don’t go to as many places as we’d like, we still manage to go on a trip or two every year. Sometimes, these trips include a plane ride. Traveling on a plane with two young children gives me enough anxiety I feel I need a Xanax.

Recently, the four of us went to Texas to visit family. This trip involved taking a plane. I took deep breaths and prayed the kids would behave throughout the flight to and from Texas. My daughter was happy watching movies on the I Pad and coloring in her coloring books. My son, on the other hand, had a rough time traveling. There was a lot of screaming involved. There were three reactions from our fellow passengers: ignoring, disgust and sympathy.

To those passengers who ignored us, good for you. I’m ok if you don’t want to give me or my screaming baby eye contact. Put on those head phones, read a book or do whatever you need to do to try to tune out the loud cries. It’s not easy to not stare and/or make comments about a baby who has lost his or her mind.

To those passengers who looked at us with disgust or made rude comments, you’re not helpful. Don’t you think we, as parents, know our screaming child is annoying or worse? Don’t you think we are doing all we can do to try to calm our unhappy child but nothing is working? As much as you want a peaceful flight, we do as well. A few passengers glared and shook their heads at my son. Perhaps my reaction was immature but I glared and shook my head right back at them. As I was carrying my son up and down the aisles of the plane, I overheard one passenger ask her companion why my husband and I didn’t play with, feed, change or give the baby Benadryl. It took all in me not to make a smartass reply such as ‘Because I want to make your flight a living hell’.

To those passengers who looked at and provided us with sympathy, thank you. In what is a stressful situation, support is what is needed. Thank you to the lady who offered to help us with our carry- on luggage as our son was screaming and flailing his body. Thank you to the lady in the row in front of us who made sure I was ok, reassured me I was doing all I could do to try to soothe an unhappy baby and validated how hard it is to fly with a baby.  Lastly, thank you to the flight attendant who let my husband and me stand in the back of the plane to bounce our screaming son despite grumblings from some unhappy passengers in the back row.

Will my husband and I continue to travel? Yes. Two little kids won’t stop us from enjoying this wonderful world of ours. Will I continue to have anxiety flying with our two young kids? Absolutely. I might need to take a Xanax the next time I fly.


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