Guest Post: Prince William County’s Best Kept Secret for Weary Mommies

For those of you who feel like you’re hangin’
on by your fingernails…I hear you!! 
Allow me to share with you my story of survival…
My husband has been out of town this week, so
I’ve been doing my best to single parent our FOUR little girls 8 and under (one
of whom is potty training…which FEELS like the equivalent of having newborn
triplets in my humble opinion). 
Yesterday, after spending most of the day deep
cleaning the summer crumbs and cobwebs (and feces) away, I could not fathom
the thought of my freshly sanitized kitchen being destroyed by another meal.  The kids were bouncing off the walls, I was
starting to lose my cool, and things appeared to be heading south quick. 
Then I remembered.
It was Tuesday night.    
We drove north to exit 156 and as soon as the
IKEA sign came into clear view, it was as though I was staring at the Statue of
Liberty herself, bright torch held high to the evening sky.
“Give
me your tired, your poor,
 Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” 
The

sonnet engraved at the base of her Lady Liberty started to ring in my ears.  “Send
these…the tempest-tost to me..,
I
lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
You think I’m being melodramatic, but when I
arrived at the IKEA cafeteria for Kids Eat Free night, it was as though I had
stumbled upon a support group for Mothers of Small Children.  School House Rock played on the TV in the
background while we introduced ourselves, talked about potty training survival
tips, and tried to teach our toddlers not to steal each other’s chicken fingers
and meatballs. One mom asked if I had ever come to IKEA twice on a Tuesday
(free lunch and free dinner).  I said no,
but noted it for future reference.
In between sips of Lingonberry juice we made
new friends journeying through the same season of life and encouraged each
other because God knows we need it.  And
then we dropped off the delightful little souls in IKEA’s safe and wonderful
play place, Smáland, where they frolicked in the magical “forest” after being
firmly instructed/threatened to not have an accident in the ball pit (Children
must be potty trained to go to Smáland).
So, next time you feel like you’ve reached your
end and you’re not sure where to turn, just remember, IKEA will feed you ALL (You
only have to pay for ONE adult meal!), and even watch your children for you (If
you apply for an IKEA family card, children can stay in Smáland for one hour).  What a cup of cold water for those of us in the
trenches.  
Thank you, IKEA, for preserving me and our
posterity this Tuesday and for many Tuesdays to come. 
________________________________________________________
Annie Brogan Garman feels HIGHLY UNQUALIFIED in her role as a mother, but is willing to talk about it just in case it helps others who feel the same way.   She is a wife to Colby John and a mother to four gorgeous girls:  Haley Jane, Darcy Elaine, Gracie Kane, and Penelope Raine.  They all serve at Pillar Church in Northern Virginia (www.pillardumfries.com) where their husband/father just happens to be the Pastor.  If you don’t mind her transparent writing (on everything from her inadequacies to plucking chin hairs) you can find her at www.anniebrogan.com.