…don’t turn into an absolute jerk face.
I’ve always believed that when recurring things happen in your life, that there’s something important about them that needs to be said. In this instance, it’s about babies.
Babies & airplanes to be exact.
I recently told y’all about a horrible situation I was caught in on my way back to Amsterdam. Then my friend Chelsea shared the terrible flight she & her little one had to deal with. This past weekend, I took two flights with a semi-fussy LB. And then, last night, as I caught up on Grey’s Anatomy, the episode started off with a baby crying in a plane & a grumpy passenger.
Are you catching on to why I feel like this needs to be discussed?
To begin this, let’s start with the child, ok? Most children on a normal day, without restraints placed on them, are bonkers. They have energy levels that even your 20 year old-college-partying-self wouldn’t be able to keep up with. From dawn to dusk, they run, they scream, they ask for cuddles & high fives, they cry like banshees and on even the best of days, they exhaust their parents. That is the life that we, as parents, signed up for. I get that.
But now, let’s talk about what happens when you take this ball of energy & squeeze them into your lap for a long duration.
In a space that doesn’t provide a comfortable place to sit in, much less, room to walk around, you’re going to get a fussy baby. Hell, at times you even get a fussy adult.
And you know what? WE KNOW THAT. As a mom, I know full well that Sofia is going to get out of hand at one point or another. But here’s the thing: I do everything in my power to prepare for it.
I pack a bag full of snacks, milk bottles, snacks, toys, snacks, cartoons, and you guessed it — snacks.
But sometimes, it.is.not.enough. Because Sofia is a human. She has feelings. And she has frustrations. And sometimes a freakin’ snack won’t fix that. So when she cries because she’s anxious and annoyed at being stuck in a tiny space, trust me when I tell you that my anxiety levels are through.the.freakin.roof. I know, in my heart, that some person in that plane is rolling their eyes, huffing with exasperation, and thinking that I am the worst mother since I cannot get my child to quiet down.
But you know what? I am not a terrible mother. I am a freakin’ awesome mom. Because, I will not yell at my child for being annoyed. I will not spank her just because as a 1 year old she doesn’t know what an inside voice is. Instead, I will continue to play with her and try to keep her occupied so that she doesn’t disrupt you. And that, y’all, is the best I can do.
So when you hear a baby crying, instead of shaming the mother with the child, take a moment to think how you would feel about YOUR mother being shamed if YOU were the upset child. I can guarantee that you probably also had fussy times as a child & that you would never want your mother to have been yelled at or huffed at or made to feel like a terrible parent.
Instead, if you hear a baby crying, try this:
- Be like the incredible person who sat behind us on Monday and played peek-a-boo with Sofia.
- Be like the kind individual who picked up her pacifier & her stuffed animal when she threw both of them on the ground behind me. TWICE.
- Give the little one a high-five & giggle with them.
- Ask if you can do anything for the parent with the child.
- Perhaps just even tell the parents that they are doing a good job.
- Say “it’s not a problem” when the parent apologizes for their crying baby.
- Put your headphones on & ignore the fussing because you know at some point the little one will chill out.
An encouraging word or 10 minutes of being kind to the child will not kill you. If anything, the parents are most likely to send you every kind prayer in their heart to thank you for what you’ve done to make their life a little easier.
I cannot tell you how many times I must’ve thanked the kind stranger on the plane on Monday. And every time, when he responded with “don’t worry; she’s precious” or “it wasn’t a problem at all,” my heart let go of a little bit of the anxiety I was feeling.
We, collectively, as a human race need to learn to be kinder to & more patient with others. And since I’ve now been on both sides of the coin, I’m going to do everything in my power to ensure that I help out where and when I can.