Friday, 6 December 2013


Yesterday I flew solo with both the kids from Sydney to the Gold Coast (about an hour and fifteen minutes for those not familiar). It's a quick trip for the weekend to meet up with Steven while he is working up here hosting a travel conference. Only three nights away - but that's better than us not seeing him at all for a couple of weeks while he's on the road.

literally climbing the walls!
Anyway, it took me about two hours to pack, including everything from the suitcase filled with clothes, nappies, toiletries, bedding, swim gear, medicines, baby foods, formulas, the car bassinet, nappy bag, Issy's toy bag for the flight, bed-time books, the pram and thank god I already had a travel cot lined up at the accommodation.

But, it dawned on me, when we were finally in the air and as Isabella was refusing to sit in her own seat with her seatbelt on, play dough splattered across the aisle, Francesca screaming for a feed and the hostess asking me for $6 for the (life-or-death) glass of white wine I had ordered to go with my lunch (how very dare she?!!), which was inconveniently tucked deep inside my wallet somewhere in the overhead compartment... that a short flight still requires almost exactly the same amount of preparation and precision as an international flight. The only difference being the requirement of a passport - and that an international trip should have a light at the end of the tunnel - being a holiday.

In fact, sometimes a short flight can be marginally harder. The planes are smaller. They are often less prepared for children traveling (no child meals available), there are no bassinets for infants, limited change tables on some flights, more turbulence, fellow passengers are less forgiving - often businessmen returning from meetings etc, the inflight entertainment is limited - especially for kids, and the flights are more likely to be experiencing delays. It's a poop-sandwich.

So, in this particular instance - if I am claiming to provide any advice whatsoever within my blogs, today it's this. Be as prepared as you can be in the lead up for a short flight, obviously - but then when the poop hits the propeller, as it inevitably does, even to the most experienced of travellers with kids, then there's only one thing left to do... allow yourself a little self compassion. Imagine your best friend is sitting next to you on that plane, whispering "breathe". Because, quite frankly, there are times when that's all you can do beyond what you're already doing. Short flights are hard. It's a military operation.

Oh, and for the record, the hostie never cam back to collect that $6 from me for the glass of wine. Sometimes they can show a little compassion which goes a long way too. Thank you Qantas.


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