For most moms, it’s one of the most dreaded situations you could ever encounter. Flying with kids. Alone. Oh, and they’re both 2 and under. Here’s how that went for me.
“Why don’t you and the little boys come to Dallas to visit? Like, tomorrow.”
My dad is always coming up with crazy ideas. But this was one of his craziest.
“You want me to fly, by myself, with 2 boys 2 years old and under? Are you insane?” I laughed.
But then I hung up the phone and thought a little more about it. What’s the worst that could happen?
A few minutes later, I surprised even myself, and called him back.
“Sure, let’s do it! You only live once!”
The tickets were booked for a flight the next afternoon.
2 first class tickets. My dad’s treat.
At first, I was like, YESSSSSS. It’d been a long time since the hubby and I had enjoyed the luxury of huge seats and cocktails and quiet. (Back when he traveled a lot for work, we were often upgraded.) I knew how amazing it would be, and I was excited to experience it again.
But then, I was like, OH CRAP.
I’m going to be that hated mom in first class. With a baby. And a 2-year-old. CRAP.
So, I packed. I got the kids ready. I wore stretchy pants, you know, for the one-handed, mid-flight bathroom trips (one of my 12 no-fail tips for flying with a baby). I drove to the airport and parked. Then, I wore the baby and hoisted 2 carseats onto the stroller and held the toddler’s hand. And gave him his own small suitcase to roll. (Let’s be honest. I needed all the help I could get.) I checked in. I got through security. I waited at the gate. #LIKEABOSS
And then, we walked onto the plane. And up to our seats, 2A and 2B.
Immediately, I locked eyes with the woman sitting behind us. She raised her eyebrows, and looked at the woman sitting next to her, as if to say, ‘Ugh, we’re sitting behind 2 kids. How annoying.’
And you know what?
I was in such a ballsy mom mood that I did not even blink.
As I guided the toddler and his tiny Cars rollable suitcase into our row, I never looked down. I just stared at this woman behind me. My eyes on her face. As if to say, I see your negative looks. And I’m not afraid of you. TRY ME.
Then I sat down and braced for takeoff.
As it turned out, the kids were amazing.
The whole flight, they barely made a peep. I gave the toddler a melatonin 30 minutes before takeoff (after okaying it with our pediatrician), and it nudged him into a restful naptime for most of the flight. The baby laid on me and fell asleep.
BAM, woman-behind-me. Take that.
I was so satisfied with my victory that it was all I could to do contain my excitement when that flight attendant walked up to me at cocktail time. I wasn’t about to let my dad’s first class purchase go to waste on an ice water. (Let’s be real.) She barely made eye contact and hurriedly asked if I wanted a drink.
Do I want a drink? What do YOU think? Yes, I want a drink. I’m sitting in the middle of first class silence with a baby and a 2-year-old. In fact, give me 3. One for each passenger giving me the evil eye right now.
That’s what I wanted to say.
Instead, I said, loud and clearly, and with a confident smile, “Yes, I’ll have a vodka soda with a lime wedge, please.”
And silently dared anyone around me to say anything about being a young mom with kids drinking a cocktail.
Because I was ready to pounce.
That’s right, people. There is no shame in my game.
Yes, everyone, it’s true. I consume alcohol to dull the awkwardness of everyone in this cabin hating me for bringing children on an airplane.
But, as it turned out, everything was fine.
The kids were great.
The flight was great.
And then, after landing, the moment I knew would come, did.
We stood up, and evil-eye woman and I were both hunched over, under the overhead bins, as we waited for our turn to walk into the center aisle.
“Your kids did great,” she said.
Again, I didn’t miss a beat and looked her directly in the eye.
“Thank you. I know.”
And with that, I gathered my Tula, my carry-on bag, the toddler’s suitcase, a stray swaddling blanket, my 2 small children and my remaining, totally-intact mom dignity, and walked off of that airplane, with my chest puffed up, prouder than you could ever know.
If you’d have been standing in the jetway, you would have seen a huge, unadulterated, joyous, victorious smile on my satisfied mama face.
It doesn’t always work that way.
But when it does, you gotta enjoy the moment.