I used to live over two hours away from the nearest IKEA, so I would make pilgrimages about twice a year with a lengthy shopping list and would spend an entire day there. It was the perfect shopping destination: breakfast was served at 9:30 (30 minutes before the store opened so I had planning time) and lunch was a great respite after perusing the showroom. The best part, though, was how family friendly the entire place was, complete with a kids play place that had one hour babysitting.
So on one such planned journey to IKEA, my husband was called in to work last minute. However, I was certainly not going to cancel my trip. How could I cancel plans of buying new curtains and lingonberry soda? So I schlepped my four-year-old and shopping list up the highway and set forth on my mission of Swedish awesomeness.
Fast forward to around 2pm in the afternoon. My daughter and I have already enjoyed a lovely breakfast and lunch of Swedish delicacies and are roaming around the store somewhere near the bedding department. We passed on the nap, but she’s done it a few times before so I felt we were still in the safe zone. However, I could tell she is starting to get to her, “I’m done listening to mom,” point in the day. I keep walking her around, but she’s just getting more and more difficult. Then comes the squirming. And out of nowhere, she lets out this blood curdling scream.
Yep, right there in IKEA.
Did I mention I wasn’t visiting IKEA on a quiet Monday morning? Nope, I chose to go on a busy Saturday. So the aisles were filled with happy, single hipsters. Oh, and me, the determined mom whose kid has decided to throw herself on the cold cement, in the middle of the pathway, to block anyone from proceeding to the lighting department.
So I do what any mom would do and pick her up. There may have been a bribe thrown in there. Or not. Ok… I mentioned there may ice cream at the exit. It wasn’t a good enough bribe, because she squirms out of my arms and throws herself on the floor again. This time, I know we’ve caused enough of a scene for IKEA security to have their cameras pointed on me in case I decide to do anything drastic.
I pick her up again, and start frantically trying to find the nearest exit. If you have ever visited IKEA, you realize how difficult this task really is. I am trying to locate one of the shortcuts that will get me to the exit faster, but my kid is squirming and screaming louder as if she has been injured and needs medical attention.
I turn to look at her in the eye, to threaten her this time, and she does the unthinkable:
She spits in my face.
I am so shocked. Where my daughter learned to spit at someone is beside me. I have tears rolling down my cheek, and I am frantic to just get out of the place and never return again.
But as I walked out the exit doors into the main area, a beacon of light called my eyes. It’s the play place sign.
At that point, I realized that maybe instead of running into the car with my frustrated daughter, and me being frustrated myself, we both need a time-out. So I handed my daughter off to the highly experienced professionals, grabbed a pager, and gave myself a one-hour time-out.
I had gotten so worked up about the entire situation that I couldn’t think clearly, which in turn led me to slack on my number one job – be a mom. I was so focused on getting out of there, that I wasn’t doing my daughter any favors. By taking a time-out, I was able to calm myself down, re-evaluate the situation and think about how best to handle it.
When we were reunited, we both came back refreshed. I could address what happened an hour before, and I could be a mom to her.
Now I know, sometimes mom needs a time-out, too.