Flying can be aggravating, stressful, and nerve wracking even under the best circumstances. So adding children into the mix is a recipe for disaster.
But for parents who need to get somewhere in a hurry, flying with their little ones is a necessary evil. Still, other passengers aren’t always patient or understanding.
Stephanie Hollifield, a mom who blogs for the website Momstrosity, wrote an emotional letter to a fellow passenger after he was visibly annoyed by her daughter on a recent flight.
"I first noticed you when you sighed loudly as you laid eyes on me and my toddler boarding the plane," she wrote.
"From the over dramatic huffs and puffs you let out as we buckled in, it was clear that you were annoyed by our very presence. I wondered if you had a bad day, or if this grouchy temperament was your normal temperament."
Hollifield wrote that her seat neighbor let out "mutters of annoyance" and turned to glare at her throughout the flight. "You even shoved the back of the seat towards us."
She added that this was her first time flying with her young daughter - plus she was alone to boot - and she was already feeling enough shame over her noisy behavior without being nagged by other passengers.
"I apologized to everyone around me. I almost started crying myself. I was feeling shame and guilt for not being able to control my own child."
Thankfully, a flight attendant was more understanding than the rude passenger, and brought over a cup and straw for the little girl to play with.
That, Hollifield wrote, was the right way to deal with someone else’s temperamental child: smile, be polite, and put yourself in their parent’s shoes.
"The problem wasn’t with us, it was with you," she told the grumpy passenger. "What you need to know, is that while children can be terribly inconvenient now, they will run the world when you are old and grey."
That’s a lesson we should all try and remember, even when other people’s children are testing our nerves in public. At some point we’ll all be in the same situation, so it’s best to show the world your good side and hope someone else returns the favor later on.
And it seems like plenty of parents are siding with Hollifield, judging by the reactions to her Facebook post:
"Next time offer the Benadryl to the annoyed passenger and let your daughter be," one parent wrote. "He's had decades to learn to deal with his emotions under stressful circumstances, she is still learning self-control. One of them was being a brat and it wasn't your child."
"I get the initial reaction of this guy," another person admitted. "But he should be a grown up and see if he can help make it easier/better for you!"