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Jennifer Fulwiler's plea for travellers to be more tolerant of fussy babies on airplanes has struck a chord with TikTok users.
The Texas comedian and mother of six has earned more than 87,000 views and counting for creating a TikTok video addressing why mothers shouldn't feel ashamed of bringing their babies into public spaces.
"If you're flying with young children this summer and they become noisy, please take a minute to say to say to the other passengers around you, 'I am so sorry that this is not something you are used to,'" Fulwiler began.
Fulwiler continued by noting that crying children are often seen as a hassle or as an inconvenience to people, rather than a normal part of the child rearing experience.
"You know, in a lot of cultures, the sound of fussing babies is seen as a sign of abundance and God's blessing. Instead, our dumb, post-modern culture sees babies as a burden," the comedian continued. "We expect women not to bring their babies into public spaces like restaurants, churches, or planes — or to get them to behave perfectly when they do."
According to Fulwiler, there has been a "sad" shift that puts "insanely unreasonable" expectations on mothers of young children to keep children silent and unnoticeable.
"A truly thriving culture would welcome those babies and all the inconveniences that come with them, and see their upbringing as something the entire community should joyfully support," she explained. "So if my babies start melting down on this flight, please know that I am way more stressed than you are, and maybe just give me a kind smile that says 'Hey girl, you're doing a great job, your babies are welcome on this flight, and we are all in this together."
Fulwiler's video was quickly met with support from parents who found her remarks painfully relatable.
"Thank you! I get tired of the stink eye people give me when I have to take a fussy baby out of mass," one person commented. "Do they expect families to just stay away from the public until their kids are 18?"
"Honestly, when we first traveled with our young one, we encountered so many people who gave us that warm fuzzy empathetic smile," another parent chimed in. "It meant the world to us!"
"Thank you so much for sharing this! It's so refreshing to hear a mom stand up to this issue. Babies are literally a part of life," another viewer wrote. "I'll never understand people who think that someone else's crying baby is an inconvenience. You've got to remind people that the world doesn't revolve around them."
"Yes! The eye-rolls I received from my fellow passengers when bringing a baby (or 2) on a plane used to intimidate me," added someone else. "After a few flights, I realized my kids were often better behaved than the adults so I stopped letting it bother me."
In an interview with Good Morning America, Fulwiler revealed a bad experience with a fellow passenger on a flight was part of the inspiration behind her now viral video.
"I will never forget I was on a flight from Austin to Atlanta and I was doing everything I could to get them to behave but the baby was crying and the 2-year-old didn't want to sit still," she explained. "Many of the passengers on the flight were very gracious and sweet but there was one woman who just glared at me like I never should have left the house."
The reaction and the stress of trying to get her children to be quiet was so overwhelming that she became emotional.
"I remember I started crying on that flight," she continued. "[Her glare] just added to the stress and I just felt like I should have stayed home. I shouldn't have done this ... even though [being on the flight] was the right thing to do."
She then explained that on a recent flight to Charleston, S.C, without her kids, she was seated near a crying infant.
"My first reaction was to be annoyed but I caught myself and thought of the expression, be the change you want to see in the world," she said. "I thought this is what it looks like to build up women, me just giving that mom a smile and accepting this inconvenience of the baby crying with grace and with love towards that mom, who is doing nothing wrong."