You’ve probably heard all about the seven stages of grief (as defined by Swiss psychiatrist Dr Elizabeth Kubler-Ross) but unless you’re a parent flying with a toddler you’ve never experienced the seven stages of flying-with-a-toddler-grief. We see you, wanderlust-desperate mamas and papas of human-shaped hurricanes, and we’re here for you. This is our ode, our hat-tip if you will, to all those keen (and stubborn) parents still clutching to their travel-obsessed former selves and hopping on a plane with a toddler.
To honour your struggle, we’ve deconstructed and interpreted the various stages of this very particular grief type using the only modern communication method worthy of this level of angst: the GIF. The therapy session has started – we’ll bill you later.
The first, most disorienting stage when you face the unexpected and come up woefully short. Characterised by endless wide eye emojis….
Boarding the plane:
As the plane door shuts: “Hmm, maybe this isn’t such a good idea”
“Oh no, what have we done?!”
The second stage. By now, the shock has given way to an overwhelming sense of stubbornness. Mind over matter; you can do this. This is fine, everything is fine.
Except now it’s [insert any meal] time…
I can totally watch a movie still, right?
Or have a drink.
Time for a good restorative snooze…
It’s a natural part of the grieving process but best kept on the inside. Your anger, and the third stage, will most likely peak during lap 587 of the aisle to high five every. damn. passenger. Only cute the first few times.
Just go the eff to sleep.
You aren't the only one with anger though. Your toddler’s anger is boundless, irrational and unpredictable. Just like at home, except now you are trapped in a metal tube, 30,000 feet above the earth.
It’s deal time. Take the power back!
I’m the boss, baby.
From irrational bargaining with a higher (or lower) power to equally irrational bargaining with your toddler, you’d trade anything and anyone (careful, blessed child of mine) for things to go back to how they used to be:
Generally experienced anywhere between hours 6-11 of a long haul flight. All hope has been abandoned, along with chance that your toddler is a good flyer or will nap ever again.
The second last stage. You’ve only got a few more hours. You’re clutching at straws. Similar to bargaining but less active. Like a fledgling bird, learning to fly, you’re testing out new ways to manage the stress.
1. Just giving in and letting your toddler go at it.
2. Drowning your sorrows.
3. *Flips table*
The final stage of flying with a toddler. You’ve landed and things feel better. That wasn’t so bad. There are so many emotions right now… We made it
This is life now.
Now the ACTUAL holiday begins...