My Baby Might Scream on This Flight & I Didn't Buy You a Treat Because You're the Adult

mom and kids on plane

A new full-on LOL New York Times editorial argues that truly civilized moms traveling with kids should bring goody bags for their fellow passengers. You know, to apologize in advance for existing. Um, no. That's what vodka and headphones are for.

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This kind of expectation -- that women should apologize for daring to exist or take up space -- isn't anything new. And moms, who get attacked for everything from our "mom hair" to our need to feed our babies, are familiar with the expectation that we continually apologize for daring to impose on anyone who would prefer not to be bothered by the unpleasantness of child-rearing.

Read: men.

The Times editorial, from a dude named Damon Darlin, argues that a goody bag "prevents fighting" and serves as a means of "conflict resolution before there is any conflict." 

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Then, he adds this bit of high-handed, unsolicited advice:

Certainly the goody bag is essentially worthless -- a few candies and a set of earplugs make up the typical lagniappe. But you, the harried parent, use it to do what economists call signaling. You are letting the recipients know you care about their happiness, whether you really do or not.

So let me return the favor with a piece of advice of my own: Never say those words to another mother again. 

Because here's what you're really saying, Damon:

In addition to packing for a trip for myself and the baby ... after hauling diapers and food and a baby seat and a stroller AND A BABY through the airport ... after packing snacks and remembering the baby Tylenol ... after remembering two sweaters in case the other one gets thrown up on ... and making sure all the liquids were in the checked bag ... after negotiating for 20 minutes with TSA and actually drinking my own breast milk for the sake of national security ... after doing all of this while intensely sleep-deprived ... moms like me are supposed to make you and a random number of strangers in the vicinity a goody bag? Like the kind we give out at a kid's birthday party? Like you're just another baby I need to pacify?

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Yeah no. And grow up.

I paid the same amount for my seat as the guy sitting in 17D who brought an entire large pizza with anchovies onto the plane. Can we talk about the guy clipping his toenails in 14C? Or how about the drunk chick in 22F? And I'm the one who's supposed to pack a special surprise for total strangers in case I might be annoying?

And what if my kid is really good? Do YOU then owe me a special treat for being such a great mom?

Here's the deal: I am a person and a paying customer, just like you are. I will do what I can to keep my kid as quiet as possible because just like you, I find that the screaming isn't big fun for me either. If I irritate or annoy you in transit, I might apologize or buy my seatmates a round of drinks or even bring extra candy to help sweeten the situation. Maybe not.

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Instead of your goody bag solution, I would like you, Mr. Darlin, to try to think outside of your prissy bubble for a moment and have a bit of empathy for how tough it is to be a mom to a young baby, and how brutal travel can be. I would like to suggest that in order to make every mother's job more pleasant you travel with a kit of extra wipes, some baby aspirin, Orajel, and a fresh binky. You know, just to show the random mother you happen to pass that you care about her comfort.

As for yourself, a grown man who has already had ample opportunity to develop his own self-soothing techniques, I would like to think you can take care of yourself. If you need a tip for how to handle everyday travel annoyances, again, that's what vodka and headphones are for.

Put that in your goody bag.

 

Image via iStock.com/Nadezhda1906

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