How to keep the grandparents in check...

(59 Posts)
MamaBear17 Sun 29-Sep-13 09:09:35

....in the nicest possible way?. My DD is 2. She is my parents first and only grandchild and my PIL's second of 2. We are so lucky, because they both adore DD and thoroughly spoil her. However, at Christmas, I wish they would just back off a bit. I think the problem is that when DH and I were little, neither family had much money. However, both sets of grandparents are better off than we are now and want to spend a fortune on DD. I am grateful, but it is overwhelming and ends up treading on the stuff that we do. An example would be the 'Advent Calender', last year we bought DD a lovely wooden calender that we could fill with our own treats. I managed (just) to convince my own mum not to buy DD a chocolate calender, but MIL bought one and gave it to DD even though I asked her not to. It is only a small thing, but it is annoying. DD doesn't need two, and we want the wooden one to be special. The same happened with the stocking, we bought her a lovely, personalized one, hoping to start a tradition, we told everyone about it, but she ended up with 5!! All of them personalized with her name. All of them filled with the same type of stockingy presents that we had already bought. This year, as with the two previous years, we are going to PILs on Christmas morning for breakfast and my parents in the afternoon for dinner and, if the two previous years are anything to go by, DD is going to have huge piles of presents at both houses that dwarf what 'Santa' has bought her. MIL also insists that 'Santa' has bought the gifts at her house too which I find annoying. I just want them all to follow our lead a bit more, and I want to be able to tell them they are getting carried away and treading on things that we are doing but without hurting their feelings. They do mean well, but we are the parents. I have already tried suggesting that DD goes to stay overnight with each set of grandparents and they can do special things together rather than just buy her loads of stuff. It seems to fall of deaf ears though. What do I do?

turkeyboots Mon 30-Sep-13 06:48:48

I have this problem with the in-laws too. Compounded by the fact they are divorced so end up with 2 giant piles from them, plus what Santa brings and my parents (also divorced) and other relatives.

MiL now has 4 grandchildren and has maintained the volume of presents by getting cheap tat which breaks on first use. FiL swears he'll buy one thing but doesn't tell sMiL who goes mad at Christmas every year and buys everyone at least 10 gifts each. Nothing thoughtful or considerate though.

It's deeply frustrating and DH speaks to them about it every year. And gets ignored, or told (in September) that they've bought everything already. I do a huge charity shop run in early Jan every year which feels sad.

turkey does your DH tell them it ends up in a charity shop? Or are they only concerned with the "wow" factor at present opening time? It's a bit sad really.

derektheladyhamster Mon 30-Sep-13 07:57:16

It has taken years! But the boys are now 13 and 10 and for the last few years it's calmed down grin mainly because they now have granddaughters aged 6 and 4

JerseySpud Mon 30-Sep-13 09:44:02

My parents are a bit like that so now i send them DD1's list and they ask what to get DD2 and its all from santa smile

SugarHut Mon 30-Sep-13 12:12:39

This will never change, it's what grandparents do. My mother even had nursery curtains made whilst I was mid doing his nursery (my scheme was blues and creams, she disliked) she waited for me to leave the house, went in armed with curtains, poles, huge glass finials and I returned to these fucking things (green, brown, cream vintage sketched animals) hanging proudly in his room. She "accidentally" left the invoice for them behind, (4 digits) so I would be silently guilt tripped into leaving them there and not hoiking them down, as she knew I would usually do. I then had to redecorate my blue walls to match HER curtains.

Don't get me started on Christmas.

But, it's not a first world problem. It can be overbearing, and they can tread on our toes, and they can infuriate us. They will always see their way as having the best intentions, and feel snubbed when we try and explain that sincerely they are lovely but being an utter pain in the arse.

My advice, after 5yrs of it, just live with it. No, you shouldn't have to, but realistically, the underlying friction you cause if you try and say something, no matter how right you may be, will be way worse than the situation now.

Oceansurf Mon 30-Sep-13 12:19:56

I think you should do Christmas Eve/Christmas Day in your own house for starters. Then it's your traditions, your day. Both sets of parents had their time - with you and your husband.

Then you could do the alternating thing on Boxing Day. However, you need to put your foot down about the presents definitely. I don't think you should pussy foot around. Just ask them directly. I'm sure most reasonable people would rather keep the parents happy too. If they'd really rather spend that much on them, then surely they could put that ££ amount in an account instead?

FWIW we're staying at home this Christmas for precisely this reason. As a family ourselves now, I don't see why we should be traipsing around at Christmas.

Oceansurf Mon 30-Sep-13 12:22:23

oh, just read one of your updates..what the hell is your MIL doing buying Christmas Eve pyjamas??!! That really is stepping over the mark imo. That's what you do for your own kids. That in itself would piss me right off.

CMOTDibbler Mon 30-Sep-13 12:27:14

If they don't want to give money, but want to spend more, how about asking for a season ticket to the zoo/National trust membership / Merlin passes or something else that you can all get pleasure out of all year

MamaBear17 Mon 30-Sep-13 17:38:14

Both sets of grandparent just get carried away. MIL wants to treat DD as though she is her own. It is very kindly meant, she was the same with me when dh and I got together and, when we married, asked me to consider her as a sort of second mum. I love her to bits, but find her hard to talk too because she isn't good at listening to things she doesn't want to hear. She doesn't mean any harm, just can't see that she is treading on our toes. If im honest, i do think she finds it hard not being 'the mum'. That is why I wanted advice on how to talk to them because I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, but at the same time, in fed up of feeling pushed out. She seemed fine when we chatted on Sunday, hopefully it will all work out. Next year we are hoping to have Christmas at home so hopefully it will be easier.

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