Sorry for the Dirty Looks, Traveling Moms and Dads

Travel Blog  •  Eva Holland  •  07.01.09 | 3:33 PM ET

Here’s one that will likely ring true for most traveling parents: In the New York Times, Judith Warner’s latest post addresses “the petty humiliations of motherhood.” She writes:

You know what I mean: the nasty little looks, tones of voice, gestures, subtle and not-so-subtle criticism and even insults that so often seem to come the way of mothers. Harsh words delivered in all apparent innocence, innocuous-seeming observations made in a tone that cuts to the bone, odd little interactions, generally, that manage to make a mother feel condemned in the court of world opinion.

I did indeed know what she was talking about—I’ve certainly shot my fair share of icy “You’re a terrible mother” stares at the parents of seat-kicking toddlers on airplanes. Warner’s post was a healthy reminder to rein those urges in.

Eva Holland is co-editor of World Hum. She is a former associate editor at Up Here and Up Here Business magazines, and a contributor to Vela. She's based in Canada's Yukon territory.

4 Comments for Sorry for the Dirty Looks, Traveling Moms and Dads

Grizzly Bear Mom 07.01.09 | 5:50 PM ET

The mom should have complained to the superivsor of the person who said that the cake was supposed to be baked in a different pan. 

Additionally the “breast is best lady” should have been asked if the child should have been starved.

Moms need to learn not to put up with this abuse. 

20 years ago my sisters’ kids school used passwords to allow others to take your kid home.  Who else but my intimate would know our password is “Support hose.”  It’s sad the schools are so afraid of kidnappng they have to be so restrictive.   

It’s much easier to criticize than build, which is what mothers have signed up for a lifetime of.  All reasonable people know that children can be black holes of emotional and energy needs and sympathize.  Thats why I see my job of Auntie-At-Large as augmenting moms who bear the brunt of the work.  I hope those stressed moms find supportive networks of friends that help them in their parenting roles.  Lots of people genuinely love little kids.

Jennifer 07.02.09 | 8:01 AM ET

I think most people are patient and sympathetic to children kicking the backs of their seat on a flight, to a point!  One or two kicks here and there is one thing, but when you are getting steady kicks throughout the flight and the parents act oblivious, seemingly off in La La land, that’s when I want to turn around and chew them out.  Do some parents actually think that it’s okay for this to happen throughout an entire flight?  You see those looks sometimes like, “what, it’s a child, what do you expect?”  I expect you to discipline your child, that’s what!

Carolina 07.03.09 | 2:24 AM ET

Oh, this can lead to the nobody-wants-to-sit-next-to-the-baby on the plane discussion. As a mom, I’m aware of the looks and also of how desperately I have to work at keeping my kid quiet and not disruptive on a plane. But the funny thing is that whenever I’m on a plane, it’s usually not the kids that I find are behaving most obnoxiously. It’s usually adults traveling without kids that behave badly. Too bad their moms aren’t there so I can give them dirty looks. Sigh.

Ling 07.03.09 | 10:07 AM ET

Kids are going to be kids. You can’t expect them to be on their best behavior under the stress of traveling. And you simply can’t blame the parents either. If it bothers people that much, maybe they can fork out the dough, charter a private plane and enjoy the peace.

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