The other day at kindy I met a mum who, through the course of our usual morning “drop-off” chitchat, revealed she was a pilot. And not just any old pilot – we’re talking 767s.
I nearly threw myself at her feet.
Not just because she is juggling an amazing career with motherhood (that in itself is probably a more worthy post than this one, so I will get to that soon). But because when it comes to flying, my name is Nervous Nelly.
I’m proud to say my fear has never stopped me boarding a plane. I’ve been on big planes, small planes and there’s even been a micro-light (to impress Busy-And-Important-Husband who I was dating at the time). There is also the yearly flight to Ireland to visit Busy-And-Important-Husband’s family.
So, in my heart of hearts I must know it’s safe – otherwise I wouldn’t keep doing it. I know the statistics and that the most dangerous thing is the taxi drive to the airport.
But up in my head it remains my one irrational fear. Some people have spiders, others have snakes – I have flying,
My ordeal starts on the ground before I even step on a plane. In my highly imaginative (well, it’s better than saying neurotic) mind I’ve experienced severe turbulence, mechanical malfunctions and crazy people opening the door at 30,000 feet. Let me reiterate – all in my mind (duh, I hear you say).
When I am in the air, I count every second of every minute, feel every bump of every air pocket and study the face of every member of the flight crew for reassurance (and god forbid if one of them starts to frown because their undies are too tight).
How do I manage my thoughts? According to my husband, not very well. My pre-flight neurosis is known to take the gloss off what should be the exciting build-up to a holiday. Superstition helps – I kiss walls, ask people to say the words “you’ll be fine” and carry trinkets and charms. Alcohol is even better.
I also stalk people who work in aviation for reassurance, which brings me back to our Pilot Mum, who will probably soon regret ever meeting me.
I am in awe of the Pilot Mum – her ability to not only fly 767s, but also to work in an incredibly male dominated industry while being a wonderful mother (and trust me, she is wonderful…I’ve seen her in action).
Her story must be far more interesting (and stable) than mine, so meeting her has given me the idea to start a special column for this blog – Amazing Mums. I’m going to approach our Pilot Mum to see if she will be the first to give us an insight into her life.
She’ll probably say no, I don’t blame her. I’d be a bit wary of me also. I’ll keep you posted…