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Friday, July 16, 2010

Stalker Mom

subtitled Watching the Mistakes Pile Up as I Learn to Navigate Life With a School-Aged Child

Today I'm working hard to completely decimate my image by telling tales on someone who doesn't even know this blog exists. Yes, I'm gonna be snarky, but I figure I have a right to be. You see, I have a stalker. Oh, yes I do. And no, it's not someone who "found" me via the internet... it's actually worse because she knows where I live.

And that? Totally gives me the creeps.

It all started a few months ago when I received an email, out-of-the-blue, from the momma of a child in a different kindergarten class at the Tongginator's elementary school. She contacted me because her daughter S talks about my Tongginator all! the! time!, as in "the Tongginator says this" and "the Tongginator did that at lunch today." Stalker Mom wanted to know if I was open to having a playdate. I had never heard the Tongginator talk about S before, but when I asked her (after reading the email), the Tongginator said, "you mean Nemo's friend from her class? The S I play with on the playground sometimes? THAT S?"

So obviously the Tongginator knew her. And she seemed excited at the idea of a playdate. So I - in my infinite wisdom - invited S over to our house for said playdate. That was my second mistake. (Yes, I said second. Bear with me.)

MISTAKE #2 ... Failing to choose a nuetral location for The First Playdate.

Stalker Mom and S arrived for the playdate, bouncing off the walls and oh! so! happy! to be at our house. Since Stalker Mom didn't know our family at all, I expected her to stay for at least a little while, and possibly the whole visit, because - ya know - that's normal. What I DIDN'T expect was to feel like a mack truck had run me over by the end of the visit. Now y'all know I talk a lot. And yes, some may feel I overshare a bit too much. So when I tell you that this momma talks a lot and overshares way too much, you know I don't make that comment lightly.

They also stayed for over three hours before I bluntly told Stalker Mom she needed to leave so that I could make dinner.

And not to mention the fact that - during this first playdate - she explained how she "found" us. While her daughter S talked of the Tongginator constantly, she never did learn the Tongginator's last name. Which means that Stalker Mom didn't know how to reach us because she didn't know who we were. But then one day Stalker Mom overheard my friend Scarlett talking about the Tongginator during a local gymnastics class. And - to put it bluntly - she pounced. (As I've said previously, the Tongginator has a very unusual first name. Which means that pretty much everyone knows exactly who she is. Which explains why she goes by the nickname Tongginator on the blog.) Scarlett simply shared my first and last name with Stalker Mom, but that was enough. Never underestimate the sleuthing skills of Stalker Mom. Because she totally tracked us down.

MISTAKE #1 ... Bestowing the Tongginator with such an unusual first name, she loses all anonymity within our county and possibly even the entire state of Maryland.

During that first playdate, Stalker Mom made some comments that had me raising my eyebrows a bit, which is why I basically avoided her during the remaining three months of school. (The comments she made had me questioning whether or not our families shared similar values. Like, deal breaker kinds of things. I'll explain more later.) So how did I avoid her, you might ask? Well, you know the drill... "oh, we are just super busy right now and the girls can play on the playground at recess" and also "we really try to protect family time on the weekends" and other such avoidance techniques.

MISTAKE #3 ... Being too nice.

Day Two of Summer, our answering machine recorded a message from Stalker Mom, requesting a second playdate. I didn't want to be mean, but I also didn't feel thrilled, so I waited a day or two and then called her back, mostly because S is a perfectly nice child, even if her momma is a tad annoying. Stalker Mom and I tried to match up our schedules, but nothing seemed to work out, since their family was arriving home from vacation just as my cousin was arriving for the Fourth of July holiday, thrown in with the fact that I had the twins with me during the first full week of summer. And, to be blunt, our busy schedule didn't exactly lend itself to playdates with people I wanted to avoid anyway.

MISTAKE #4 ... Being lulled into a false sense of security.

The stalking didn't actually begin until last week. She called me twice and emailed me three times in less than three days. I got back to her once, sharing that we had something scheduled each day this week. That was the truth at the time, but then our Tuesday playdate was canceled. Somehow Stalker Mom found out about that cancellation, so she called and left me a message on Sunday night. Then she emailed me two hours later. AND she called me at 9:30 the following morning. I purposefully let the answering machine pick up that last time. You know, because I was beginning to feel a little creeped out, although I couldn't quite explain why. I knew I'd have to call her back, but yes, I was dragging my feet until after Tuesday so that I could still maintain our "we're busy" mantra without lying.

MISTAKE #5 ... Not trusting my instincts.

On Tuesday afternoon, a knock sounded at our door while the Tongginator was eating a snack and I was chatting on the phone before we headed to the grocery store. Lo and behold, guess who was standing on our front porch? Stalker Mom and S of course! Here I was, talking with a friend who has a May log-in-date ... on Tuesday afternoon (when those first rumors came out) ... and I have an uninvited visitor who is beginning to really creep me out. When Stalker Mom refused to take the hint, I ended my phone conversation and prepared to visit for just a minute. While I stood chatting with them at the front door, S wiggled her way into my house, ran into the kitchen and started talking with the Tongginator. Then Stalker Mom followed her, brushing past me and trying to settle in for a nice, long stay.

I stood. I refused to sit. And I told them that we were heading to the grocery store.

Fortunately, they left after about 15 minutes. I called my friend back, apologizing profusely for ending our conversation abruptly during such a monumental time, then the Tongginator and I tried yet again to head out the door for our grocery run. Only the phone rang again. And this time it was my good friend Dory, Nemo's mom.

It seems that Dory and Nemo hosted S during a playdate at their house earlier that day. They don't know each other well; in fact, Stalker Mom creeps out Dory, but Nemo went to their house once for a playdate, so Dory felt she had to return the favor. It was definitely the last time, however, since Stalker Mom actually pushed! her! way! into their house and visited in the entryway for over 45 minutes. Her conversation revealed more about her character.

It seems I was right to be concerned. Because those comments that raised my eyebrows? They were right on target. I tried to give Stalker Mom the benefit of the doubt, since they truly were comments in the "gray zone," but not after learning about The Birthday Invitations. You see, S has a birthday coming up. And Nemo, having been in kindergarten with S, received an invitation to said party. Stalker Mom explained that they couldn't invite every child from the class, but they invited a good number. And, as Stalker Mom ran through their guest list, a sick feeling of dread spread through Dory.

Only five children from class did not receive invitations to the birthday party. And there were five African-American children in that class. Y'all do the math. You'll be correct. Dory knows that class list like the back of her hand: she volunteered almost as much as I did.

Last months questionable comments and this week's crossing of boundaries made me dread navigating this relationship, but The Birthday Invitation debacle ended any any all desire to make future plans. When the Tongginator asked when S could come for a playdate, I took a deep breath, then followed Tonggu Grammy's advice by saying, "Tongginator, we have to be kind to everyone, but we don't have to be best friends with everyone. And Momma has already decided that I am not going to be best friends with Stalker Mom. That means you and S can be school friends only."

And that was that.

Please help me feel better, y'all. Have you encountered a Stalker Mom in your neck of the woods? And, if so, how did you handle it?

53 comments:

Mia_h_n said...

From your account of the events I think you handled it perfectly fine.
First of all, even if you had clicked and everything had been fine, it's sometimes not possible to be good friends with everyone you'd like because there's only 24 hours in the day.
But seeing as you obviously are just too different, your explanation to the Tongginator was very well worded, very age appropriate.
Let me know how you handle Stalker Mom, who'll most likely not be satisfied with the Tongginator explanation!

Rachel said...

Forget "stalker mom." She sounds more like "racist mom" to me!

Claudia said...

freeeeeeaky!

What I want to know is how you are going to tell stalker mom your decision. Eeek.

bbmomof2boys said...

No, can't say I've had a stalker mom - maybe a stalker neighbor though we did become friends. They did have different morals than us (way different) but we just kept to ours and shared with them why we didn't say "f" all.the.time and especially around our kids. Heh...when their then 3 year old said it at our house I promptly marched her back home, told her mom and she just laughed. ummm...ok

You are not being mean TM - you are doing whats right for YOUR family.

Hugs,
Carla

Aus said...

Wow - and you are worried about Internet privacy? ;)

And what do you mean about Tongginator being an unusal name - very commonplace!! ;)

We've had folks like this drift through our lives from time to time, but it can take a good long time before they go away. Who I'm sorry for is the child - it's a shame that you can't always pick your parents! Regardless - ya'll just keep on using your best judgement, it's a parents responsibility to protect their kids from those parts of our world that the parents feel is 'unsavory'.

God willing you won't need to smack down stalker mom - but she sound like the type that might just need to be told "I'm just not clicking with you - sorry - but I don't think we can make a friendship work - so lets just leave it alone - OK?"

This happens to folks that are nice guys - ya know?

hugs - aus and co.

Stefanie said...

Oooh. Wow. That's tough. I don't have to worry about stalker moms... the huge crowd of small children drives most people away :)
Sounds like she's the type of person you have to be very firm with for them to 'get it'... you did a great job! Just stick to your guns and no more playdates! :)

Rhonda said...

HOLY crap on a cracker. This woman sounds really freaky.

I'm tossing you an email about this...

heather said...

I have not, but now i am VERY scared!!!

Chelsea Gour said...

No. But, you handled it beautifully. How frustrating! I was getting angry for you! And then to realize that she's racist...

autumnesf said...

Ouch! You've got yourself a problem friend. You could just be blunt and tell it like it is - but you would be setting yourself up for a lifetime enemy and as bad as she is as stalker mom...it could be 10 fold as hater mom. She knows leaving out the AA kids is wrong or she wouldn't have made the comment that she can't invite everyone. Like you, I like to call a spade a spade....but not set myself up for personal attack by the worst kinds of people who I don't even know to defend myself from. Good luck! Maybe you could keep up the avoidance and then one of the times she just shows up tell her you really REALLY don't like it when people just drop in.

k said...

is this part of what i have to look forward to as a mom????

gasping here. wow. i have no advice, having never experienced anything this bizarre.

Amy said...

As soon as you said "deal breaker", I was afraid I knew where this was headed. Yuck. I haven't dealt with stalker moms before, but I think your answer to Tongginator was awesome. I am tucking that one away because my son has a friend with a weird momma, and that line could come in very handy.

BTW, muchas gracias for the CDs. We love them!

Suzy said...

Yuck. Yuck. and more YUCK. That is some odd behavior, and I hope she figures out how wrong she is on all those different levels before it affects her daughter.

Colin and Jill Canada said...

Goodness. Some people are just plain scary - and not socialized.

I would dread this ever happening becasue I am kinda that 'too nice' person, you know the person that can't say no? I am all about avoidance! I'd love to know what you go back to stalker lady with.

And I like how you explained it to the Tongginator.

Jill

LucisMomma said...

You did just right. I like that "school friends only" phrase.

I have someone in my life like that, too. It *is* creepy. We are always, somehow "busy" when she calls. Love that caller ID.

pickel said...

So, she is not racist against the Tongginator but agaisnt AA's? crazy lady.

Great way to explain it to her...and I don't think her name is unusual, BTW.

jen@odbt said...

Yowza. That's tough. Some people lack those social graces. We have 'school friends' too.

Christina said...

Oh my word - what a freak! Wow. I think you handled it well, but I don't think she's going to get the hint until your straight up tell her you don't want to hang with her. Good luck!

Wendy said...

I've never had a stalker mom who was the parent of one of my daughters' friends, but I have had a big-time creepty stalker who was the parent of one of my students. She called my house all the time to attempt to gossip to me about other students in my class, a lot of TMI personal stuff, etc., and would be on the phone for hours despite every attempt I made to get rid of her. I finally had to have my older daughter call the house phone from her cell, so the call waiting would click. Then I'd lie and say I had an urgent call. She'd also come into my classroom to volunteer with a steno pad and take notes on all the kids in my class (I put a stop to that right away). The next time she volunteered, she made A LOT of copies. Of stuff I didn't even need copied.

These people have no social graces, can't take no for an answer, and are best left completely ignored. Eventually they go away. I'm just glad mine never showed up at my door, though she did want to "hang out" with me over the summer. Ick.

Asianmommy said...

I'm with you--just be kind and extremely busy all the time.

Carla said...

um...wow...

and love the response to Tongginator about "school friends only"

Anne said...

Coming from your misanthropic friend: there are some people you don't WANT to like you. Embrace that you'll make her not like you. You're very good at 'firm, but kind', so go with it and avoid her like crazy.

=) And take that nannycam and install it over the front door so you can ignore the knockin'!

Jamey... said...

Okay, I'm definitely happy that I didn't get labeled as the stalker because I was a little worried! :) Secondly, oh my gosh, when you told about the birthday party it made me so angry. The first time I find out that MY daughter doesn't get invited to a party because she's not white...I'm going to freak out...I already started planning my freak out speech! :)

Laurie said...

This was a great post! Like others have said, I really like your "school friends only" description. I've had some issues with my daughter playing at houses that, well, let's just say had different rules than our house has. And if I ever found anyone who talked more than I did I'd run far, far away. She'd have to be crazy! :)

planetnomad said...

I think you handled it well. In future, keep being busy (how freaky she knew about the cancellation!) and polite but firm. Keep it up! Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Is it possible a mental illness is at play here? The lack of boundaries, extreme persistence, lack of social awareness? Maybe, maybe not. I mean this sincerely BTW. I would continue in your friendly but assertive manner.

Jill C.

Pug Mama said...

say what?!
I can't seem to get over the fact that she showed up at your home UNINVITED. The nerve. That would make me very upset, especially since she was emailing you and calling you about that particular day and hadn't gotten through to you ----- so she decide to just SHOW UP?!
I am a direct person, so I say if she continues to stalk you - be direct with her and let her know that you don't have the time for another relationship in your life (the friendship she is so desperately trying to form with you)
This doesn't sound like the type of person you can just continue to be friendly with, and then move away from slowly ---- because she has no boundaries (showing up uninvited)
sounds like the type of person you will need to be very direct with.

The Byrd's Nest said...

You just be you.....you have the right to say who your daughter plays with...praise God...we have control over that right now. I feel sort of sorry for this poor little girl because her Mom is going to run off any friends she may have....so sad. I think you did the right thing...big hugs:)

Sherri said...

I'm not big on play dates at all with moms that aren't friends. It seems that the other mom is always the one who benefits (she's running late when she said she'd be there for pick up, or has to cancel when it's "her turn") I love kids, and as you may remember, I used to be a teacher, so even a number of kids doesn't bother me. It can just turn into a situation where you are held hostage in your own home. I prefer to meet at a park or a neutral place.

Friend, you need to trust your gut. It has properly warned you before (the creep in the coffee shop). If something doesn't feel right, go with that.

Chandra said...

I have dealt with racist moms, I just happened to invite a child of the racist moms objection to my house on the same day I invited her child :) haha The child was not allowed at our house again. hmmm Wonder if that would stop your stalker?

Von said...

You did right, can't have a racist in your lives.Get stalker friends sometimes but you have to be firm and draw well back for your own protection and safety.You did right!!

Mamatini said...

Yikes. I wouldn't know the first thing about getting out of that 'friendship'. But clearly your Momma-dar is up and it seems like you are responding properly. Especially about the 'school friends' thing. For one, as you say, the child is pleasant and not to blame for her mother, and for another, she may end up in T's class some year, and you'd hate to have created any animosity between them.

Good luck!

Kristen {RAGE against the MINIVAN} said...

Derailing for a moment - but this is what I love about you. In my gooogle reader, I scroll down to read your amazing post at GIMH again, noting how much I still eat up every word of it, how much you make me think, etc. And then I scroll down and find this hilarity. You make me think. AND laugh. My favorite combo.

And yeah, the stalker mom. Wow. That's bad. I've had a few, but mostly people who feel like they know me really well from the blog when in fact we've never spoken.

And the non-anonymous names - relate to that one, too.

Briana's Mom said...

I have had problems in the past with being too nice to people and keeping friendships way longer than the point of expiration. You did the absolutely right thing. Especially now - that invitation thing is blatant and I wouldn't be friends with her at all either. End it now and don't look back.

AwesomeCloud and family said...

Nobody ever stalks me. One woman said she was going to, and I was all for it, but I haven't heard from her since April.

I think I'm too weird. Hmm. This woman, and one of her friends who I also haven't heard from in a while, go around stating how weird they are, in that way that makes you wonder how narrow their definition of 'normal' is that they can place themselves inside it. I think I kinda break their worlds somehow.

If I were to stalk them, maybe they could tell you how they handle me. But I won't.

Johnny said...

Eewww!

Larissa in Country Western Australia said...

I like what Chandra said - invite the AA children out to play on the day "stalker mom" wants to play and she may change her mind quick smart! Othewise you can go freaky on her - you could go into TMI about how you want to adopt a child from every ethnicity and make it a truly multicultural family or some other thing which could make her highly uncomfortable...just like she is making you!

Erica said...

Not a stalker mom. I was stalked by another single woman. Uber creepy. She had no boundaries and would come between me and my existing friends (that I introduced her to) and she would spread lies about me while segragating me by myself. I would home after being away all day (work, school, gym) and find her sitting on my stoop. Who knows how long she was there. Very creepy. I like to work out alone, but when she "caught" me at the Y alone she yelled at me in front of everyone as if we were some sort of couple. As far as I know she was straight, but wow, creepy.

Now that I have a child I dont' do playdates. I work full time and I want to spend the rest of my time with him and our extended family. He's in daycare and that suffices for play dates.

Do you get the feeling your daughter was especially singled out because of her race? I know people try to befriend us all the time because "he's so cute" and all that crap. Our family story was on the Today Show so a lot of people think they know us. Creepy.

Annie said...

I think you handeled it great! I have had similar situations (not the racist part - ugh) but situations where I just do not feel as comfortable around the Mom and eventually the relationship fades. You did the right thing!

Anonymous said...

Oh. My. God. How do people like that still exist in the world? Sounds like you handled it perfectly to me. Especially in how you told your daughter. Good luck...

Anonymous said...

Sigh, sorry, phone didn't take the login. Above comment is me (i hate anonymous comments!) -Eileen givingherallshesgot.Wordpress.com

The Gang's Momma! said...

Snarf. I like Aus's idea of a smack down. That would be a great fundraiser.


JUST kidding. KID.DING.

Yeah, we have a different yet similar situation going on here. Nothing quite as extreme, just keep getting a vibe from a mom that she doesn't respect our values or our "strictness" and I am tired of feeling condescended to. Like it's so cute that I think I can control or monitor what my kids watch, listen to, wear, read, etc. Like "Oh, aren't you the sweetest thing to be so concerned about all that AND still find time to make homemade cookies in your denim skirt while homeschooling your boys and taking in orphans from around the world." Yeah. Not quite that blatant, but yeah.

So, we keep busy. Which, admittedly, with five kids and family near by isn't terribly hard to do. Or I invite the daughter here and limit the time.

Thankfully, the mom isn't a chatty patty once she isn't on the phone. AND they are the "live in the van, slaving to the gazillion million activities that her kids Must. DO" kind of family. They kinda toss her out the door on the way to the next thing and run in and grab her on the way out now.

I think you handled it well. I just hope she's not computer saavy and finds your blog :) Heh.

The Gang's Momma! said...

And for the record? I do not own a denim skirt. And I don't make homemade cookies in the summer.

Debby said...

Wow, very scary. I think you handled it really well. When school starts I would speak to the teacher or someone and make sure they know that your daughter doesn't spend any time with this Mom at all. So glad to hear that her daughter is liked. What a pushy insecure person. So sorry you have experienced this. Good luck and ((((HUGS))))

cw said...

WOW- just WOW

Aunt LoLo said...

UGH. There are a few, umm...well, a few Moms that I've met lately that I'm keeping at the end of a long leash, so to speak. Women who earn my polite chit chat, but I am OH so guarded around them. They haven't even done anything as blatant as Stalker Mom. They just freak me out.

The woman sounds...misguided, to say the least, and under the (false) impression that her company is both desirable and superior. *sigh*

Don't return her calls, if you must return e-mails, wish her a good day and ignore all of her questions, bubbling instead about something else that has nothing to do with her. ("We're sure enjoying our summer, hope you have a great one, too!")Push her back out, and eventually she'll get bored (Does it sound like I've done this before? hehe)

Janet said...

Oh yes, I've dealt with a stalker before...not fun. Not fun at all. I think I had to get past my "politeness" (and we Canadians are VERY polite....;-)) and put down my foot. Then she finally got it. But it took awhile. And honestly, I am glad now. Because she is an odd duck who likes drama WAAAY too much. And since I am enough drama all on my own, I think it's not a good idea to add more...:-)

Good job. Protecting your family is what matters most in this situation. Don't worry...she'll get over it an dmove on to stalk someone else soon.

Janet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
a Tonggu Momma said...

Jill C. ~ Yes, mental illness totally could be at play. Dory and I also mentioned perhaps something on the autism spectrum (although her eye contact is stellar). But, having spent time with her, I think it more probably an extreme lack of boundaries, especially since (thankfully) I haven't heard from her since she stopped by unannounced. Yet more proof that I have a very expressive face. Heh.

Natalie said...

I've been reading your blog for a while now, but I haven't commented. This post makes me feel like I should come out of "lurker-land!" I really enjoy the links you post. As a future adoptive parent, I feel like a sponge just trying to suck up as much information as possible, and it's nice to find such good stuff. And of course, your stories are very entertaining, as well!

Mahmee said...

If your Stalker Mom was a Stalker Dad and actually lived right next door to you then, you would be...ME! I feel your pain and other than moving, I haven't come up with a great solution as of yet. And I'm actually not afraid to uh, speak my mind on occasion (ahem).I can commiserate at least, other than that...I've got nothing.
M.

Andrea said...

Here's a helpful article on how to turn down "awkward" situations our children might be invited to join. http://www.feminagirls.com/2010/07/19/sending-regrets/

Terri said...

Hi, I've been reading your blog for awhile (stalking?) but don't think I've commented before.

We don't have anyone who stalks us, but we definitely are starting to have the problem of people who want to be our friends to prove to themselves that they're not racists. One woman in our neighborhood always seems to come out to chat with us when we walk by (is she watching out the window? If so, I guess that is a little stalker-like). She's the kind of person who has to tell us about all the black people she's known or "helped" through her church. The other day, she began a statement with "We're not prejudiced but" and ended it with "the n-word." I couldn't get down the driveway fast enough. Time to find a new walking route!