Some “news” comes to me first via group chat. A tidbit that a Washington Post reporter gleaned from attending a webinar with Marie Kondo, and published last week, was one of them.
Kondo, who was promoting his latest book, Kurashi at Marie Kondo’s House: How to Organize Your Space and Achieve Your Ideal Life, confessed that since having her third child in 2021, she had “sort of given up” on achieving total order in her home. “My house is a mess, but the way I spend my time is the right way for me at this point in my life,” she said through an interpreter, probably not expecting for his words to ignite the online parenting world. .
Well, they did. The mother who sent the link in my group chat joked, “The least surprising headline ever.” Tens of thousands of parents shared similar feelings. After director Sarah Polley joked on Twitter, “Where’s the official apology to those of us she influenced to turn our clothes into little envelopes when we HAVE three kids!” she apologized itself, after a backlash of the backlash, with Kondo’s defenders point out no one is forcing anyone to do anything.
But I think parents who feel a sense of schadenfreude at Kondo’s confession aren’t exactly mad at her. Kondo fell into a classic trap: she gave advice on parenting when her children were too small to really make a dent. I, too, committed the cardinal sin of writing about parenting concepts when my child was too young to have opinions. (Mine developed hers around age 3. Your mileage may vary.) A few of my intentions from that time have stuck: I still don’t pretend to play with her. But that article I wrote about the limits of toys, when she had just celebrated her first Christmas and her first birthday and I was convinced that what I had given her – a suite of beautiful and expensive from Bella Luna Toys – would teach him to want very few toys, both wooden and fabric? It was pure madness. My own buddies with slightly older kids like to talk about it once in a while, enjoying their own little bit of friendship”I told you.”
What parents of older children know is that no one in a family home can control how things go. arranged.
In a development that won’t shock many of you, at age 6 my daughter actively hates that kind of “boring parent singing” as she calls the wooden toys we still keep. If she could import Walmart’s toy department into our wholesale house, she would. In Kurashi at home, Kondo describes plastic objects as giving off an essence that is just an “animated snap”. Obviously, it’s not to Kondo’s taste, and it’s not mine either. But this “animated snap” is exactly what my daughter loves. She’s in school now, and she knows what’s going on. If a company has produced a little thing and marketed it to children, they want it. Not only does she want it, but once she has it, she won’t give it up; she will see abandonment there as a tragedy, an affront, a source of great and lamentable sadness. Not only do we not “tidy up” together, she, suffering from a serious case of the horror of the voidactively and-storage, arranging her bedroom floor to be a sea of used coloring books, vending machine trinkets and dusty stuffed animals. A mosaic like this, she tells me, makes her feel safer at night, when she has her “frights.”
Kurashi at home features two interior shots of kids stuff, both in Instagram-friendly sad beige color palettes. The tips given in the book for teaching children the habit of tidying up – such as in a blog post on Konmari.com that appears to have been produced when Kondo’s children were 2 years old, a baby, and not yet born (judging by the pictures) — has been familiar to me since the days of my toddler parents’ idealism: parents should get into the habit of tidying up and giving away toys if there seems to be too many, gaining cooperation children saying things like, “We bought this new toy, but look, there’s no place to put it. We will have to abandon one of the oldest toys, the one you no longer play with, to make room. It’s been years since I tried this script, but I seem to remember “I DON’T WANT ANOTHER CHILD TO HAVE MY TOY” coming at me at high decibels. And no, it doesn’t matter whether she plays with it or not! You bring logic to a knife fight. Tidying up, as Kondo knows — and probably learns more every day — is mostly emotional. For children, these emotions reign.
What parents of older children know is that no one in a family home can control how things are arranged. If some mothers have felt some satisfaction hearing about Kondo’s new life, it’s because to put together storage tips like Kondo’s – or any other idea that’s going to require a child’s buy-in resistant – you have to decide if it is so important. it’s up to you to fight about it daily, devise endless strategies of gentle manipulation to get there, or just give up and do it all yourself. All three options are exhausting! And yes, it does make you feel bad about yourself to come across advice all over social media that suggests you weren’t persistent, consistent, or persuasive enough to live a pared-down life that, frankly, looks really relaxing .
This year I finally ditched an Instagram parenting influencer, a Montessori stay-at-home mom with a wonderful home and five sometimes homeschooled kids who never seem to want to sleep on a stack of price-slashed Kinder Eggs and a single Uno cards. long separated from their ensembles. “I HATE MYSELF FOR WANTING IT SO MUCH,” my daughter lamented recently when we were embroiled in an argument over whether she should be able to purchase another Disney Princess Bracelet Activity Surprise kit from CVS. This feeling, coming from her, did not arouse joy in me. So, like Marie Kondo, I gave up. My colleagues with older children tell me that too will pass. i hope they are right.