The six types of parents you see at IKEA
I went to IKEA this weekend... and lived to tell the tale. I may have suffered a brief existential crisis and bought several items I really didn't need (every freaking time, am I right?) but I survived.
As I wandered the aisles with my five-year-old who wanted to "drive" the trolley himself (give me strength) I locked eyes with a woman who was sitting, alone, in one of the plastic gazebos, looking as though she really wished the fake bottle of display wine was the real deal.
Her kids - twins, I think - were having a sword fight with pieces of cardboard while their harried father went in search of item "Whö Knöws Whåt."
"I feel you sister, I feel you," I tried to convey telepathically as my son careered his trolley into someone's ankle. Good times.
As we left the store - after meatballs, obviously - it occurred to me that there are several distinct kinds of parents you see in IKEA. And we've all been most of them at some point.
Let me break it down for you:
1. The nesting couple
The nesting couple are newly pregnant. They're excited - the world is their IKEA.
Change tables! Rocking chairs! Cute moon lights!
The super organised nesting pair might have even perused the hashtag #IKEAnursery on Instagram, or perhaps created a Pinterest board full of cute inspiration. They're ready, they're in love, and they haven't yet experienced the panicked realisation of, "Oh my god we made a baby and he/she is coming soon. Like really soon."
They make you smile, the Nesting Couple, just by looking at them.
2. The heavily pregnant couple
Several months have passed since we last saw Nesting Couple. Mum's now 47 weeks pregnant, over it, and back at IKEA. Why? Well, as it turns out, despite thinking they managed to cover all bases during that first trip, over-excitement and the general joie de vivre of being first-time parents resulted in the purchase of many a decorative items rather than the more practical, essential things on the list.
Frankly, mum's concerned they'll never make it out - and the below scenario is looking increasingly likely.
Also, it's not the couple's first rodeo. Mum knows what's ahead later that evening.
And not only is it not pretty, unlike dad, she can't drink to help her through all that assemblage of seemingly random items.
3. Baby's first IKEA trip
Baby's here (hooray!), not a lot of sleep is happening, and yep - you guessed it - they're back. What is it about being on maternity leave and deciding you suddenly MUST renovate/get organised/de-clutter with all that "spare time"?
This time, along with the trolley, there's a pram to contend with... and a bubba who needs to be fed and settled - and A LOT less patience, too.
They don't call IKEA a relationship "death trap" for no reason.
4. Baby No.2 is imminent
Hell is IKEA, pregnant, with a toddler (or two) in tow, trying to keep your s... together and make it out in under half a day.
Sometimes - like this lady - you just need to take a moment. And that's what these are for...
5. Mum, ashen-faced, sitting in outside gazebo, questioning all her life choices while kids sword fight with cardboard and dad's gone AWOL
6. Those who LOVE it all
I've heard rumours of these magical IKEA-loving unicorns out there in the IKEA jungle. It doesn't matter how pregnant you are, how many kids you have, or how tricky that assembly process is - you love it.
For you and your significant other it's practically "date night." You bond over the difficult decisions (Billy or Hemnes?), you thrive under the fluorescent lights and 80s power ballads, and you treat yourself to a delicious hot dog or plate of meatballs once you expertly make it out of the mousetrap.
We might not understand it - but it's your Happy Place. So who are we to argue? Now if only we could get one in New Zealand...