Let’s start by stating the obvious: no one—and I mean no one—likes listening to crying babies on airplanes. And every so often (admittedly more often lately) someone goes viral with a TikTok or social media post about how we need adults-only flights.
Earlier this month, @balubrigada posted a video on TikTok in which a baby appeared to be crying for the entire 29-hour flight. I say “appeared to be” because this is a 26-second TikTok video so no one knows for sure. (Personally, I find the story a bit sus.)
Hey babe, how was your flight?♬ original sound – Balu Brigada
Shortly after the video was posted, comments poured in about the need for kid-free flights. And just as quickly came the backlash for the TikTokker’s insensitivity to the crying baby and their parents.
Sigh… here we are again.
A similar story happened just a few months ago when a mom went viral for her clapback to calls for kid-free flights.
TikTokker Lisa P. calls out rants against babies crying on planes for “playing the victim in the situation instead of having compassion and empathy.”
“Yes, hearing a baby scream for three hours is awful,” Lisa P. continues. “But leading with kindness and empathy is really gonna go a long way when you’re in public spaces. Because in public spaces, kids exist. And sometimes they cry, and we can’t really do much about it. And honestly, the parents are more stressed about it than you are.”
You know what I find even more annoying than crying babies? This “debate” about whether babies and kids should be allowed on airplanes.
Here’s how this cycle goes: someone posts a TikTok of a screaming baby on an airplane, comments flood in applauding and criticizing the idea of adults-only flights, and everyone gets heated and judgey. Rinse and repeat.
Cue another sigh…
Yes, crying babies are stressful and perhaps even annoying. But you know what I find even more annoying than crying babies? This “debate” about whether babies and kids should be allowed on airplanes.
Let’s set aside the troubling way that social media is filled with videos of people sharing the challenging, less-than-perfect or downright embarrassing moments in other people’s lives for their own likes and shares. Babies crying on planes (and in any public place for that matter) is nothing new. Yet somehow these videos imply that the poster had to endure the seven rings of hell because they have been subjected to the sounds of a baby screaming. These TikTok videos demanding kid-free flights to spare them the “distress” of crying babies on airplanes doesn’t help anyone.
Believe me, I understand just how stressful listening to a baby cry is. Decades ago, before I had kids, I might have cringed at the sound of a baby or toddler screaming (and maybe silently judge the baby’s parents). To all those parents I might have silently judged, to all the parents of babies screaming on airplanes, I’m sorry.
Nowadays when I hear a baby crying on an airplane, my thoughts go something like this:
Oh, those poor parents.
I bet they’re sweating.
I remember those days.
That poor baby.
Those poor parents.
[Insert earphones and promptly tune out said crying baby.]
It is normal to be stressed and annoyed when you are on a plane (or other public place) with a screaming baby. Those feelings are understandable. But how you react to those feelings is what matters. You can respond with empathy and kindness. You can even respond by putting on your headphones and ignoring it. Or you can respond by taking a video and sharing it for all the world to see with an “adults-only flights” plea, making parents feel judged and creating yet another “us vs. them” mentality.
It is your choice.
Here is the hard truth: The world is noisy. It is chaotic. It is messy and loud and sweaty. The world comes with crying babies and barking dogs and the high-pitched buzz of leaf blowers. The world also comes with giggly toddlers and snuggly puppies and trees that turn a brilliant bright red in October. This is the world we live in. Buckle up and enjoy the flight.
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