An open letter to anyone who travels WITHOUT kids,
I hope someone reads this and it changes their perception of travelling with a child and that they reach out and help a mom (or dad) travelling with a child, the next time they encounter this situation. I hope just one mom is given encouragement and help when it is needed most.
If you don’t have kids, I would like to start off by saying, I guarantee that my day started out more challenging than yours. You woke up at your leisure after a night of uninterrupted sleep, I on the other hand woke up three times with my nine month old daughter and likely slept a fourth of the amount of time you did. My morning began at 4:30-5am and she (my daughter) likely had her nap by the time your alarm clock was going off to get your day started. (Obviously I know that not all non-parents enjoy full nights sleep and / or sleeping in – I am generalizing a bit.)
I would like to rewind just a tad to the evening before our flight. You think packing for your weekend get – away is hard? Maybe it’s a trip to Vegas or a weekend away with your significant other where you only have to pack a change of underwear and a bathing suit. While you are deciding on which dress to pack for your night on the town, I am going down a list a mile long of items that are needed to keep my child alive (lol). From diapers to food, to preventative what if scenario medicine, you name it I have packed it. Oh yeah, and I have to pack for myself too.
So not only has my day started earlier than yours and likely more challenging than yours, but I have to pack more than you and carry on more than you. Again, I know many of you without kids might say, well you chose to have kids, quit complaining. I would like to clarify I am not complaining, simply stating facts.
All of this and I still walk into the airport with a smile. I still have thanked everyone walking through security. I still smiled when no one asked if they could help me as I took my shoes off through security holding my daughter and pushing the bags and my stroller through the x-ray line. I smiled at everyone as I patiently waited for my stroller to finally make it through the security line.
All the while, you have made it in and out of that line and are likely having a beer at the bar, I mean if you are good you could likely be on your second beer.
I finally get re-packed after the security line and need to go change my daughter and use the bathroom myself one last time before we enter the plane, so I wait in a line longer than everyone else, because I have to wait for the handicap stall where the changing table is found and a place for the stroller.
So not only by this time has my day been exponentially harder than yours, I still smile and I still keep on, and not for you, for my beautiful daughter because energy is contagious.
At this point no-one in security has asked to help, everyone as I begin to walk towards the gate is praying with their eyes that I am not on their plane.
I wait until the last minute to board the plane only because I am trying to minimize the amount of time on the plane, which in itself get’s extra dirty looks.
I have a first class seat, which might I add is AMAZING, except for the level of hate you receive when sitting down with a child. I survive most flights based on the amount of white wine I can consume and that is mainly to deal with the snark remarks and people around first class, not because I am travelling with a child.
To be completely honest at the end of the day I am a extremely capable human being, I figured out a way to carry out the four bags, car seat and stroller from the baggage claim since no one offered to help. I always make it through security fine, somehow find a way to tie my shoes and get resettled. So I don’t actually need your physical help (even though it would be nice), my ONLY request is to please just keep your negative energy and remarks and looks to yourself.
My plea to the public is the next time you see a mother, carrying a child – regardless if she needs physical help like I have needed many times (and in this case please help!!!) but even if she doesn’t need help (which she likely does) she just needs a smile and she just needs some encouragement, plain and simple. That simple notion, will boost every moms self-confidence, change the energy and likely the mood of the child she is caring for. (And don’t forget the dad’s travelling alone with kids – they might need a little more help! LOL)
I am a new mom, only having traveled a handful of times with my daughter, but these observations come from travelling with my six nieces and nephews and travelling as a nanny with the kids I watched at a young age.
Smile, engage, acknowledge and offer help if you can. It’s that simple.