Hot. Extremely hot. Sweat drops run down my back while hundreds of passengers are staring at you with irritation. Your heart is racing and you are losing it…What am I referring to?
10 hour long flight, alone with 2 toddlers. It is probably the most stressful situation I have ever been through and knowing I have to go through it at least twice every year, doesn’t exactly make me spin around and tap dance.
Now, all of the mothers out there that are sweet talking this situation, be real, it is a complete nightmare! At least it is for me…
In order to help you (or perhaps myself) I am going to list a few useful tips that will make your trip a little smoother. Just a bit:
1. Maybe the MOST important out of all, COME.ON.TIME.. DON’T be like those totally stressed out Mumz arriving to the airport 1.5 h before their flight departs and drag their children behind them, like they were just another annoying piece of hand luggage they had to pay extra for. They shout way too loud for the smallest thing and gets annoyed with the basic airport procedures required for all of us to be safe. It’s not fair to the kids and definitely not fair to yourself. You are the adult, make sure you guys arrive on time!
2. Check in as much luggage as you possibly can. Do not take a cabin bag on the airplane because you will end up with 2 kids, and a cabin bag plus maybe a backpack and a pram if you must bring that. That is the very maximum of what you will be able to handle, trust me! More stuff will only make you more exhausted, irritated and the chance of losing stuff becomes ever so evident. So, pack light, you will need all your energy for the flight because you WILL NOT get any sleep nor will you be able to eat. #thestruggleisreal !
3. Bring a sling or baby carrier and a backpack. That’s about it. Do not take more, be as free with your hands as you possibly can.
4. Essentials to pack:
Diapers – pack enough to last through the whole flight plus possible delays and security checkpoints, as well as if you arrive in the middle of the night and don’t want to run to the supermarket asking for diapers in some language you may or may not understand)
Wipes – Where would we be if we didn’t have wipes? Would there be any normal mummies left in this world? Would anyone be going to sleep without their makeup on, would any food (or other substances) ever be dried off that baby chair?… You know that you are a mother when you use wipes for EVERYTHING
iPad – Anyone who isn’t a parent, spare me the idealistic preaching here, come back when you have been on a 10 hour flight with a 3 year old and a toddler and then tell me you shouldn’t let children watch iPad
Headphones – For you. For you know what..
Change of clothes – if an accident occur, which it definitely will.
Lollipops and candy – Now whatever you do, don’t give the candy to your children in the beginning of the flight. If you do, they will pretty much start acting as if they have taken ecstasy and run around like those electric bunnies in the Duracell commercial when we were little (round and round and round.. yah, you get the picture). But the candy is good to keep them still and preoccupied for about 30 min when your flight is coming to an end. Also the lollipops will help if they are having problems with their ears during the flight.
Bottles – this is a necessity because you don’t want them to drink from a plastic glass and spill everywhere and also it provides some comfort if they want to sleep. But if you can, try not to bring any milk or formula, because of the liquids. They will scan everything at the airport going through security and they will even open the boxes of milk if they have to.
Favorite toys – Whatever you do, if you have kids in close ages who fight a lot over the toys all the time, then bring the exact same toys so you won’t have any issue with that onboard
Snacks – like cheerios, goldfish crackers or fruit
Small gifts – like surprise eggs, that you will take out when it feels like the world is going to end…It’s like a First Aid Kit for Mumz. But please don’t buy the ones with chocolate, you have no idea how messy that can get (speaking from unfortunate experience)
Sticker book – most kids like stickers and it will keep them busy and still for a bit.
5. Go to bed early the night before! Make sure you get enough rest to last you for the next 24 -36 hours or so after the flight because your kids will be jet lagged which equals no sleep and lots of coffee consumption. Your first few days will be like in a daze (serious rhyming skills).
Another important factor is the child-friendliness (or lack thereof) of airlines today. Some are great with kids, gives them welcome kits, chats and jokes around with them, and others have stewards that secretly hope that their airline will be the first to decide that children are not profitable since they don’t spend any money onboard, they only make life difficult for everyone else and if you are really lucky, they may throw up or wee wee on themselves during the flight and you will be the lucky one cleaning up.
Here follows some tips on the good ones:
1. Air New Zealand’s Sky couches and Jet Cadets
They have a special economy sky couch seat that can be converted into a bed for the kids while the parent’s seat is still upright.
2. Emirates Airlines Sky surfers and Fly With Me Monsters
They have collectible fuzzy toys, blankets, and Sketcher seatbelt critters that encourage little ones to comply with safety requirements. They serve special children in flight meal for kids age 2-12 and offers baby food too. Loads of children movies and television channels dedicated to kids and the kids will get colourful headphones.
3. Etihad Airways Flying Nannies
You read right! The crew has gone through special childcare training so that you can sit back and relax while your precious ones are being entertained with puppets, face painting, magic tricks, and arts and crafts for the duration of the flight. The service is free and available on all long-haul flights.
4. Asiana Airlines Magic Shows and Special Accommodations
On this flight they stage magic shows and traditional costume shows, give cookie-baking classes, and engage children with face painting and other fun activities.
5. Qantas’ Family Zones
The Family Zones at the airline’s domestic lounges are really something. Chic and colourful, these junior lounges are equipped with iMacs, Sony Playstations, children’s furniture, toys, and books.
Ahhh, I wish my flight could be one of these airlines, but unfortunately not. So, all you Mumz out there who knows what I am talking about, keep your fingers crossed (and pray for me if that’s your thing) because on Sunday I will be doing the highway to hell trip all over again.
A thought: A mother is by far the strongest living entity in this world. We are doing great and it will get better…