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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 April 2019

Travelling with children: Mum's letter calls out man who 'plane shamed' her on flight

Stephanie Hollifield, the mum behind USA-based blog Momstrosity, has opened up about being ‘plane shamed’ on her first solo trip with toddler daughter Haley

Travelling with children can be extremely stressful for parents. Getty
Travelling with children can be extremely stressful for parents. Getty

Travelling is stressful at the best of times, but flying with children can add a whole new level of worry for parents.

Logistically, flying with a family takes careful planning, and mentally, it requires a lot of patience. But that patience is not always shared by fellow passengers, especially when restless, tired and understandably bored children are involved.

But one mother has called out the eye-rolls and huffs of one of her fellow passengers, urging travellers to instead be kind, in an open letter which has since gone viral.

Stephanie Hollifield, the mum behind USA-based blog Momstrosity, has opened up about being ‘plane shamed’ on her first solo trip with toddler daughter Haley.

“I first noticed you when you sighed loudly as you laid eyes on me and my toddler boarding the plane,” she said in a Facebook post. “In a momentary lapse of judgment, we sat behind you.”

“Did you wonder about this mom and little girl who were flying alone? We were so excited to go on an adventure, but I was also very nervous. This was the first time that I had ever flown with a child, and I was making half of the trip without my husband.”

Hollifield added that her daughter was recovering from a sinus infection, and despite all the toys and books she’d packed for her, and the hours she had spent researching tips for travelling with children, Haley soon became restless.

“I did everything in my power to keep her calm and quiet. I shushed her, and made sure her little feet never kicked your seat,” she says, “As we took off, her tears started.”

She goes on to say that she almost started to cry herself, apologising to everyone around her, while the man in front “muttered annoyances and looked over his shoulder”.

“I was feeling shame and guilt for not being able to control my own child,” says Hollifield, before a kind flight attendant came over to offer to help.

The tale has clearly struck a chord with parents around the world, as it's been liked almost 6,500 times with roughly 1,600 comments left on the post.

“The kind attendant told us, ‘It’s OK! Flying is tough on everyone, and you are both doing great!’,” she continued. “She was right. We were doing great! We were doing our best, and that’s as great as it gets. The problem wasn’t with us, it was with you.”

Hollifield ended the post by urging passengers to be kind next time they see a parent struggling with a child while travelling, and says if they can’t be kind, “simple silence will do just fine”.

The post saw hundreds of parents offer words of support. “I am flying today and I’m going to make a point to find a momma travelling with kids and tell her she’s doing a great job! People can be so rude but we can’t let them steal our joy!”, wrote one user, while another added: “I’m not a mom, but I am a human. I found your post moving and brave. You and your beautiful child can sit next to me anytime.”

Travelling with children? Check out our tips on keeping little ones happy.

Updated: February 11, 2019 03:29 PM

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