“You can play in toy tents and eat a hotdog for lunch!” I told my boys aged three and five.
“And there’s even a playground! IKEA is SO much fun,” I added for extra punch. “Mummy just has a bit of shopping to do. But it won’t take long.”
Oh silly, silly me. Since when has a trip to IKEA ever not blown out the parking budget because it took waaaay longer than you expected?
I should have known.
I shouldn’t have put them and me through it. I should have listened to my inner mum voice that was screaming DO NOT TAKE THEM TO IKEA YOU CRAZY WOMAN!!!
Because two kids in that minefield of a shop/warehouse/other planet is a hell no parent wants to endure.
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Please read my story and never, ever do what I did. No matter how badly you could do with a Billy bookcase.
I blame the toilet seat
It all started with a toilet seat. My one is broken so it needs to be replaced. “Ohhh, IKEA has a nice one,” I thought, and it’s cheap too! I’ll do a trip out there and grab it, and while I’m there, I’ll pick up a few things, like blinds for the kitchen, storage baskets (can you ever have enough?), and some bargain cushions to give the couch a facelift. How fun!
But the day I went to IKEA I had both my boys. It was a non-work/kindy day. The only thing we had on was swimming lessons late that afternoon.
No worries, I thought, we’ll just have the morning at IKEA, grab a $1 hotdog for lunch and be home well in time for swimming. I could even put the boys in the play centre if they like it and do my shopping quickly – alone!
But we left late
As per usual the morning got away from us, no one got dressed, a shoe needed finding etc, etc, so it was more like 11.30am before we were driving for an hour towards the huge yellow and blue IKEA sign.
A good start
When we got there we went straight to the Market Place cafeteria and ordered the promised hotdogs. “Yesss, $3 for lunch for the three of us!” I gloated to myself (ignoring how unhealthy this lunch option was).
Then I peeked into the play centre and saw a bunch of bored kids waiting for their parents to collect them, parents who were obviously lost in IKEA. Not getting a great vibe about it I chatted to some parents in the queue who told me there was a half hour wait per child to get in, so I ditched the play centre. They can just come with me inside, I resolved, taking them to the loos as a preemptive strike before we entered.
How hard could it be?
Lost in IKEA
The thing about IKEA, though, is that it is always exciting at first. There is so much to see, look at, and be tempted by. “Yes, my life would be better and more organised if I had shelving” that sort of thing.
But by the time you have trekked through the various sections, filling up your huge IKEA bag with drawer liners and snapping photos of codes you need to pick up from the warehouse as you go, it gets exhausting.
IKEA is also sensory overload. Even for an adult. There is just so much colour, bright lights and STUFF to do your head in. So, of course, my kids went crazy. And crazy kids in IKEA is HELL.
“Do not climb on that! Get off. Don’t touch that. No running! Please watch where you are going, follow the arrows” I said over and over.
Oh and coupled with this, they loved those play tents and the entire kid’s section so much that I had to drag them away as time ticked on.
“This is taking too long,” I remember thinking …
Trolley to the rescue!
When we got down to the lower level, I grabbed a trolley and lined it with the cushions I wanted to buy. Nailing it, I thought, as my boys rode comfortably along.
But then the squabbling started – “He’s sitting on me!” sigh – and we hadn’t even made it to the blinds section.
“I’m sooo bored” winged my eldest. “I want a narna” cried my youngest.
But of course, I didn’t pack bananas. Oh no, I stupidly thought a nutrition-devoid lunch of hotdogs would be enough as this was only meant to be a quick trip.
So with two hungry, whingey boys, I grabbed the blinds, not giving any thought if they were the right shade of white, some storage baskets, a new lamp for their bedroom and some other bits and bobs, but then I needed ANOTHER damn trolley.
With a boy in each, I wheeled both to the warehouse as only a mum on a mission to get everyone the hell out of somewhere can. Then my youngest said the words every mum dreads …
“I need to do a poo.”
Grrrr, trollies abandoned, I raced them to the toilets back upstairs.
Where’s the bloody toilet seat?
After the loo, we returned to our trollies and finally made it to the enormous stockroom of cardboard boxes on towering shelves.
I headed for aisle two, number 47. But nooooo! They were sold out of the white seat I wanted. I could get a powder blue or black one, but not white.
“ARE YOU KIDDING ME!” I muttered under my breath.
When we finally made our way out of IKEA, I bought the boys a frozen yoghurt, because bad mum, and did I mention I hadn’t packed bananas? Then I tapped my card on the parking pay station and it was like rubbing salt into my wounds.
Oh and we didn’t make it home in time for swimming after all. Because since when is a trip to IKEA ever a quick one?!
Live and learn
Of course, I know now what I should have done. That’s the beauty of hindsight, right? IKEA has a click and collect. They also deliver.
So next time I will order online and I will NOT, I repeat, WILL NOT attempt to do IKEA with kids in tow. Maybe the play centre is an option, but as I can’t guarantee there won’t be a long wait to get in, I think online is the go.
That or I go by myself at night when my hubby is home to mind them. Come to think of it, that could an excellent idea! IKEA on my own!
But the moral is, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO GO TO IKEA WITH KIDS. Please learn from my mistake. It is a hell I wish on no fellow parent.
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