It probably goes without saying that traveling with kids, particularly very young children, is anything but a walk in the park. Watching Hilary Duff travel on an airplane with her baby is almost triggering to those of us who have also traveled on airplanes with babies, because very very rarely is it not a high-stress situation.
Hilary Duff was recently vacationing in Hawaii with her husband, Matthew Koma, and her kids Luca, 10, and daughters Banks, 3, and 12-month-old Mae. And because the plane ride was longer than oh, say, five minutes—it was stressful. VERY stressful.
"Guys, I've never been more embarrassed in my entire life than being on a plane with MaeMae," Hilary said on her Instagram Story earlier this week. "She was the naughtiest baby—and before I hear all the comments, about like, 'Oh, it's her ears or her teeth.' No. Nope. She was perfectly fine. But she has found this new level of volume when she screams."
Now sure, airplanes are probably an overwhelming experience for tiny humans. The noise, the aircraft itself, all of the different people, etc. And that is totally understandable. But when your baby begins to scream on an airplane, everyone's fight-or-flight instinct kicks in.
"It's so loud and it goes on for so long and it's truly wild, like a caged animal," she continued. "And it happened for probably four out of the five and a half hours it takes to fly to Hawaii from L.A. It was unhinged. We were freaking out. There was nothing we could do. Everyone hated us for sure."
Duff says little MaeMae is "super attached" to her mama right now, so she held her basically the whole time for both flights to and from the Aloha state.
The most turbulent flight I've ever been on occurred when I was holding my 18-month-old daughter on my lap during her first plane ride five years ago. It was truly a treacherous flight—I'm not a nervous flier at all and this one had me sweating bullets. My daughter was overstimulated and overwhelmed, and she made her feelings known. When you're in that position and the screaming child is your child, it's easy to panic. It's understandable to feel like you're on display and everyone hates you. I get it.
"She was so loud, the man sitting across the aisle from me, I was like, 'I'm so sorry. I feel awful. There's nothing we can do. I feel so bad. I'm so sorry.'" Duff said. "He wouldn't even look at me, you guys, he just went like this [loudly sighs]. God, I'm never going to unsee it. It was horrifying."
Here's the thing, though. We need to remember (this goes for everyone, not just anxiety-ridden mamas and daddies) that we are all part of a society. And when we choose to travel on a sky bus with dozens and dozens of other people, we can't control what those people do. Babies, believe it or not, are part of our society too. They cannot regulate their emotions or meet their own needs, so it's actually on all of us adults to channel our own coping skills (aka suck it up and deal) when the tiniest among us is having a rough time on an airplane. Parents of the screaming kiddo already feel bad enough as it is. We don't need to make them feel worse.
Last year, Mandy Moore documented her first time traveling with her baby son, Gus. Everything that could possibly go wrong did go wrong. Canceled flights, overbooked trains, a missing car seat—you name it.
It just goes to show that no matter what, the stressful experience of traveling with kids is a universal one!