I was in Ikea on Saturday night, about 8:45 pm.
There was a mother with 2 small children (the oldest might have been 4). The children were running wild. I mean wild. They had those little carts and the kids were running around the sofa area and the end table area and the lamp area and the shelving area. They were running the carts into things, climbing on the end tables, leaving their carts in the middle of the aisles, bouncing on the sofa’s.
I stopped, after the small child very nearly bowled me over by running into me, and glared at the mother.
I should tell you, I have a very fierce glare. People tell me that my glare absolutely withers. I mean it. So I stopped and glared at the mother, for probably a full minute.
She looked back at me and demanded to know what the dirty look was for.
You know what I miss? I miss when parenthood was a full time job, and its job description involved words like duty and obligation and sacrifice. I miss when parents had some idea that there was an appropriate time and place for things like Ikea, and that time and place wasn’t an hour after your kids should have been in bed.
I miss a world that kids didn’t get to climb on furniture and mow shoppers down because that wasn’t polite or appropriate, and even at 4 years of age this was made clear to you. I miss a time when parents would have picked up those children and taken them home and put them to bed because they were tired and we all understood that the appropriate place for a very small child at 9 pm was bed.
I miss a time when we understood that you didn’t drag kids around like a yuppie enhancement: accessorizing motherhood with lulu lemon yoga pants and an organic hemp carrier bag; fitting children into scant time carved out before you go for the soy latte and after you do yoga. I wish we still lived in a time when kids were allowed to be kids and we all understood they are small people who need things like regular bed times and rules to grow into happy adults.
I wish we allowed kids to be kids, and we understood that shopping for a sofa is not interesting when you are 4, and it’s really not interesting when you are tired and overstimulated. I wish we didn’t ask children to be mini adults, because we couldn’t fit time into our oh-so important lives for them to be children.
Mostly I miss a time when you got a glare and your realized that your kids weren’t bad kids, they acting the way kids act at almost 9 pm; but you were not doing your best job as a parent, and you were to blame for this mess. I miss a time when you stood up and took your lumps, and then you took those poor munchkins home, and you got them ready for a bath and you read them a story and you put them to bed, and then maybe you did some thinking about your wants and your kids’ very real need, and the fact that as the adult, you were the one that sacrificed to meet needs over wants.
In the end my shins will survive. The Ikea furniture will survive.
Lady, I’m giving you a dirty look because your poor wee kids really need you to stand up and be the adult in the situation. They need you to actually actively parent them – because that’s how they thrive.