Singapore stewardess comforts mum with crying toddler, "You did a great job."
Singapore stewardess comforts mum, "I felt tears rushing to my eyes cos as a mother myself, I knew exactly how she felt..."
I remember those days all too well. When my youngest was over 2, and technically past the 'infant' stage, it got terrifying to travel by plane with her.
Airline safety guidelines clearly stipulate that non-infants have to be buckled up in their seats during take-off and landing.
My daughter however, was susceptible to nasty ear ache during landing time, so she would insist that I carry her, and absolutely refuse to be buckled up in her seat. The result was always the worst tantrum imaginable.
Unable to watch my princess go through hell, I would sneakily unbuckle and put her on my lap, hoping that the stewardess wouldn't notice - only to be caught every single time!
For years, the last half hour of our air travel was guaranteed to end horribly, with the little one crying her lungs out, and me being greeted with stares- curious, glassy, sympathetic stares- all around.
My older daughter would pretend she wasn't part of the family, often exclaiming, "This is sooo embarrassing!", while in my mind I kept praying and reminding myself, "This too shall pass..."
And so, when I read this air stewardess's account of a mum breaking down in tears on a flight recently, it instantly struck a chord...
Singapore Airlines stewardess Jolene Shen recently shared her experience on Facebook, and it reminds us how hard and stressful it can get when travelling with a young child, especially in a constrained environment like the aeroplane, where there is just no escape until the plane lands!
Jolene writes, "Yesterday, upon landing, there was a toddler of 19 months squirming in her mothers' lap and as she was buckled up for landing , she began to cry n scream in earnest."
The toddler seemed to be extremely disturbed, "She screamed and buckled n fidget throughout the 20 minutes of landing time, big fat tears rolling down her face. Pushing and trying to slip the infant seat belt down her legs, looking for freedom."
The poor mother on her part tried her best to pacify the child, "The mother, a petite lady who looked like she's in her 30s, tried her best to hold on to the little squirming, screaming bundle, consoling her child and managed to time n again put the seatbelt back on her childs' waist."
Apparently, never once did this mum lose her cool, or scold the baby, "She held her child gently, had her head to her childs' and whispered softly the whole time. But the child was beyond consoling. She wanted to be freed."
Jolene felt sorry for the mum and baby, and wished she could help, but she was all too helpless, "At this moment, all the passengers around them are taking deep breaths of air for patience and some gave the mother empathetic glances. I was clucking n cooing trying to distract the child at where I was seated but no, she wasn't buying that."
She wondered how the mum could be so patient and kind even in those trying circumstances, "I was admiring the mothers' patience cos if it was me, I would have smacked maximus right across the bum. "
And that's when she noticed how stressed out the poor mum was, "Then I realised, that mother was crying. Silent tears of helplessness as she can only watch her child cry in distress. My heart broke that instant."
"I can only hope that our gate will not be too far away."
Finally when the plane landed, Jolene felt that this mummy deserved a pat on her back, for being patient, for being kind and for not losing her cool, "Chocks on, seat belt sign went off. I went to the mother, rubbed her arms and told her, "You did a great job.""
The stressed out mum could not hold back her feelings any longer, and burst into tears, "She began crying in earnest because of my words and/or from the relief that the flight was over. She stood up, holding her child close to her n sobbed into her child's shoulders."
Jolene was overwhelmed with emotions, being a mum herself, "I felt tears rushing to my eyes cos as a mother myself, I knew exactly how she felt. I hid behind the curtain, composed myself and went back to the mother to tell her what a good job she had done."
"I'm thankful that my pax yesterday were all extremely understanding. No one berated her for not being able to control her child. No one gave her dirty looks."
It's so nice to see an air stewardess going beyond her call of duty and comforting a tired, worried mum. You did a great job, too, Jolene! :)
Finally, Jolene has this advice for people who get irritated by crying children on aeroplanes, "People need to know that it's not easy to travel alone with young children. Please give them more support the next time you see a mother struggling with a child."
"Be it a kind word of encouragement, or offering to hold the child for a few moments while the mother has her meal, would be a great help to the mother."
Our thoughts, exactly.