It's incredible how motherhood changes your perspective and how quickly it humbles you. I was naive prior to becoming a Mom, and if I'm being totally honest I was unbelievably judgmental. If I could go back and smack myself I would! Or at the very least have a very stern and direct conversation with my former self.
I travel a lot and I am often on planes with babies and young children. Prior to becoming a mother I would cringe and even try to move seats if possible, for the sole reason as to put some distance between me and a mother and her children. I had no plans to have children at that time and honestly kids annoyed me. This was who I was in that stage of my life, I wasn't very helpful to mothers or kids and I'm not proud of it but it's the truth. I think back now and want to set my younger self straight, and explain how incredibly hard it is to travel with small children. I want to tell her to help that struggling Mom over there, don't roll your eyes and wonder why she's letting her kid yell like that.
Ugh I can't believe it but that's who I was.
But if you don't own your past you can't improve your future.
As a mother now I get it. I'm not here to say women who aren't mothers don't get it, I am sure there are many women who don't have children that do. They have empathy for these Moms and they help them and overall they are just kind to Moms out there.
In my 20's I was definitely one of the women who didn't get it! But now I finally understand.
I understand that babies cry in unfamiliar places surrounded by unfamiliar people.
I understand toddlers need to burn energy and being stuck in an airplane for 5 hours is likely going to lead to a few meltdowns.
I understand kids have meltdowns because they are so full of emotions and they don't have the words or wisdom yet to express those feelings. They are not melting down to upset you or upset their parents, they are melting down because it's all they know how to do to get their feelings out.
I understand that Moms and Dads are doing their very best.
When we were on our four hour flight down to Austin (from Toronto) this week I was worried about meltdowns but overall Mckenna did so well. She is a high energy kid, so we expected some not so great moments along the way. She wanted to move when she had to stay seated, she was too hot and overtired from being woken up at 4:30 AM. The meltdowns thankfully didn't come but she definitely had her unhappy moments.
I honestly thought that I would care what other people around us thought. I thought I would worry and apologize when she was being whiny. However, in the moment all I cared about was her and doing everything I could to help her and make her more comfortable. All Chauncey focused on was her and her needs and to be honest neither of us gave a second thought to anyone around us. Is that selfish? Absolutely not.
Parents listen up, the priority while travelling should be the comfort of your kids and doing everything you can to keep them safe, calm, and comfortable. The priority should not be the needs of the adults around you.
And to my recent fellow travelers. I thank you for not being like I was a decade ago. I saw no eye rolls and heard no heavy sighs. Instead I saw empathetic eyes, smiles and head nods saying "we've been there". Thank you fellow passengers on Air Canada 597 to Austin, you gave me hope that more and more people get it.