Is this being ungrateful or do I have a point?

(35 Posts)
1978andallthat Thu 27-Dec-12 22:23:03

Not putting in aibu as don't like the flaming there. But would love some gentle opinions.

My parents go over the top. Not just at Christmas, all the time. They are very. very generous and we appreciate it - but there is never anything they don't buy. Dd's bday just been and Christmas and they got her so much I feel it diminishes what we get her but also spoils her. Given they are also always saying how much stuff we have for the small size of our house it also doesn't help with that.

But it's not just big stuff. For example, I got dd one of those magic flannels that expand in the bath. Cheap as chips and a great stocking filler. Except they got her two for her stocking. Sure, nothing wrong with having three flannels but I wanted to be able to get her something fun she'd think of as from mummy and daddy.

Or on Christmas morning it was as if our pile of presents all of which I'd thought about lots and which wasn't a small pile but also hadn't cost too much, was just eclipsed by sheer volume when we got to their house. This is all after a conversation about please not getting her too much or things that take too much room.

I know this all sounds ungrateful. It's not meant to. But I want, as dd's mummy, to be able to get her things sometimes that are not then repeated by my parents. Eg we went to the Olympics this summer and I spent ages in the shop looking for an affordable and long term souvenir for her and found a great £10 bus and taxi in a tin with Olympic logo set. Got home and my mum, who had been on another day, had got her the same tin and an Olympic jacket and another Olympic souvenir for Christmas. Well now it's as if the special Olympic souvenir from mummy and daddy is meaningless.

Am I being awful and ungrateful? Would it be reasonable to bring this up with my parents? I think it would upset them but dd is only 2 and I don't want this to carry on for years and years.

smile4me Fri 28-Dec-12 19:35:21

Oh yes can totally sympathise... my parents are the same except luckily they live in another country. Still doesn't stop DM sending over heaps of things. Totally dwarfs what we buy for DD! And to make it even worse she sends over expensive clothes, mainly pink dresses and very girly things that I can't stand and feel obliged to put them on DD just because she sent them over and they were expensive. We live on a farm and DD is outside a lot so really totally not practical!
TBH they were totally the same with us when we were kids, which was fantastic when we were little, but I just found it embarassing and hated as I got older, although my sister is now extremely materialistic because of it! No joke if I don't send her something expensive enough for birthday/christmas etc she throws a hissy!Really don't want DD to be like that.

dizzydixies Fri 28-Dec-12 19:42:15

smile4me - by the time I reached DD3 I didn't care what was practical! Send her out in the pink frilly dress and wellies. Let her roll about in the mud in it. Send the photos over to your parents grin

BiddyPop Tue 08-Jan-13 10:56:51

We had the opposite situation - there was nothing from my side of the family under the tree on Xmas Day (despite us seeing them in advance) - in fact, by mistake, they had taken things that aunts had given us at my Gran's house the Sunday before with them to their house, so we only got those on 29th.

My mother feels that DD is "spolit rotten" as her birthday is on 26th, and on her 2nd birthday we were in their house so all my and DH's siblings were there and giving both birthday and Christmas presents so my mum was basically jealous about it all (and that, despite her being the hostess, it was all about DD that day - well it WAS her birthday!!). Not that she got tonnes of useless or expensive stuff, just that most people gave her something for each and there are a lot of siblings.

So now, based on that 1 year that Mum saw, my mum insists on something small for Christmas, and SHE buys a shared gift on behalf of my parents and siblings, with 1 sibling allowed to buy additionally as she's godmother. And having asked what DD wanted, and me telling her very specifically (a particular type of cycling helmet good for safety but also kinda cool that DD would love), she went off and got one less than half that price as it had a similar picture on the side but was specifically NOT to be used for cycling!!! (DD got a bike from Santa and her old helmet was falling apart).

We would have gotten her the other one ourselves!!

My siblings have all said they'd like to give her something from themselves - but are afraid to go against Mum. And we'd be happy too - they usually think of practical things like clothes or books (she's growing - again - and as much of a book-hound as I was, which really helps her settle to sleep, just like me!!).

girlywhirly Tue 08-Jan-13 15:17:23

I don't think it's ungrateful, it can be overwhelming for the DC as well. With people who still don't heed your wishes after you've asked them nicely not to go mad with gifts, you could use them to your advantage. I would have a sneaky peek at the gifts in advance if possible and see what you can hold back if you can be sure the DGP's won't remember half of the things they bought, you could put them away for another child's birthday gift or as a treat gift for your own during the year. With clothes, if there are any you can't stand, either send the DC out to play in them or to playgroup/nursery. They are only going to get covered in mud/paint/food/wee/poo etc. You can keep saying that things are still too big, then they are not right for the season, then they are now too small because of a growth spurt, etc as reasons for why they are never seen wearing the items.

Or sell new toys and clothes on Ebay to fund things you do want/like.

DontmindifIdo Tue 08-Jan-13 15:50:40

BiddyPop - why do you and your siblings go along with this???? Assuming they are all adults, why can't they just talk to you and you say "actualy, rather than getting a joint gift with mum this year, could you get DD X?" (something not too expensive) and then just inform your mum that your siblings are "doing their own thing this year" or she can put their names on the cards if she wants, even if they get something else.

sounds very controlling of your mother and you all act like it's her choice to make...

BiddyPop Tue 08-Jan-13 16:15:04

Don't mind - don't even get me started on her. I have started to stand up for myself, and the others are slowly making small steps, but she IS very controlling and domineering - and likely to go off into her room to "rest" (i.e. sulk and watch tv) if her wishes are not being followed and she is not being seen as the Queen Bee in the centre of it all!!

My 37 year old DSis had intended driving to our city (they live 160 miles away) on the Sunday beforehand to visit our Gran (lives in our city) and had offered us (DH, DD and I) a lift so we could both have a glass of wine with lunch and relax. But at 7pm the night before (and she was only told on the Thursday about the event), Mum rang her to say that another Sis had dropped out (knowing she wouldn't be back in time for the carol concert her choir were doing) so there were now only my 6'4" Bro and 6'1" Bro in the back seat of the car for the trip - so she should come with them. Dinner was in 90 mins and she should arrive by then. DSis was still in the house she shares with other renters, no packing for Christmas done (she'd end up not back in her own house), presents to wrap or at least gather together, and travel the 45 mins to my parents house - she got a phonecall 87 mins later to ask "where was she, dinner was being served?" - this in a house where NOTHING ever happens when it is scheduled to (Christmas dinner, timed for 6pm, was served at 8.45!). But she went and had to ring me Sunday morn to say she wouldn't be able to bring us after all (no prob, we're used to 1 driving).

So standing up to her is more difficult and a lot more drama than it's worth, unless it's an orchestrated campaign with all of us on board.

I have a feeling though, from a range of discussions over Christmas THIS year, that a lot of things will be different NEXT year!!

DontmindifIdo Tue 08-Jan-13 16:30:23

You need to all stand up to her, more likely, start just doing what you want and informing her, not discussing arrangments with her. So you and siblings decide what you are doing for gifts and make arrangements for meetng up where she doesn't control them,so she's a guest, not a host.

You don't have to have a big stand off, or even discuss a lot in advance, deliver things as done deals, she can accept invites or decline them but you get your invite to her in advance of any chance for her to do it. (ideally with acceptances/declines from your siblings before she's had chance to discuss with them), then it's up to her what she wants to do, but you wont let her change plans.

You can sell this to her as "oh, you're the gran now, it's not fair of us to dump all the work on you as host, so you dno't have to worry anymore."

BiddyPop Tue 08-Jan-13 16:37:43

I know (and sorry for thread hijack). We're trying, but as the siblings are spread geographically (only 1 lives at home, another close, us 3 hours away and the other 3 overseas), and DH and I are the only ones who own a home, it's tricky to organise anything OFF their home turf.

But there is more awareness and the siblings are actually talking to each other independently of her nowadays, so there is more organising being done away from her earshot and for things that we want to do.

(And I am far enough away that she can't yell at me physically, and I have learned to put down the phone or physically walk away if necessary, which seems to be giving the others some courage too grin).

nailak Tue 08-Jan-13 16:49:32

cant you tell your siblings it doesnt have to be christmas for them to give gifts?

BiddyPop Tue 08-Jan-13 17:13:44

We're working on that. We are also working on - shock, horror - re-writing the "rules" on OUR KK and stocking exchange. We started it, Mum took over the "management", and is now taking all the credit for it with wider family who have started something similar in straightened times. And as she lost the stockings this year (I sewed 9 about 3 years ago for everyone, and have to make another 1 for next year anyway) - she no longer has any right to be involved as far as we are concerned!! grin (If I didn't laugh, I'd cry!).

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now