IKEA: A moment of self-realisation

IKEA - the emotional tests it puts you through could be a form of therapy, or torture. You decide!

It is Easter holidays in France at the moment so the 3 of us set off to IKEA to pick up some bits and bobs – as you do, we stopped by the cafe to have some lunch. I am now home and still traumatised by what I saw. I was good, really good. I didn’t say anything to anyone, I even stared at the floor so I didn’t run the risk of offending anyone with my horrified looks. As a form of therapy I have decided to share my experience and feelings in the form of a letter to the people I encountered:

1. To the father who was trying to feed his 3 year old in the play area while he stood there and cried: Your son had crapped his pants, he needed changing, not to be spoon fed some more green beans. The whole restaurant could smell it, couldn’t you? Could you eat with crap in your pants?

2. To the parent’s who’s 15m old son was crying inconsolably (and made BiP cry): Your son is hungry, give him some of those beans or fries on your plate while you wait to pay. He doesn’t want that rubber dummy/pacifier which is why he is spitting it out and crying louder.

3. To the mother who looked shocked when her 4m old baby girl started coughing whilst being fed a carrot puree: Your baby is lying down! She cannot swallow safely. She is too young to eat but if you must feed her at least keep her airways open. Can you eat lying down? I can’t.

4. To the grandmother who commented how BiP was the same age as her granddaughter yet couldn’t walk: Y0ur granddaughter is wearing shoes that are too small for her. No wonder she can’t stand. Last time I checked small feet in France weren’t considered to be anything special. Take her shoes off and let her explore.

5. To all the parents who gave us funny looks because BiP was doing her Baby-Led Weaning thing and I then breastfed her: We are obviously NOT French!


Today  was a moment of self-realisation – I thought I was a very easy going mother, each to their own and all that jazz – I am not that cool chilled out mother I thought I was. I’m ok with that. I think.


19 thoughts on “IKEA: A moment of self-realisation

  1. Susana

    LOL… wouldn’t the world be a better place if every mother was as great of a mother as we are ourselves?

    1. mummyinprovence Post author

      LOL, yes it would Susana!

      On a serious note, I do not claim to be a perfect or even great mother – I wrote this post more of a vent about how I saw things!
      Everyone is different and has access to different information. That’s what makes the world go round; differences!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      1. Susana

        Oh I get where you’re coming from! Which reminds me… about two months ago MIL and I went to Ikea… it was freezing! Probably in the low 40’s F and overcast. There was this mom with a new born and the poor baby had no socks at all! That’s one of my pet peeves. I felt so bad for the little guy.

  2. Karen

    It’s hard when you see parents or grandparents, or adults caring for children, doing something you wouldn’t personally do with or for your own kids. I watched a parent in a cafe pour Ribena (which is so full of sugar, you may as well feed your child the sugar from a spoon, the same amount as 6tsp, in a 200ml carton) into his 12 month old (I happened to get chatting to him and asked him how old) baby’s bottle, and then proceeded to let the child eat it’s way through a packet of very salty crisps. Not something I would let my 12 month old do. It was incredibly hard for me to watch. I have been at toddler groups where parents have allowed their children to behave appallingly, in the name of “expressing themselves”, (um, your delightful 2.5 year old continually bashing my 12 month old on the head with a toy, and then trying to bite me when I ask it to stop, isn’t my idea how I want my kids expressing themselves!) And I’ve actually had to refuse suggestions from a parent at our daughter’s nursery, because their child aged 3, says F¥¤k a little too often for my liking, and I’m not ready to deal with my own cherub coming out with that just yet, and I have to resist the temptation, when I see 4,5 and 6 year olds walking around with pacifiers stuck in their mouths, whilst out shopping, to walk up and take them out.
    I know I’m not perfect, my kids aren’t angels by any means, but sometimes I do wonder who we’ll blame when we have a generation of obsese, denture wearing, badly behaved pre adolescents? Certainly not the parents, of course, am sure! 🙂

    1. mummyinprovence Post author

      It’s funny isn’t it? I know I’ve had a lot of raised eyebrows because I don’t overdress BiP like the French do. She will be in cotton leggings, a long sleeved t-shirt and a light cardi in 20C weather whereas most French kids will still have a coat on plus a vest!

      Also, the issue of her shoes, I have had her in Robeez style leather soft shoes for 6 weeks since she’s been walking and I’ve been told I’ve already deformed her feet for not putting Kickers boots on her from the day she stood up! Ho hum!

      On sucking her thumb – apparently that is an awful habit and a dummy is better. I just smile and say I am too lazy to keep picking up the dummy when she spits it out!

      Self expression? We aren’t there yet – but I am sure I’ll get comments when we get there and thank you for reminding me to watch my language – I fear that BiP may conjugate sentences with the F word (I tend to be lax with it because no one here speaks English but it is not really a good thing) – EXCEPT I will know it is entirely MY fault.

      We try to do our best and whatever we do someone will find fault with it!

      Here’s to being the most perfect imperfect mothers we can be!

  3. Kate

    Nice letter!

    I like to think I’m an easy going, each to their own mum. But when I’m actually confronted with such behaviour it’s all I can do to sit on my hands and not say anything!

    I almost cried in the supermarket today because a little baby was really upset and being totally ignored by her mum.

  4. mummyinprovence Post author

    Thanks Kate! I think I have come a long way from the days when I’d hear a hungry newborn screaming its head off and all I wanted to do was run over and give it boobie!!!

    Glad I am not alone in my madness!

  5. Janine

    Maybe I’m just having a hard day but this almost made me cry. I am judgmental, especially so as a mother. I can’t turn that off! Shit like this makes me not want to leave the house. I think I would want to step in and take care of everyone else’s kids. What is wrong with people?

    I have less problem with the salty and sugary food as a commenter mentioned above, only because you have no idea how they are fed at home. I have certainly given Sebastian things in a pinch that I would never bring home from the grocery store!

    Of course everyone will blame the culture and the companies, but that is just ridiculous because a lot of what I do is outside the norm and you just do it anyway if it’s what is right!

  6. PigletinFrance

    I’m not yet a Mum so can’t really relate to how these situations make you feel as I think you need to be a Mum to understand… BUT… what an excellent form of therapy! I think I’m going to make myself a secret blog to use for my vents! I can see I am going to have plenty 🙂

    1. mummyinprovence Post author

      I can’t wait for your posts about being a new mummy … come on #babypiglet … we are all eagerly anticipating your mummy’s rants and observations!!!!

  7. Taleah

    I’m glad I’m not the only one. I do my best to remember that what works for me isn’t always what works for others… but sometimes it’s SO hard not to chime in!

    1. mummyinprovence Post author

      Thanks Taleah! Always helps to feel I am not alone!

  8. MLMom

    Definitely glad I’m not alone! I agree with Janine! Sometimes I try to hurry up when we’re out and I see some cruel or ridiculous scene. What’s worse is that I know those children go home with the parents.

    I used to work at IKEA at the children’s section so I got a huge list of “things I will never do with my children”. I was not a mother then, but until today I think not one of them has changed!

    An also very typical thing to see is mothers debating who is more pregnant than the other one so they go first on the expecting mothers check out lane. 5 months vs 7 months – oh no! – I’ve seen too many fights!

    I am in no way perfect and of course we all have different parenting styles and blah blah and I obviously don’t criticize the entire world, but when I see a mom pulling her daughters hair as she drags her out of the toy section in the store, my brain still functions and I think all I want.

    1. mummyinprovence Post author

      Wow MLMom! I can only imagine the fights in IKEA!

  9. Imogen @ Alternative Mama

    Omg. I’m actually crying about that poor 3yo who soiled himself and was being force fed. That sounds so traumatising. What the fuck is wrong with some people? Why would you do that to somebody you love??? :'(

    1. mummyinprovence Post author

      Different priorities I guess …

  10. Patricia

    I think it is safe to say that you definitely encountered some clueless parents. I sometimes wonder if parents put themselves in their infants position. The fact that they are just completely bombarded with their own selfish needs is amazing to me. One time I was at a restaraunt and this mother had a special needs child a boy which might have been around 6 or 7 years of age. Anyways, after I saw her force the child to sit in a highchair, which I thought was abusive enough. She talked the whole time on her cell phone and completely ignored her child and didn’t even help feed him when the food came out. Now if that isn’t child abuse I don’t know what is. It hurt me to see that child go through that it was outrageous.

    1. Ameena Falchetto Post author

      🙁 that’s sad Patricia – thanks for sharing your thoughts … I have to say I find it hard to deal with people who treat their kids as things vs. people – I know I get a lot of stick for treating BiP like her own little person and respecting her oddities and curiousness that comes with her being all of 21 months old! So what if it takes 5 minutes longer to get in the car or if she wants to wear a different pair of shoes? In the grand scheme of things what does it change really?


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