From the moment you tell someone, anyone, you’re pregnant, it seems to open the door for unsolicited advice.
The “oh I had morning sickness” or “watch how your feet swell” or “don’t dye your hair” “use a pacifier” “never use a pacifier”, “you’re going to breastfeed, right?”
I’m not against the sisterhood. In fact, I embrace the mommy community. I have questions and want answers and am comforted when another mom or dad makes a suggestion that helps my kids or I through a rough patch. That being said, “if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
I just got back from a family vacation. My husband and I took our young daughters across the country to see his aunts. I spent the good part of the week before packing and planning, mostly for the plane ride. I have a hard time sitting still, so how can I expect my two young daughters to? My husband downloaded their favorite movies and brought our old phones with their favorite games on them. I packed their favorite barbies, books and snacks to keep them occupied. I thought, well, I got this. They’re kids and we’re doing our best. We scooped them out of their beds at 4:30 in the morning, put them in the car and went to the airport. They were so excited for their adventure, mumbling a sleepy, “are we going on the plane today?” They didn’t even fall back to sleep in the car! Carrying all the luggage and getting through security was fine, we cut it a little close, but made it on time for our flight. The girls giggled in their seats, staring out the window and asking “are we moving yet?”
Up in the sky, they were excited mommy was letting them indulge in so much movie watching and game playing. (usually I’m a stickler for not too much screen time, but, hey, whatever is going to keep them happy while they’re cooped up in the cabin!) They did GREAT! I was pleasantly surprised at how great. I was so proud of them and told them so.
However, I was surprised, shocked and speechless when a female flight attendant approached us as we landed at our final stop and said “you know, bringing a car seat, or their favorite toy is always comforting for kids.” I, who is never speechless, turned to my husband, who pipes up and says, “they did great.” She didn’t stop. She went on to explain to us, their parents, about what can help. At this point, I started to realize how angry I was getting. My kids behaved. They didn’t make a scene. They didn’t yell or have an accident on the seats. They weren’t spoiled little brats making demands. They were great. I am, by no means, under the impression that my kids behave all the time, because they don’t. But, this time, they did!
Ironically, not even two minutes later, another passenger who didn’t hear the exchange, said to us, “they did great”, referring to our kids.
So, now that I’m not as sleep deprived or desperate to get the hell off the plane and to our destination, I wanted to offer a bit of unsolicited advice to that flight attendant. The next time you think about approaching some parents about what YOU think is a good idea for THEIR kids, think again. I don’t appreciate you insinuating that they didn’t behave, or were too much trouble for you. Perhaps you are miserable and can’t find joy. That’s sad. But, please don’t spread your negativity to a family who is polite and kind, until treated otherwise. I pity the family who does have a rough trip on a flight when you’re working, I assume you will add to their misery.
I truly believe this was an isolated incident because we had very helpful and sweet flight attendants on the way home who went out of their way to joke around with our girls and give them extra snacks. They, honestly, even remarked at what a beautiful family we have. So, thank you, to them, for their kindness in what can be a stressful experience.