Yes Ushna, you don’t understand what it is to be a parent

A mother's response to Ushna Shah who does not understand why parents bring their kids on flights

By Aliya Zuberi

KARACHI: They say being a parent is the most rewarding thing for a woman. And they’re right to a great extent. What they don’t say is that being a parent is one of the most difficult thing you will ever embark on. Your entire existence revolves around a tiny being who has no rhyme or reason for their actions. And boy do they cry. For no reason at all. And we wish people like Ushna Shah who question us on our parenting decisions would understand this.

In a recent tweet, the actor wrote, “Until one becomes a parent, one does not realize why people bring children on flights.” And then she went on to add, “I do not understand.” And it’s true. Ushna Shah isn’t a parent and she won’t understand the decisions parents make and she won’t understand the amount of times we went back and forth with our decision and still feel unsure of ourselves. I could sit here and justify the parents’ decision to take their kid on a plane ride and say. “Maybe there was a family emergency and they NEEDED to go.” But I’m not going to do that. As a parent, I don’t need to make any justifications for what I do when it comes to my child. If your concern stems from a place of concern that my child is in pain then I can assure you that you could not possibly care about my child more than I do and I would never put them in harms way. Sometimes kids cry because they they’re scared of new surroundings, sometimes they cry because they’re sleepy. Sometimes they cry for no reason at all. And most of the time, the more desperate the parent is to shush their child, the more louder they will cry.

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If my child is misbehaving on the plane ride, then I can understand why you’re a bit annoyed. It’s my job as a parent to teach my child to behave when we’re out and so if they’re bothering you, please by all means let me know! Though I should probably give you a disclaimer that, if they’re below the age of three chances are they don’t understand what manners are and will have no idea what I mean when I beg them to behave.

If your dislike stems from a place of annoyance, I’d like to remind you to be a bit more compassionate. I understand that my child must cause you a bit of discomfort but neither one of us is doing it on purpose. Unfortunately, there’s no other way for us to travel and so unless an airline arranges for child free flights or until you manage to get yourself a private jet, you’ll have to bear with my kids. After all, it’s a public space and I have paid for my right to be here. Whether you like it or not.

My parting piece of advice for you, Ushna Shah who hasn’t grasped the essence of parenting just yet, is this: sometimes parents get flustered and embarrassed when their kids are seemingly out of their control. Rather than being annoyed and judging their decisions, a smile or a supportive comment would do wonders for them in that particularly difficult moment.

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