My 3-year-old daughter sat perched on top of a packed suitcase the other day, looking at me nervously. “We are going in an airplane, high up in the sky,” I told her. “I don’t want to,” my preschooler replied. “I’m scared.” All three of my children have flown numerous times, but the last trip was a little more than a year ago — apparently too long ago for our youngest child to remember. And while my kids have flown across country to visit their grandfather multiple times, even flying to Norway a few years back for a family wedding — I’ve never flown with all three kids without my husband. When my oldest child was a baby, my husband and I never realized how easy we had it. Going out to eat, appeasing only one child, was a breeze. When the second child was born, things got a little more hectic, but it was still the “man on man” approach to parenting that we abided by for more than four years: I took one kid, my husband kept his eyes on the other. But when you have three kids, it’s like a three-ring circus. The chaos is hard to contain. The kids outnumber the adults, and when someone isn’t behaving or one child runs off, it can be beyond stressful. They say having three kids is the most stressful number of offspring to have. I can understand why. And so, as I write this, I’m packing up to fly to Minnesota — alone, with my three kids ... and three suitcases, a Pack ’n Play, a carseat, two booster seats and a backpack. The thought of mastering my way around the Nashville airport weighed down like an overstressed camel has me hyperventilating already. I can imagine what it will take to get my 3-, 6- and 9-year-old to go through security without using the ropes like a game of limbo or ramming their miniature wheeled suitcases into their siblings like weapons on wheels. If I can make it to the airport restroom with all three kids in tow without any accidents, it will be a miracle. If we can get through a flight where one of my kids doesn’t fight over the iPad, or the amount of room their sibling is taking up, or whether or not so-and-so got more fill-in-the-blank than they did, I will be amazed. But I love travel, I do. And I want my kids to grow up traveling. I want them to see the world outside of their home and experience what life is like for others. And so, we’re off the airport. If you see an overpacked, overstressed Mom, dragging three young children around behind her, offer some support. Here are some tips for “stress-free” flying with children, according to parents.com. — Fly as early in the day as possible to avoid delays. — Dress in layers. Also, shoes that slip on make things easy. — If you need a stroller, think small. Use an umbrella stroller. — Seat kids away from the aisle. — Wipe down everything with sanitizer to avoid germs. — Bring surprises, new little toys or games that will keep kids’ attention. — Don’t overpack. It will be easier with the less stuff you take. — Lydia Seabol Avant writes The Mom Stop for The Tuscaloosa News in Alabama. Reach her at email@example.com.