‘Hi, nice flight attendant. Yes, there’s 7 of us. We’re in row 37. Keep walking kiddos, keep going. Nope, keep going. Yes, hi strangers. Yup, they’re all ours.’

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“I know a lot of my friends are flying during this holiday season with their kiddos, so I wanted to offer some comedic relief from a mom who has been there. There isn’t any parenting experience that’s more stressful than flying. The whole trip is total anxiety. We all deserve a vacation once we are done!

So here you go: The inside of a mom’s mind while flying with children!

THE MORNING OF:

Alright I’m up an extra hour before I need to be because I have to triple check all of the suitcases and carry-on bags. Do I need their birth certificates? I should probably pack those. I’ve already done this before and no one ever asked for them but better to be safe than sorry, right? The last thing I need is to be stuck with TSA trying to prove that all of them are indeed mine or that they are the ages I say they are. Where are those things again? Oh yes, in the lockbox. Okay, one…two….three…four…five. Got them.

Speaking of TSA, I wonder if they will let us each carry one of the kids or if they’re going to make the kids walk through the detectors. If they walk through the detectors then I better have them wear shoes they can easily take off. Flip flops? But walking around the airport in flip flops with 3 and 4-year-olds is an absolute nightmare. I guess I’ll risk the extra time needed to put sneakers back on.

Alright. Movies. So we have Moana, Secret Life of Pets, Coco, and Sing. But what if none of those are good enough? I can’t risk one freaking out that we don’t have the ONE movie they wanted to watch. Ahh, oh well. I don’t think I have time to download more.

I grabbed each of their favorite stuffed animals, a few of their favorite toys, and I packed some dollar store junk they’ve never seen to hopefully keep their attention for at least a little while. I guarantee this only works for an hour tops but that buys me an hour to think of other things to do. Okay now we need snacks, water bottles to fill up there, and medicine in case one of them gets sick or has a headache…check, check, check. Oh, and a change of clothes for each. You just never know. Speaking of, I should probably throw a change of clothes for myself in my bag because again…you just never know.

Do we bring the stroller? Yes! Why am I even asking myself that? Duh, we bring the stroller. I’m not carrying around all of their carry-on bags once they get sick of holding them. It’ll be really awesome for the first 10 minutes for them, but those things are inevitably going to be tossed aside. Absolutely yes to the stroller.

Let’s get their jackets and shoes all lined up in a row so we can just wake them up and swoop them straight out the door. Alright, time to wake up the kids…

GETTING OUT THE DOOR:

The drive to the airport is about 28 minutes without traffic. We shouldn’t hit traffic at 6 a.m. right? Do people go to work that early? When is rush hour traffic considered? Uhhh, maybe we should have left a half hour ago…

Calm down, calm down. It’s going to be fine. This is going to be fine. All good there, mama bear. Save the anxiety for the actual airplane.

AT THE AIRPORT:

Molly Schultz/Tried & True Mama

Crap there’s a lot of people here. Do this many people seriously fly out this early? Where could they all be going? I’ll send my husband to drop off the bags at baggage check. I’ll sit here with the kids. Okay quick head count…yup, got all five. They’re already whining? Please stop whining. We just got here. Redirect. Redirect. Thank God for snacks.

That guy over there staring at us does not look kid-friendly at all. Oh look, those people have kids with them. Good to know we’re not the only crazy people on the planet today. Oh that man looks very business professional. I really hope he’s not the one sitting in front of us as my kids kick his seat on accident for the 14th time.

Is everyone staring at us as they walk by or is that just my paranoia? Oh good, there’s my husband. Let’s hit up this TSA and hope this is as painless as possible.

Tickets, licenses, birth certificates…make them as accessible as possible. That pocket right there in my purse looks like a great accessible spot. Okay, grab two kids by the hands and start the trek over there.

Molly Schultz/Tried & True Mama

Smile and nod at the TSA agent. Oh right, you need our boarding passes and licenses. Crap where did I put those again? Don’t panic, don’t panic. You just had them. Oh right, right here in this pocket. Smile and nod, smile and nod. Wait…head count again – one, two, three, four, five. You’re good mama, they’re all here.

Oh, you didn’t need the birth certificates after all? That’s fine. Now I just have to make sure not to lose those during this trip. *insert nervous laugh*

Okay let’s just throw ALL of these bags on the conveyer belt. Grab some bins. Empty pockets. It’s okay kids just hold on one second. Is everyone staring at me? Am I going fast enough? Am I slowing down this whole production? Of course I am. Calm down, calm down. You’re doing the best you can. I think…

Oh thank you kind TSA sir for not making the kids take off their shoes. You have no idea how many minutes you just saved us. Okay kids, one by one through the little detector. Yup, just walk right through that one. No, that one. Yeah, that one right there that the man is standing in. Go ahead, it’s okay! Yes hunny, you follow your sister. Okay and then you. And you. And you. My turn. Dad’s turn.

Now grab all of this stuff as fast as you can out of these bins. Ahhh there’s so much stuff and the woman behind me is waiting for me to move so she can grab hers. Shoes on, jackets on, backpacks on. Let’s go guys, we can probably move a little bit faster. Alright, I think we grabbed everything. Do we have everything? Did anything get flagged for search? Nope. Good! Time to go.

Phew. Now that we got through the first stressful part…

We are at gate A68. Where is A68? Are you serious…it’s all the way down there? At least they have the moving walkways. This could be fun. Or a total disaster. I guess we will find out.

Alright, gate A68. Well, there’s definitely not enough seats for us all to sit together. Well maybe there are, but there’s also a LOT of people around. We just need a quiet little corner. Are there any other gates around here that have empty seats? Oh good, A66 does right over there. We have about 30 minutes before we board this flight.

25 MINUTES LATER:

Does anyone have to go to the bathroom? Mmmhhhmmm, sure you don’t. Let’s just go try anyway. Yeah, let’s just try. You’re definitely going to the bathroom before we get on this plane.

That’s our boarding call. Do we board now or wait to be the last on the plane? I read an article that said we should be the last ones on the plane so the kids aren’t cooped up too long on an airplane that isn’t moving. But we have a crap ton of bags! So screw the article, I’m getting my overhead bin space. Let’s go guys!

Oh right, boarding tickets. Craaaap where was that super accessible spot again? Why do I always do this to myself? Right there. They’re right there.

ON THE PLANE:

This tunnel always weirds me out. No, let’s not yell kids. It’s not an echo chamber to test. Hiiiii nice flight attendant. Yes, there’s 7 of us. We’re in row 37. Keep walking kiddos, keep going. Nope, keep going. That’s not it either hunny. Keep going, we’re almost there. Yes, hi nice strangers. Yupp, they’re all ours. Hi to you too, nice lady. No eye contact from the gentleman to our left, so let’s hope he likes kids.

Molly Schultz/Tried & True Mama

Row 37. Okay you pile in on this side and that side. Please let’s not fight over the window seat. Sister can have it for the first little bit and then we will switch, I promise.

Okay, settle, settle. Buckle in your seat belts. Here’s a coloring book, a thing of snacks, and your water bottles. OH SHOOT, we forgot to buy a bottle of water to split between these bottles. Do I ask the flight attendant for water? She looks busy. Uhhh we will just make due for a little while, I guess?

Molly Schultz/Tried & True Mama

Time for take-off, finally.

Please don’t kick your seat in front of you.

Yes, you can have another snack.

No, we are not going to ask those people if they have a puppy.

Molly Schultz/Tried & True Mama

Are my children being really loud to make up for this loud airplane noise? Or are they just always this loud?

Yes, you can change the movie for the 8th time.

No, you cannot have any of the soda they are serving.

Hi again kind lady on your way to the bathroom.

Yes the clouds do look fluffy and yes I do think the angels love sleeping on them.

I wonder what the pilots are talking about too, sweetie.

Lord have mercy please stop reaching your hands through the seats to touch the people behind you.

Do they serve wine on this plane? How strung out and stressed out do I have to act in order to get that for free, do you think?

Molly Schultz/Tried & True Mama

AFTER THE FLIGHT:

Ugh, I need a vacation by myself to a remote island.”

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Molly Schultz of Tried and True MamaSubmit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.

Read more from Molly:

‘It’s okay Molz, you got this!’ My DAD was in the delivery room when I birthed my first child.

‘Whenever friends asks me to do something, I respond with, ‘Let me ask my husband first.’

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