I see you, fellow traveler. You, with the magazines or tablet, sipping your Starbucks or ordering a Bloody Mary from the flight attendant. I, too, was once like you. Once upon a time, a flight meant time unplugged from Instagram and work emails. Perhaps even a solo viewing of a movie that my spouse would definitely veto.
I’d pack my two carry-on bags in precise science, even for weeklong trips, no need to check a bag. I’d wear my effortless travel outfit with chic boots and breeze through to my gate.
Then, I became a mother.
A yoga pants, stained shirt-wearing mama traveling with an infant. And to those who are not in the trenches of caring for a small human who have read about that cute trend of parents sharing little bags of apology-treats for neighbors on the plane, here are all of the reasons why you won’t be getting one from me.
(A quick note: Bless the parents who pack up little ear-plugs-and-candy packets in snack-sized plastic bags for the passengers around them. You are considerate and kind, and my reasons hold no judgement for your generosity.)
My first reason: I have already done all the packing for the large camping-trip-in-motion that is travelling with a baby. It includes what my fellow passengers truly need: Everything to contain a diaper disaster. I have packed all the things to contain the smell, the possible seepage and the close-quarter liabilities of a dirty diaper. Trust me, you’d much rather my attention is spent there.
Second, if I’m packing any snacks, it’s the little teething wafers that make my little one look like a baby otter eating from tiny baby paws. Doesn’t that melt your heart faster than any chocolate I could hand out?
We’ve all been around that traveler who is making their bad day everyone else’s bad day and there's not a goody bag around that could change their mood (I'm looking at you, Mr. Unnecessarily Loud Man on the Palm Springs to Dallas-Fort Worth flight who was intent on sharing his displeasure about my baby’s presence by declaring “I hope it sleeps” to everyone on the plane).
Before I give a treat to someone averse to crying, may I also recommend banning movies like “Secret Life of Bees” from the airline entertainment options, because this grown woman did plenty of airplane sobbing on its viewing, no baby required.
Another reason: Those who deserve a treat are the same people who would never expect one. These are the kind strangers who helped me fold up my stroller, or who told me where they were sitting on the plane in case I needed help, or who said in solidarity that they, too, had traveled solo with a baby.
Perhaps instead of a Pinterest-perfect goody bag, we let kindness trend toward those mamas who are doing the best they can. And someday when I’m not travelling with a little one, I will help you fold up your stroller — or share some of my chocolate.