Traveling with young kids isn’t easy. Mom blogger Stephanie Hollifield knows that all too well—so when a fellow passenger on a recent flight judged her for her daughter’s behavior, she decided to write an open letter to the man explaining her struggle.
“I first noticed you when you sighed loudly as you laid eyes on me and my toddler boarding the plane,” she wrote on Facebook on Sunday. “From the over dramatic huffs and puffs you let out, it was clear that you were annoyed by our very presence… my little girl was laughing and playing, obviously too loud for your liking.”
Hollifield, who writes for the blog Momstrosity, explains that not only was it her first time flying with a child, but her daughter Haley was overly tired and fussy and “the kicking and screaming tantrums came on fast.”
Fortunately, one of the flight attendants was able to calm the toddler down, but not before Hollifield felt the irritation from her seatmate.
“I apologized to everyone around me. I almost started crying myself,” she says. “I was feeling shame and guilt for not being able to control my own child.”
To the Gentleman on Flight 1451,I first noticed you when you sighed loudly as you laid eyes on me and my toddler…
The 33-year-old goes on to explain to the cranky man that “we were doing our best, and that’s as great as it gets. The problem wasn’t with us, it was with you.”
Hollifield concludes her letter with some advice for anyone who may feel annoyed by kids on flights.
“I get it, kids can be a nuisance, but next time you are forced to be near one, I hope that you will be more like the flight attendant. I hope that instead of frustration and annoyance, you feel hope and goodness,” she says, adding that “if you can’t muster up a smile and a hello, then simple silence will do just fine.”