One thing about being a mother is that now my bullshit indicator is permanently set to high. I just don’t have time to listen to it and I’m not scared to walk away from the perpetrators.
It’s honed well. If I pick up the phone and hear a call centre in the background; I hang up. I don’t need PPI, accident claims, life insurance, or any new products American Express happen to be offering.
If I see someone waving a clipboard with an earnest smile while I’m pushing my buggy; I cross the road. I give money to charity and commend you for your passion, but I just don’t have the time mate.
And, finally, (and the inspiration for this post) if I’m getting on a plane with my baby I can weed out exactly who I don’t want to be anywhere near. This will come as a shock to those without babies, I can imagine the shock: “what, you mean YOU don’t want to sit with us?! But we don’t want to sit with YOU!” Yup, turns out we mums (and dads) also have several people we REALLY don’t want near our baby during a flight.
1: The disgruntled businessman. This guy ignores us as soon as we approach and makes no effort to help with bags. Baby is smiling and waving and clapping and still this shithead refuses to even raise a fucking smile. He motions to the air hostess that he would like to move AWAY FROM THE BABY and is forever pissed off that he hasn’t been accommodated in first class. This guy will ignore you to the point of awkwardness, but will finally look over when the baby decides to pull off your breast and look around.
2. The snarky middle England, middle aged couple.
She’s decked out in M&S’s finest and he’s wearing those trousers that turn into shorts. This pair, like the businessman, will ignore you but will talk among themselves about you and your baby. You won’t hear all of it but you catch the disapproving glances when she throws her rattle on the floor for the twentieth time and when you feed without covering. As soon as your baby makes any noise whatsoever you’ll be treated to more eye rolls and grumbles. They’ll also be arseholes to the cabin crew.
The inspiration for this post and a bit unfair to include as generally these are friendly people who are completely unaware of the bullshit they are spouting. Worse of it is, we’ve all been this person, maybe.
But, still. Nothing will sink my heart harder than this over-friendly, annoying lot. They have anecdotes about everything and anything. They say things like “I’ve been awake for ten hours!!” And they are saying it because they think it’s a lot. They will tell you story after boring story about the last three festivals they’ve been to and will even continue once you’ve shut your eyes. They say things like “the coach back to mine is £5, but I’m going to hitchhike for the experience”. Fuck off. They will, just as your baby is trying to sleep, launch into an anecdote about how babies go to sleep in Nepal. But mostly, this person will remind you how old you are, and how different you are now. And that is too much for any flight.
Normally an old woman. In fact, always a woman. I’ve had seventeen babies and I can tell you: You’re settling the baby wrong, she isn’t hungry, she’s definitely hungry, aww is mummy starving you? She’s teething, oh what a horrible cough! She wants to sit up, she wants to lie down, she needs a brush through that hair, you need to cut her nails, you need to bite her nails, you should give her tea, ooh some cooled boiled water for that eye!
FUCK OFF. JUST FUCK OFF.
6. The lads.
The drinking, the swearing, the loudness. No, just no. But then one of them will spot you and be super polite and helpful and you’ll feel bad for inwardly complaining.
7. The hungover teens.
You hear it as you come up the aisle. “Oh GOD a BABY”. For the whole flight they ignore you, much like the businessman, only they pepper their obvious disproval with loud “URGHs” and you can see them posting about you on Facebook and sending snapchats of their sad face with you in the background before the plane takes off.
That’s my list, although it’s not exhaustive… Who are your worst nightmares when travelling?