TL;DR: my child’s best friend’s father has been going around telling everybody at the kids school that I’m the psycho hoarder, just because I refuse to listen to his Marie Kondo bullshit.
And XP from parenting
I’m from culture A (where personal boundaries are very firmly preserved) where my 7 y/o daughter’s BFF’s parents are from culture B (very much a collectivist culture).
They’re otherwise wonderful people and this is the girls’ 4th year together in the same class but I have this weird battle going on with the dad.
About 2 yrs ago the dad discovered Marie Kondo & threw out a bunch of his wife’s stuff (including a lot of her coffee mug collection). He is militantly anti-stuff and brings that and Marie Kondo up every. F-ing. Chance he has.
The wife works crazy hours and he’s a stay at home parent. It’s not clear to me that theirs is a happy marriage.
I will say though that BOTH my husband & I work, leaving us less time for June/Joe Cleaver game.
He’s come to our home several times (they have a condo about 1/3 the size of our house but in a trendy hip neighborhood to our vanilla one.). So this isn’t about $$ or jealousy.
There’s always a conversation about “stuff” and he’s asked me several times do I need X, Y, Z, why don’t I throw it away and be happy. Some of it is craft stuff that I haven’t been able to use in awhile due to losing use of one arm in a bad accident; but I’m confident the next surgery will fix my arm back to normal. Some of it is (bulky and irritating but necessary) medical equipment.
I’ve shut him down with a cool, “Thanks for your concern Mortimer but I don’t recall asking your advice.”
The other day my daughter was on a video/computer chat w her class & showed a figurine collection I have for show and tell. I helped her bring the computer to the shelf.
A third little girl (good friends with my daughter & this girl) piped up: “Ermintrude’s dad says PCOS has too much stuff.”
Ermintrude piped up to agree and so did another kid. Based on their comments, they’re aware that “PCOS has craft stuff she can’t use, and nobody needs that many books”.
I took the computer out of the room and said pretty firmly, “Different people have different values and choices and my collection makes me happy. What I have in my home is not Ermintrude’s dad’s concern and he was wrong to discuss adult business with you kids.”
The third girl’s mom jumped in to say I was “taking it wrong” and I said “I’m not and I’m excusing myself from this conversation”. She tried to call me later and I didn’t pick up.
My daughter tells me that the dad has said this stuff to her when she’s gone to their house too.
I feel incredibly hurt and frankly creeped out that apparently this guy is discussing my business and what goes on inside my home with the whole fucking school.
I feel like I need to confront the dad about this and I’m not sure how. I don’t want to damage the girls friendship but I’m really fucking tired of the “advice” on how to manage my home.
I’d like some advice or an unbiased perspective here.
Isn’t Konmari not so much about minimalism but obtaining items with intention, using them with gratitude, and evaluating them occasionally for both their usefulness in function and beauty?
It’s thoughtful consumerism, is it not?
No I think not engaging with this man is the best strategy. He wants attention. Don’t give it to him. And the other parents getting themselves ” involved” by offering advice are trying to pump false meaning into their lives. You think by acting like an adult and sticking to your boundaries these peopl are are going to suddenly realize how wrong they are. It never works this way.
Next year your kid will have another best friend. Do not justify your choices, do not explain yourself. When this man lectures you tell him: stop lecturing. Walk away. What you can never do is reason with people like this.
The thing is, the girls have been in the same class for four years now, and have been very good friends that whole time.
From what I’ve pieced together from other peoples texts, the way that Mortimer worded his stuff, was greatly exaggerated and made the other parents very concerned.
Because the teacher is a mandated reporter, I wound up having to send her a picture of my house just to prove that we don’t live in hoarder squalor.
Dad sounds out of line and it sucks to think people are talking about you behind your back.
Does your husband and family members still give you a hard time about cleaning and decluttering? It’s strange that everyone seems obsessed with your things.
This man has “found religion” and seriously so, and needs to convert the non-believers. Like a bad virus, it will hopefully pass… eventually. Or it will “kill him” by way of his marriage and/or relationships with others, like it has killed his with you.
So, dont “play” with the infected. I would not engage at all, deal with the child’s mother for get togethers, and have them mostly to all at your house. Your partner/SO can do pickup there. If he arrives for pickup, have his daughter ready out front on the sidewalk with you and your daughter. Dont let him (quite literally) cross your boundaries.
The good news? Your child’s teacher already knows he’s a bit of a nutter. She/he can pass the word so you arent reported. This should “immunise” you a bit to keep an analogy going. Equally, his ongoing crusades will inform others quite well without input from you.
The bad news? If you have lawyer friends, have a quiet chat about what you might need in future around harassment or even a restraining order, if it escalates.
TLDR: There is no “managing” a severe case of “new religion” wait it out like a bad fever and hope for the best. In the meanwhile, take all necessary precautions.