Late last year a couple made news by giving out treat bags to their fellow passengers that contained candy and earplugs and a note. A note that apologized in advance for two 14 week old twins that would likely be crying on the flight and irritating the passengers around them. At first glance, this seems like a well-intentioned peace-offering. Something to help smooth the way for this young couple that is clearly stressing about a long flight with young children and judgey adults. And herein lies the problem for me.
Why should they care? What is wrong with our society today that young parents should have to worry about pouty adults? To me, it's a broader statement that we have a whole swath of people in our society who are incapable of behaving like adults and now those of that can need to molly coddle them too. Pshaw!
If children on a plane irritate you, then maybe you should consider staying home. Just a thought. Also, maybe it's up to those of us who can behave like adults to give a helping hand to young parents to relieve their stress. NOT the other way around.
And let's not forget that this also puts us on a slippery slope. Do parents of children with behavioural issues need to start buying coffee for the plane? Donuts for the person delayed getting to their seat by the person in a wheelchair? Group therapy for everyone should your child vomit mid-flight?
Preemptively apologizing for behaviour that is a) out of your control and b) totally natural, is ludicrous. It also creates expectations where there should be none.
I'm sure that the couple that did this are lovely people. I'm sure that they were only thinking of how they could alleviate some stress on themselves. I get that. I remember well the grumpy stares and judging looks. I know that it's hard to remain calm and cool in the face of people who feel it is their God-given right to roll their eyes and huff and puff and generally behave like jackasses. I really, really get that.
I do hope though that this does not turn into a trend. I hope that young parents everywhere keep their attention focused entirely where it should be — on their children. My girls, now 10 and 8, are wonderful travelers. They are patient, kind, quiet, and polite. They are this way because I remained focused on teaching them how to be the best travelers possible and not trying to appease those around me.
So, here's some advice from a mom who's been traveling with her children since they were a few months old. Please, I beg of you, please do not give two seconds thought to potential sucky babies that may be traveling on a plane with you. Maybe they should be bringing candy for you?