Frequently on Facebook, an image pops up of a bag, made by new parents flying for the first time with their little babes. Usually containing a note along the lines of ‘it’s my first flight, please accept these sweeties and earplugs as an apology’. Well meaning Facebook buddies have tagged others in the post ‘what a great idea, Sheila, you should totally do this when you fly for more than an entire days with little Possum’. Because on top of the logistics and nerves of planning and packing for their first trip, new parent now need, apparently should be providing a pre-prepared apology for fellow passengers?
Whilst I try to be considerate of everyone of I meet in life, and as her Mother I try to also be considerate on behalf of Intrepid Bebe, (because, whilst she has many talents, at this stage manners, and noise control, and personal space may not be amongst them). I refuse to apologise for our presence on a flight, or frankly anywhere we have a right to be.
Long haul flight isn’t something many people do for fun, so chances are that family need to be on the plane to get where they are going. Perhaps, such as the case of our first flight, they are traveling to meet an entire side of the family? Or maybe they are enriching their little ones mind by seeing the world? Regardless if they are travelling to see a sick relative, or because the need a little r&r, if there was an easier way to get there, which didn’t involve altitude, we’d all be taking it.
The vast majority of parents will be doing everything in their power to keep their little one quiet and content, whilst their grizzling may be an irritant to others, it is a whole lot more distressing to it’s parents. So chances are they are bending over backwards as it, no eye rolls required.
On a deeper level, I passionately believe it takes a village to raise a child, and a society which makes families feel unwelcome causes suffering all round. Isolation of mothers is high on the rick factors for postnatal depression. Shunning children and their parents from travelling is akin to sending breastfeeding mothers off to toilets or proposing they just stay at home. It’s absurd. In a few decades time, that little one wailing is aisle seven may be your carer in your old age, they may be the operating on you, they may be flying this plane!
All that said, I have had really positive experiences of flying with Intrepid Bebe, from a Business man in first class offering to help calm her when she had been screaming, to countless smiles, coos, and offers of a hand. So preemptive ‘I’m sorry bags’, such as this one, although probably a well intended gesture, only add to the fear for new Parents. Most people are lovely, many people have been there. I was incredibly nervous the first few times we flew long haul, and am very grateful for the warmth of everyone we travelled with. I will blog more about flying with bebe m, and my tips soon. You’re child is welcome on that flight as much as any other passenger, chances are you’ve paid something for their ticket (and they may not even have a seat).
And if you disagree with this article, and think Sheila really ought to be handing you Worthy’s Originals and a hand written apology. Perhaps because you’ve been stuck in front of Lucifer’s actual relative, who screamed take off until landing, and kicked you in-between. Rest assured (and silently fist pump), that whilst you have to endure their little darling for 5, 8, 24 hours, those Parents-they’re stuck with it, for life. You get to step off this flight, continue your baby free existence, and smugly enjoy your Pina Colada in peace. Whilst they get to enjoy a week or so of baby jet lag, followed by a return trip in a week or so to enjoy the process all over again. Maybe airlines should start issuing medals and tequilas for flying parents?