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Home » Parenting » I am not apologising for my kids anymore

I am not apologising for my kids anymore

One of the reasons flying with my kids makes me anxious is because you don’t get “kid friendly” flights that are made up predominantly of parents or travelling families. We have to fly with businessmen, single people, childless couples and parents escaping their children.IMG_2386

I spend the entire length of the flight making sure my child aren’t annoying anyone, making too much noise, crying too much – generally I squash them and stop them from doing all the things that kids are supposed to do for fear of a scathing tweet about the mother and her unruly spawn or screaming baby.

WHY?

Are we, as a family, less entitled to be on an airplane? Are we less important than the businessman in front of us trying to edit his report or the career women counting the seconds until she can turn her phone on to check her emails?

NO. We are not.

Flying is not the only time I feel like I have to muzzle my children.

Restaurants are another minefield. As parents we are more worried about ensuring those around us aren’t in any way inconvenienced or offended by our children talking a little too loud, or eating their macaroni and cheese with their fingers, or a toddler announcing to the world he needs to POO NOW! And we all now how people feel about breastfeeding in public.
Shops also cause much anxiety especially when toddlers would rather walk than be confined to a pram. Heaven forbid a busy little person runs across the path of someone, causing them to pause and walk around them or a mom has to stop suddenly because her daughter has to show her that there is Barbie on the yoghurt. We all know how much fun toddler tantrums can be and often despite our best attempts to avoid them, they happen but again, we are often more in tune with the glares and sighs of those around us than the wailing child.

I am kinda done apologising for my children being children.

IMG_2497Before you get your knickers in a knot I am not condoning badly behaved children, yours or mine. I am simply saying, when my child behaves like a child and that inconveniences you, that is YOUR problem, not mine or my childs.

Babies cry on airplanes, their ears hurt, they get hungry, they cry. It is normal. I will not apologise for that.

Toddlers do not have the ability to sit through an entire meal without moving. They need to run, walk, move. It is normal. I will not apologise for that.

Children aren’t born knowing how to behave socially. We teach them, it takes time. They will talk too loud, they will ask inappropriate questions. It is how they learn. I will not apologise for that.

They throw tantrums. They get tired, over stimulated. They test boundaries. It does not mean I am a bad parent or that they are a bad child. It means they are learning. It is normal. I will not apologise for that.

Toddlers love exploring, the love walking around the shops. Sometimes they get so caught up in it all, the forget to look in front of them, so they will bump into you and we will say sorry for that BUT I will not apologise for allowing him the freedom to walk around a little.

My children and I have just as much right to fly on airplanes, eat at restaurants, watch movies and shop as our childless counterparts.You may not like children, that is really ok because I don’t particularly like children, but you do need to accept that children are the next generation, they are here to stay and they aren’t perfect.

My children are noisy, they get excited over trivial things, they whine, the toddler hasn’t perfected eating with a knife and fork yet, the baby can’t talk so she cries when she is hungry or tired, they do still occasionally bump the table sending drinks and chips flying. If that offends you, you have the choice to go to another restaurant, stand in another queue or take another flight.

I am not apologising for my children being children anymore.

Disclaimer: If my children disrespect you, or anyone really, they will be reprimanded and we will apologise. I am not excusing away bad behaviour. I do promise to do my best to stop tantrums because, I promise you, they are even less fun for me to endure, if you promise to give me the space to do that.

 

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17 Comments

  1. 18 August, 2014 / 12:34 pm

    WELL-FREAKIN-DONE! You know, I need to vent a little too, and funny enough – it follows this topic. When I flew to Jo’burg for the Huggies launch, I remember the glares as I stepped on the plane with a very little 3 month old Axl. The plane was teeming with business men (and doctors who sat behind me) and not a single person gave a reassuring smile. On my way back, the security at OR Tambo were so unhelpful, not to mention the ‘oh crap, it’s a baby – this is going to be a long flight’ looks. Thankfully, when I climbed off, a business man – suit and all – came to me and said, your baby was so well behaved. Other than that incident, I haven’t really had to face the glares all too much, other than the few occasions that Axl cries because of his teething and when I need to breastfeed. I don’t see why I have to apologise for him crying though, he is in pain – those teeth are pushing though tough gums, and it hurts! Or, he wants to eat, but I am so busy trying to make YOU feel comfortable by not pulling out my breast right there and then, that my child has to pay the price? WHAT IS WITH THAT? Then this weekend, we went for breakfast – we chose to sit out in the sun but quickly picked up all the things, nappy bag, pram and all as they were smoking outside, no one warned us that it was a smoking area, or anything. Then, we go inside, and I move a chair to fit the pram in, and I get a room full of glares, huffing waitresses and more. I seriously was on the verge of walking out. Society is complete BS, I don’t see why we have to change everything to make them feel comfortable when they can’t return the favour. Good on you for writing this. Much love to you and your 4 xo

    • Jenny
      18 August, 2014 / 2:45 pm

      Your baby is well-behaved? At 3 months? Like if he cried he would’ve been naughty? That is exactly what is wrong with this society. I agree with you.

  2. MeeA Parkins
    18 August, 2014 / 12:46 pm

    Well said, Laura!

  3. 18 August, 2014 / 3:29 pm

    So true.

    K talked NON-stop on the flight to Durban to a very nice man in their row. I felt sorry for him but D said he was very nice and said he had a 6-year-old girl so he was used to the chatter.

  4. 18 August, 2014 / 4:36 pm

    On a recent flight from Dubai, there was a small child sitting behind me, rocking on the back of my seat and the dreaded feet kicks, the Mother had smiled and made eye contact as I was sitting down and after the umptienth time of apologising to me and telling the child off, I said, ‘kids will be kids, it really is ok’ however the Mother opposite who was plugged into her headphones and allowed her 2 yo to run round the plane, screeching and generally annoying anyone, was a different story, numerous passengers complained and the flight crew refused to speak with her as they didn’t want to upset her. After my millionth complaint and threatening to make a formal complaint about the cabin crew they finally spoke to the mother who took her child, settled it and both fell asleep for the last 3 hours of the flight. Getting off the plane another passenger who had insisted on moving said the dad was at the back of the plane and wanted a peaceful flight as he knew what his child was like.
    I also find that I’m more disturbed by parents repeatedly telling their kids off and causing them to grizzle and generally be unhappy than I am by the child’s behaviour in the first place.
    *Mother to 5 who has flown with them all numerous times and sees both sides of the story.

  5. 18 August, 2014 / 6:59 pm

    Oh I am so sorry! But seriously. Who doesn’t love a toddler walking into them (unless, of course, they scream in terror as they look up at you)? I will not apologize for my baby girl (6… so maybe not so much a baby anymore) because I know she’s raised polite, friendly, and considerate of others. If she needs to be a child, I will let her be exactly that!!!

  6. 19 August, 2014 / 9:14 am

    I had a good laugh at this blog im also done with appoligising fo r my kids being kids. Having a 2 and a half year old boy who seems to think joining the boys on the beach who are kicking a ball around is just great or singing along to the song they playing while we shopping. Although there are times i do let things slide I will still dicipline them and then i dont care who may be watching.

  7. 19 August, 2014 / 10:50 am

    Way to go! I feel exactly the same way! I will say sorry and make my boys say sorry when they have been rude but I will not allow myself or my children to feel negatively because they were simply being children! Well said!

  8. 19 August, 2014 / 12:47 pm

    Power to you…I love that you have written this and taken this attitude. The last time I flew with my child he was 2,5 months old and he started screaming his head off when the pressure in his ears got too much. I was ready to bawl myself until a very helpful older lady said to me that I should just feed him and it does not matter what anyone else has to say. So I draped a shawl over the two of us and breastfed him. I vowed never to fly again.
    I will fight for my baby should anyone dare to unjustifiably complain about him, like the lady who was so impatient because my car door was open while I strapped my sleeping child into his car seat. I made sure she knew exactly how rude and unreasonable she was.
    However, I avoid flying, restaurants and any situation where my child will be a child or throw a tantrum I am just not brave enough.
    PS: Do people actually think parents like screaming hissy fits from their children? Sometimes I wonder if they think we get our kids to purposely throw tantrums for their benefit.

  9. 19 August, 2014 / 1:48 pm

    ABSO-BLOODY-LUTELY! LOVED THIS!

  10. Heather
    19 August, 2014 / 7:10 pm

    Loved your post. I am sure every mom can relate.

  11. 20 August, 2014 / 2:43 pm

    It’s all about all round respect. Respect that children are children but in the same breath respect those around us. Children will be noisy etc but if we teach them or are attempting to at least, it’s the way to go. I guess what I am saying is a small baby that cries on a flight surely has to be respected by the other passengers but a child left to run unattended or no attempt made to keep the child at ease by the parents is another matter. It goes both ways.

  12. Heather
    20 August, 2014 / 3:32 pm

    Thanks for writing this. I think though, for every difficult person there are also a lot out there that give you a sympathetic or knowing smile – it shows they have been there and support you.

  13. 23 August, 2014 / 5:00 pm

    A colleague and I were taking about the same thing recently. And then I read about a lady who gave her fellow passengers a “token” to apologize for any thing her baby might do on a flight! I thought she must have a lot of spare cash. Rude, badly behaved children I can’t tolerate but kids will be kids and the earlier people realise that the better.

  14. 26 August, 2014 / 4:17 pm

    I’ve only flown once with Kade when he was 18 months old. We made every effort to keep him entertained while flying and gave bottles and suckers to ease ear pressure. When he wanted to walk up and down the aisle we did so. Many of the passengers winked at him, talked to him etc but some just glared at us. I smiled and waved at them. I paid for that flight just like they did.

    xxx

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