Three young children can be a handful at the best of times – but taking them on a long-haul flight is the stuff of nightmares for many parents.
For one sleep-deprived Sydney mum, she is facing the daunting prospect of doing it alone.
"I tried to bribe my brother with a holiday [to accompany me on the flight]... but he said no, and then I tried my parents but they'd just been out to Australia," she told Yahoo News Australia.
Rachel is visiting the UK for her brother's wedding with her three young girls, Ivy, 4, Stella, 2, and Willow, who is just two months old.
With her husband unable to join them, she has no one to help her on her return flight from London to Sydney in June.
The mother's desperation has now seen her turn to the unknown for help, and she has put up the cash to convince someone to join her.
$1000 offer to strangers
"I thought maybe I'll see if there's a stranger I could pay," she said, hoping there would be plenty of people making the trip after the end of border restrictions.
Offering $1000 for their services, Rachel is hoping someone making the trip themselves would accompany her for the 23-hour journey with the children, caring for them when needed.
She took to social media, sharing her pitch in a host of community groups.
"It’s a 23-and-a-half hour flight so essentially that’s $42 an hour," she wrote.
Rachel listed several potential tasks such as holding the baby, helping the girls with their meals and keeping them entertained.
"Whenever the older girls are asleep you wouldn’t need to do anything, and even when they’re awake I am happy for them to watch as much TV as they like," she said.
Rachel told Yahoo she has received a "really positive" response, with about 30 people expressing interest, however some thought she would also be paying for the flight as well.
She says while she has not yet locked someone in, there were about five people who are checking their travel dates and flights.
Experts praise mum's 'genius' plea
Parent coach Rachel Schofield, Professional Member of the Australian Association of Family Therapists, told Yahoo News Australia she had never seen Rachel's approach but thought the idea was "genius".
"If you have the resources, this is such an excellent thing to do. Travelling as the sole caregiver with three young children on a 24-hour flight is an impossible situation. It's not humanly possible to do this alone," she said.
Ms Schofield offered several tips on how to ease the stress of flying with children.
Boredom and a lack of space will prove to be an issue so make sure you have a range of new toys and puzzles they've never seen before to play with, she said.
"Making sure they've had some decent exercise before the flight helps.. and play with them as much as you can manage. They really, really, really need your connection, it will help them function better," Ms Schofield said.
Hand games such as rock, paper, scissors can be a physical outlet, she suggested.
"Accept that your kids might have some big meltdowns, it's okay. It's normal for kids to have big feelings over little things. Your job is to anchor them as they have a good cry. They will come out the other side feeling better, and much more able to function and do the right thing."
Funda Yolal, Director and Principal Psychologist at behaviour consultants Tiny Terrors, said she "got goosebumps" reading Rachel's post.
She said many people would feel compelled to help parents by themselves struggling to care for multiple children, regardless of remuneration.
Ms Yolal agreed with Ms Schofield it was key to have brand new activities or toys the children had not seen before.
"The restriction of being in a vessel and having to sit down, doesn’t go hand in hand with active children," she said.
She suggested books, colouring books, stickers, sensory fidget toys, small games and activities and lollipops to help with air pressure for the children's ears can all help make it a smoother journey.
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