Traveling with children is intimidating. First off, the inventory is massive – reading the checklist feels like memorizing the items on the decades-old Generation Game assembly line (“Sterilizer! Bottles! Formula! Stuffed Animal!”).
But the real reason traveling with kids is intimidating is because the moment you step onto a plane, you know deep down that most of your fellow travelers would prefer it if you weren’t there.
In fact, they secretly hope that you and your children will sit as far away from them as possible.
On the wing if possible, or if that’s not possible, crammed into one of the tiny toilets only to come out at the end of the flight.
Some airlines have even considered the possibility of offering child-free flights or child-free zones on Boeings so travelers can avoid the noise and chaos that comes with children.
Lo and behold, I understand. I was that passenger who rolled his eyes when a red-cheeked toddler squealed his head on the runway.
I know when it comes to air travel, “stressed out mom with two young kids on a long-haul flight” — which I’ll be in a few weeks — is persona non grata. Up there with drunken bachelorette parties.
So, in preparation for our upcoming flight, I began researching how best to entertain kids (have them wear costumes, bring activity books and snacks, give them little toys wrapped in tightly wrapped paper and tell them to open them).
As a result of this research, my phone is now throwing out scary travel items. Many of these fall under the category of horrible kids and their horrible parents who are horrible on a plane war stories.
The settings are familiar; a baby crying in your ear, a grumpy eight-year-old repeatedly kicking the back of your seat, or a singing child baby shark four hours straight. One article focused on an angry passenger who urged parents to control their child.
Oh boy. My heart sank as I read that. Want to know what happens when you give unsolicited advice to a parent? Short answer: nothing good.
One summer, while I was riding the train with my daughter, who was little at the time, she started crying. And she wouldn’t stop. I jingled toys, offered bottles, sang songs, and rocked them, but we were at an impasse. Nothing worked.
As she screamed, a woman sitting in front of me turned in her seat, stared in our direction, and loudly silenced us. I can’t explain how annoying and unhelpful it was, it just made me more agitated and less able to calm my child down. If anything, her actions prolonged the crying. And what did she gain from it – a nanosecond of gratification?
Parents are constantly confronted with this. From the moment you find out you have kids, there’s an army of people pointing out what you’re doing wrong and explaining how they would do better.
A flood of unwanted “helpful” advice. Some of my friends refer to this as “drive-by parenting,” when someone rushes in, points out your shortcomings, lectures on how you could do things better, and then drives away.
These comments or eye rolls can deeply shake your confidence. Especially if you’re in an already heightened emotional state – like flying with kids. No mother or father needs lecturing while he’s 31,000 feet in the air. Because believe me, nobody is more hopeful of a child’s behavior on a flight than the child’s parents.
We’d prefer they didn’t have meltdowns via felt tip pens as they hurtle through the sky. We would love for them to sit and read throughout the trip. But that is not always possible. Kids will be kids, and sometimes they just want to scream for 20 minutes. They’re still learning that that’s not always okay.
When a child starts acting or playing in confined spaces, sugarcoat them and trust that the parents are in control. When things escalate, offer practical help – “Would you like me to get some water?” “Need help with your luggage?” If they refuse, back off. Gawking at or confronting a parent will not resolve the situation. Far from it.
If you really want a child three rows back to stop crying, don’t clear your throat or mumble out loud, but take a deep breath and remember that everyone is most likely trying their best.
If that fails, buy some noise-cancelling headphones, close your eyes, and think of the sun.
miss early risers…
Cocoa rituals at sunrise, swimming in the ocean, journaling, and rolling from yogis doing Trikonasana at dawn—we all know the early-morning productivity cheerleaders. The people who do everything before you lift your head from the pillow.
Last month, metro wrote an article about how we can all optimize our days provided we set the alarm for 4am.
The newspaper reported that waking up at the time gave people clearer heads and an increased ability to endure whatever the day threw at them. However, they added that you need to be in bed between 6:45 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. to get adequate sleep. Which can be problematic if you have serious commitments (eg island of love).
The newspaper asked members of the 4 o’clock club about their morning rituals. Most of them liked to start the day with a journal and drinking cups of hot water and lemon. Then they cook dinner, get answers to their emails, go jogging, and practice gratitude. There was a mother who had started her own business and men who had climbed the ladder of the corporate world.
It’s easy to see why people bought this. We are constantly told about presidents and world leaders who work for four hours with their eyes closed. But I’m always a bit sad (and also jealous) of these people. Yes, they’re insanely successful, but don’t they know how delicious sleep can be? Have you ever experienced the wonder of hitting the snooze button and curling up in a cloud of duvets for another 20 minutes? Why elude that for life?
It turns out we were wrong all along
New scientific research from the University of Oxford has shown that food tastes even better with your mouth open.
Professor Charles Spence narrated The British Times that we “did everything wrong” when eating. He claims that opening your mouth can help increase the aromatic intensity of food and improve flavor.
Spence encourages diners to chew with their mouths wide open to make meals as palatable as possible. While he’s confident it will enhance the dining experience, those sitting across from someone tasting it might not agree.
https://www.independent.ie/life/drive-by-parenting-please-keep-your-unsolicited-advice-to-yourself-41867074.html Drive-by parenting: please keep your unsolicited advice to yourself