There is snot on my jumper sleeve. I’ve got vegemite streaks in my hair. Half a cookie is encrusted into my new dress. My mascara is mostly under my eyes and not even in a rock n roll kind of way. My husband and I are pretending we love each other in the way that you do when 260 other people are listening in on your mid-air, children induced argument. I’m pretty sure there is vomit on my shoulder where the baby is casually snoozing, blissfully unaware of the chaos he’s caused during his 45 minute scream fest from take-off. We have iPads, stickers, magnetic books, colouring books, bottles, pacifiers, blankets, snuggle toys, rattles, endless food options and clearly none of them are what my biggest adventurer(4yrs old) is looking for. I stifle a sigh, dig my hand into the carryon bag as far as I can and pray that whatever I pull out will avoid the ensuing meltdown.
Welcome to flying with kids. Not glamorous at all. I think I should just repeat that so you get any illusions out of your head: IT IS NOT GLAMOUROUS AT ALL.
We’ve flown all different airlines and all different classes with the kids. I remember one particular family trip to Hawaii we decided to fly Business Class as a treat. We just had the one child who was under 2yrs old at the time so we only needed to book two full fares. Perfect we thought. We’ll load him into the bassinet and he’ll sleep most of the way. We can then sit back, catch up on the latest release movies and maybe even enjoy a sneaky glass of champagne (c’mon, it was a vacation after all!). I’d made the rookie mistake of thinking that because I’d booked us fancy tickets; I’d also booked in the fancy-perfectly-well-behaved baby for the trip as well. Not so much. He didn’t sleep. He didn’t actually even fit in the bassinet and sadly there was no champagne!
So why travel with kids I hear you say?
It’s an adventure. Without the bad or difficult bits, I wouldn’t get the incredible lifelong memories and experiences that come with travelling as a family. I do it because I love to explore, escape and grow. I do it so that my children can experience the world and be better for it. Quite simply I do it for the smile it puts on my boys faces and the wild excitement in their eyes when we embark on a new adventure.