Poopmageddon At 15,000 Feet (Every Parent’s Worst Nightmare)


PoopageddonWhen you have children you deal with a lot of poop, and the occasional poopmageddon or pooptastrophy if you will. 

Let’s face it: as parents of small children, we talk about poop a lot. 

We smell it, we examine it, we clean it up, and unfortunately we sometimes…touch it.

So my family and I recently went to an out-of-state wedding. Two flights to get there and two flights back with a 14-month-old, a 3-year-old, and two seniors. My husband was a rock star. I was pretty awesome too. Everything was going pretty well. We were holding it together. Almost home. 

And then it happened….


So let me back up for a sec and just explain how we got there.

On flight #1 of our 2 leg journey home, the pilot comes on and says, 

  “They are diverting us to a more southern route to avoid the storm. We are ahead of schedule so we should land close to on time.”

I’m slightly stressed because our layover in Houston is under an hour and it is a very large airport. My husband validates this by saying,

“I think I booked the flights in the mind set of business travel vs. kid travel, but we will be ok.”

Umm ok…. We will be ok.  

Kids are tired from long nights and lack of naps. I’m tired too…well, because I’m a mom. So let’s just get home already.

Then the pilot comes on again and says,

“Due to weather, we are in a holding pattern for about 20 minutes.”

Well, there goes being on time. We quickly learn that quite a few people in our area are on our next flight as well and also feeling slightly stressed. We bond. 

The flight attendant comes over the loud speaker and asks passengers to stay seated so those with connecting flights can get off first. Yeah that will happen (spoiler alert, it doesn’t happen). 

We land as our next flight begins to board and we taxi forever to a gate. 

Then we discover we are about a half mile from our next gate. (If you have been to the airport in Houston you know I’m not exaggerating).

My husband decides – with our 14-month-old strapped to his body in the 360 Ergo – he is going to run and try and get them to hold the plane. (Shout out to Ergo baby carriers we love you!)

I look over and my 3-year-old has just fallen asleep. Yay for toddler timing. 

I say “buddy I need you to walk.” Nope, not having it. So I pick up the 30 pound half-asleep kid and walk as fast as I can. The seniors get on the golf cart thing, which doesn’t move because “he has to make sure there are no other disabled people on the plane.” YIKES.

The amazing race has nothing on us.


At one point I stop to catch my breath and see if the 3-year-old can walk. Nope, he’s not having it. 

The other passengers (our new travel family…I told you we bonded right?) cheer me on. As they hurry past me they say,

“We will tell them you are on your way.”

I look behind, no golf cart in sight. I keep going.

When I finally reach the gate, people are still getting on! 

My husband had convinced them to reopen the door because they were still fueling and the catering door was open! About 12 people are able to get on (see, rockstar). He explains his disabled parents are on their way on a cart and begs. The female gate agent isn’t having it and says,

“I have to close the door. They better hurry.”

Seniors pull up just in time! She closes the door behind them as another group arrives and is rejected.  

We breathe, we made it. 

I hurt and I’m sweaty but I’m going home. 

They hurry us to our seats saying we need to take off before this storm grounds us. We get situated.  Seatbelts on. Plane taxiing. And the 3-year-old starts moaning, eyes wide.

“What’s wrong buddy?”

“My tummy hurts. I have to go!”


“It’s ok buddy, you are wearing a pull up just in case. So try and hold it. But if you can’t, it’s ok. We will go as soon as the seat belt sign goes off.”

A few more periodic bouncing, and “my tummy hurts,” and what looks like pushing, big eyes…. And then the smell.

OMG does it smell. 

The people behind us are holding their noses. We apologize. We explain we ran with no time to stop for a potty. 

They are kind saying they get it they have kids (mom sisterhood, phew).

My son seems relieved. He is now laying on me the best he can with a seatbelt on. 

We are all trying to survive the smell.

It is taking forever for the seatbelt sign to go off. So my husband decides it’s just time. Someone else already got up after all. 

I’m in the middle seat. My son has fallen asleep so I wake him and pick him up to hand to my husband. 

As I do…. I see it…. Poopmageddon.

Poop everywhere!

There is poop in his seat. There is now poop on the back of the seat in front of my husband where his body grazed during the hand off. 

I urgently tell my husband and we freeze. There is poop all up my son’s back and some up his front. 

For probably 5 seconds (that felt like an hour) I am paralyzed. 

I imagine the airplane horror stories. I think, we can’t sit here anymore. They are going to make an emergency landing and kick us off. 

Then I came to my senses and started to clean. 

We used all the wipes we had. We pushed the call light and they brought us bags and a cup of water and paper towels. We threw his clothes away and cleaned and disinfected the best we could.  

Did I mention I was holding a 14 month old the whole time?

That seatbelt light went off and my husband finished the job in the bathroom. (Maybe I’ll convince him to write an addendum post about that experience!)

This was like nothing I had ever seen or experienced.

But we handled it like a team. We were calm. We were comforting. And we eventually managed to laugh.  

The flight attendant wished us a Happy Father’s Day (oh did I mention it was Father’s Day?) and gave us free drinks. We then bought drinks for the people behind us. 

So there you have it. Poopmageddon. We earned a new star on our parenting badges and have a story we will tell for a long time!

Now for some sleep ZZZZZ….

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I grew up in Orange County then went to Los Angeles (with a short detour in Santa Barbara) for college and spent the next 12 years there thinking that was home until I met my amazing, now husband on Jdate.com and moved back here to start our life together. I have a young son and daughter that are two years apart. They are thick as thieves and keep us laughing. I worked in Hospice care for 15 years and now I take Working Mom to a whole new dimension with a private mental health practice www.melissafishergoldman.com. I worked hard with many jobs hustling for many years to grow my own business. I'm proud to say I'm helping people in my own office full time. The decision to quit my full time job working for some one else and to work towards creating much needed grief, trauma and self esteem support in Orange County fills my soul. I may not spend 24/7 with my kids but I plan to be role model to them and the time we have is all about quality not quantity. I'm working on a life/work balance but I find this is much easier when I love all aspects of my life and work and self.


  1. I laughed, cried, and simultaneously was so happy this didn’t happen to me. Thank you for always being so honest and 100% real in a world where it’s easy to put a shiny smile on everything that isn’t traditionally cute. Mommies need more voices like you.

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