In case you’ve been living under an internet-less rock, or you haven’t been frequenting the parenting-blogger circuit and every major media outlet this week, there was recently a family that handed out apology notes, along with “favors,” to passengers on a plane to apologize in advance for their 14 week old twins who may get fussy on the flight.
Now, this idea doesn’t seem new to me. I’ve heard of parents offering ear-plugs to passengers seated next to them and their baby on planes. And, it’s not that I’m judging the gesture because I GET how stressful flying with a baby (or babies, in this case) can be. If offering small favors and a note of apology help you feel better about the situation, and give you a little more control over the anxiety that comes with trapping yourself and your infant(s) 20,000 feet in the air while the pressure changes constantly and you’re hard-pressed to find a space big enough to change a diaper, then you do what you gotta do. Truly, more power to you.
It’s just that the reaction to this has been, from what I’ve seen, so overwhelmingly “Well, now THAT is how you should fly with babies. WHAT A NICE THING TO DO!” And frankly, that sorta pisses me off.
Kristen Chase addressed this earlier this week. If that is how we should be flying with babies, by offering apologies before they are even warranted (along with bags of candy), then I want to know where my apology and Jolly Rancher is from every asshole about to board a plane who’s going to make my flight less comfortable in some way. But of course, I don’t really expect that (and would be a little weirded out, truthfully, if I got it) because as much as they annoy me, they have just as much right to be on that plane as I do.
It’s a form of transportation, not a leisurely carriage ride through Fairy Land.
I guess what I’m mainly concerned with is expectation following this because, while some may have the time and desire to create hundreds of apology notes and favors for every passenger of the plane they’re about to board with a baby, I’m lucky to be packed by 2 a.m. the night before and not forget diapers and wipes. If an apology is warranted from me or my children, you will get it by way of my ragged mouth or a wave of my tired hand, which is likely crusted in toddler snot and lollipop slime, exhausted from trying every trick in the book to keep my kid from annoying you on the plane.
So please, I beg of all of you, let’s not turn this into a “thing.” Let’s not start putting up free printables for Airplane Apologies. Let’s not start pinning this shit. Let’s not let this become something that is EXPECTED of us.
Because parenthood already comes with too many damn expectations.