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To the mom who freaked out on the plane last night:

I know you are probably a little embarrassed about how you totally flipped the heck out at the flight attendant yesterday as we were flying from New York to San Francisco. Obviously, it is not her fault that we sat on the tarmac for an extra 1.5 hours or that United actively chose to NOT put changing tables on their planes, forcing all of us to tend to our precious cargo’s diapers ON TOP OF A GERMY AIRPLANE TOILET. I mean, clearly you know this. And clearly if you could have yelled at the person who is actually in charge of United Airlines’ bad decision-making, you would have. But you couldn’t, and you were seeing red, and so you just flipped. I know this because I easily could have been you.

Flying with a kiddo is hard, especially when that kiddo is under two. My twenty-month-old and I were traversing the country for the first time together without “Daddy,” which means that a) I was willing to do anything and everything to get us through the seven hours and b) those things included letting my kid unwind all the toilet paper on the roll while I peed, pretending I didn’t see him continually kick the seat in front of him, eating food and crumbs off the seat which is totally disgusting but NECESSARY, turning the floor into our own personal storage unit-slash-recycle bin, and a bunch of other stuff that I will take to my grave. I also tested the limits of the flight attendant call button, which – for the record – is apparently only there for decoration because no one actually likes when you push it, least of all the flight attendants.

Like you, I boarded the flight a tad pissed. First of all, why do they they bother toΒ ask if anyone needs to board early when they just plan to deny anyone who calls them on their bluff? After I dragged my kiddo and our stuff up to the front to take them up on their generous offer to walk onto the plane four and a half minutes before some other people, they denied me.Β Come on, United. Do you hate families and small children? I mean, I agree we are annoying as hell. But so are you.

But back to YOU, other frazzled mom who happened to explode with the force of a geiser trying to convince a surly toddler to wear pants: I could kind of tell that you were a little annoyed by all the people who turned around and stared at you after your outburst. I stared, too, so feel free to curse me during naptime today. But here’s the thing: after I stared, and then turned back to my kid and imagined that he, too, had dropped his entire sandwich on the floor of an airplane which is categorically the dirtiest place on the planet,Β I put myself in your shoes. And I mentally sent you a hug. And a vodka tonic. No actually just a vodka, tonic is for the childless.

I sent you the hug because I get you. Hell, I am you. Motherhood has left me more on edge than ever in my life. Like the other day at Whole Foods. I rammed my leg into the cart and got so pissed that I yanked one of those plastic vegetable produce bags a bit too hard, and several employees and one curious child stared at me like I had done something egregiously terrible because I took out my frustrations on a bag holder. (My bad.) They might have judged me, but yesterday on the plane, I wasn’t judging you. No, I was mentally sending you good thoughts and thinking that I so, so got how tired and stressed and frankly downright pushed to the brink you felt in that moment. And I wanted to say something to you, something reassuring. I thought about coming over to commiserate a little, but I never got up the nerve, because that felt nosy and presumptuous. And also because I’m still just a little, tiny bit afraid of you. You yell really loud.

Yours,

The other mom on the plane who gets it

How do you get through long plane flights with your kiddos? Why was I the only parent traveling without an ipad preloaded with Yo Gabba Gabba? (Please don’t answer, “because you’re stupid.”) xox