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To think if I say "I really don't want to dress the children the same - they're individuals" it should be respected?

(136 Posts)
MiaowTheCat Sun 28-Jul-13 21:12:56

They're not quite twins - 11 months between them. I've said from the start that I didn't want to fall into the dressing them the same thing, that I wanted to be careful that they didn't get lumped together as "the girls" and that they were free to have their own personalities and identities... the same sort of battle twin parents have. Although there are lots of hand-me-downs and clothes re-use going on - I've always made sure that there were a few unique outfits for DD2 so she doesn't get a childhood set of photos of her looking identical to DD1.

Said this to MIL in response to a direct question from her "Are you going to want them to wear the same thing ever?" Well yes, when they get to school they're going to be stuck wearing the same variations on school uniform for five days a week - but nope - I won't.

Last time MIL came to visit she bought them both outfits - big fuss about "oh I really struggled to find somewhere I could buy them the same thing"... gritted teeth, smiled politely, and I've made sure that when they've worn the clothes it's been on different days (so she's seen the kids in the outfits she's bought etc etc etc), and days when they've been on Skype to her so it's been gently obvious that I'm NOT going to do the Me and Mini-Me routine. Hoped it was a one-off.

Apparently it's not going to be. She seems to be determined that she's going to buy them identical outfits constantly and (as usual) hasn't listened to a word that me AND DH (for he feels the same as me) have said. It's not the identical outfits so much that's annoying me - but the totally ignoring our wishes and I have a horrid feeling she's going to try to do this with identical Christmas presents and the like too.

DH gets frequently frustrated that she'll smile whenever you tell her she's done something that has upset and then just continue repeatedly doing it anyway - so it's not just me on that point.

AIBU to be starting to get annoyed about it? AIBU to not want siblings to be dressed identically? I just think with the close age gap we DO need to be really careful DD2 doesn't get left in the shadow of her older sister anyway.

MrsDeVere Sun 28-Jul-13 21:49:06

DC4 & 5 are 2.4 years apart and people ask me if they are twins hmm

Granted, DC5 is a bit of hefter but really!

Sometimes I dress them alike without really knowing I am doing it confused

YouTheCat Sun 28-Jul-13 21:49:33

That is a bit crap of her. Don't pander to her. Don't use the outfits. She might even get the message eventually.

I never dressed my twins the same. But then they are boy/girl and ds has never had the legs for a skirt. grin

chesterberry Sun 28-Jul-13 21:50:24

I wouldn't worry too much if it is only your MIL doing this and your daughters have opportunities to be distinct and different most of the time.

There are 16 months between my younger sister and I and when we were little we were quite frequently bought identical or very similar outfits, such as the same dress in different colours, by my grandmother. We actually loved being able to dress the same and would often want to wear our matching clothes on the same day - we thought it was brilliant when people sometimes referred to us as twins!! Of course we still each had very much our own distinct personalities and my grandmother was aware of this, and as we became older she became better at buying us different things based on what we liked.

We were also frequently bought the same or similar gifts at Christmas (eg: both receiving a toy cat but one ginger and one grey, or both receiving mermaid dolls but one purple and one green-tailed) by relatives but I don't recall ever minding - we were best friends and liked to play together so it was usually a good thing to have two of a toy so we could both play. Buying gifts for children, if you don't have your own or know them well, can be difficult and if children are of the same gender and/or a similar age I think many feel it is easier to buy them the same than try and think of two suitable gifts. Of course our parents and people who knew us well didn't buy us identical toys (unless we asked for the same things, which we frequently did), they would buy things to match our individual personalities and we always had personal gifts on birthday.

As we got older the similar gifts/clothes thing became less anyway as we developed more distinct personalities, it was really only when we were under eight that this happened. I don't think you are necessarily being unreasonable to feel a bit annoyed if you have asked family and friends not to buy identical gifts/outfits if they keep buying them, but I think you'll just have to accept that some people think it cute for siblings to be dressed in matching outfits and stick to having them wear them on different days, at least until your children are old enough to decide whether they like it, or not, themselves. It's not worth making a big deal out of it.

hardbeingme Sun 28-Jul-13 21:52:10

i have twins i do not dress them the same, ever, but mil always buys them the same clothes - she is the only one who has.

In her case however it is pure laziness, i used to just let them wear the stuff on different days however as they have got bigger they recognise the t-shirt as belonging to whoever wore it first and the other won't wear it as well so basically one of them ends up with two identical tops.

That being said on their first day of nursery in matching uniforms they were very pleased!

as keen as i am for them not to be known as 'the twins' i still find a lot is that people assume they are the same without bothering to look - they are not identical they're not even alike people are just lazy.

ringaringarosy Sun 28-Jul-13 21:52:19

it did make me smile though in the op "not quite twins" lol

Blissx Sun 28-Jul-13 21:52:51

My sister is 7 years older than me and we were often dressed in the same outfits. Loved being a team. Really not a big deal and I don't think you need to worry about your two not being 'individuals', if they wear the same outfit occasionally. This is your issue, not theirs'. So for the 'odd' outfit your MIL buys, I don't see the problem.

I have 3 boys spread over 5 years. I have realised that they tend to dress themselves the same! Have worked out that if I say wash all the red t shirts they get put away (by the boys) on the top of the pile at the same time. The next day they are all in red shirts and blue shorts. The t shirts may be slightly different but they all look like I match them. Sometimes dh does the same. I have a whole matching family.

Chopchopbusybusy Sun 28-Jul-13 21:56:57

My DDs are 3 years apart and are still bought the same clothes by some relatives. My SIL always buys the same and my DDs are now 19 and 16! I thought it was occasionally cute when they were younger but TBH it's just not cute at all now.

LittleBearPad Sun 28-Jul-13 21:57:13

Why does it matter so much that they are never dressed alike. They are individuals, wearing the same dress won't change that. Pick your battles and don't stress about this one.

Dorris83 Sun 28-Jul-13 21:58:06

Totally off topic but: to mothers of twins: do you have separate wardrobes for them when they are babies or just bung all clothes together?

I mean, when they are older I guess you'll know that twin 1 likes dinosaurs and twin two likes cars and chose clothes that suit their personalities, but so you keep clothes separate when they are little?

OP don't you think that this will help your dd2 to have her own clothes from new, rather than hand me downs? She won't be in her older sister's shadow as they are her clothes. Also is there any harm in dressing them in the matching outfits, snapping a photo and then just having them wear different outfits. I put my DS in every outfit he gets as a gift even if I hate them just so I can send a photo to the person who gave them to us.
<shrug> I'm a pacifist smile

countrymummy13 Sun 28-Jul-13 22:00:15

My God, this woman sounds like a right witch. What is it with MILs?!

She is clearly doing this on purpose, hence the tags removed.

She's obviously got some weird bee in her bonnet. Let her get on with it. Put the clothes in the back of the wardrobe and continue to dress your girls in the clothes separately as and when you want to.

DespicableWee Sun 28-Jul-13 22:01:26

I find it faintly creepy when I see families out for the day and the children are dressed identically tbh. I can see the point from a safety aspect, if one ever gets lost and you need to tell the police what they are wearing, you don't have to rack your brain remembering what you grabbed out of the clean washing basket that morning, you just point to a sibling and say "that outfit". I just can't get away from The Shining aspect of it though, or the homogenised grouping and suppressing of individuality.

I know of a family with 4 daughters aged between 2 and 6 and on days out, they are all dressed the same. It is downright creepy. If just one of those girls were to silently tilt their head and look at me slightly quizzically, I would leg it and have nightmares for a week!

So no, OP, YANBU. Quite aside from the fact that you and your DP should have the final say in what your children wear. To have been asked not to buy identical outfits and continue to do so smacks of high handed superiority from your MIL. She has decided what she wants to do and will do it regardless of what is said about it.

You're their parent, dress them how you wish. The same way parents of twins or close siblings should be able to dress their children the same if they wish.

I dress my twins the same but it's blatantly obvious they are individuals through their personalities.

Also agree with other posters, you are being given gifts for your children. even if she is ignoring you requests Some people not so lucky to be in that position, don't knock it.

notnowbernard Sun 28-Jul-13 22:03:15

I think there are bigger things to worry about

What's wrong with referring to them as ' the girls' ?

OctopusWrangler Sun 28-Jul-13 22:07:56

Give it back or give it away. Tell her you've done it and tell her why. Every time. She'll learn eventually.

I think the frustrating thing about it that you would probably pass on the outfits, so that the younger one now ends up looking like she has had the same clothes on for two years! It's a waste because you will be sick of seeing her in it by then. I have 13 months between my two boys and I never dressed them identically tho they did sometimes co-ordinate iyswim. i.e. they may both be in a similar colour scheme or both be wearing polo shirts and shorts but different colours /styles. They did occaisionally end up with the same thing just because it was too good a bargain to miss, or because it was a sport top that they both wanted.

starfishmummy Sun 28-Jul-13 22:12:15

Unless the mil is in charge of buying all the clothes, then I would just say a polite thank you and then do whatever I wanted with them - keep both, one set or neither. No obligation for you to dress the children in them especially so she can see, either.

I am sure that when they are older they will probably tell her what they want anyway

The whole clothes issue is beside the point though, is it?

The point is that you've clearly told her you don't want them dressed the same and she is continuing to buy matching outfits, because she doesn't value your opinion or feelings and thinks that what she wants matters more. And your dh has also told her of things she does that upsets him, and she ignores him and continues to do them.

My mum used to buy bags and bags of clothes for dd, and ignored me when I told her we couldn't fit any more in the wardrobe, they were the wrong size or styles dd didn't like. I gave up doing the whole "wear it once and take a photo" malarkey. I decided that as M wasn't considering my feelings at all, I didn't need to worry about hers. I started taking the bags straight to the charity shop, without even wasting time on sorting through them. It was very liberating.

Mollie272 Sun 28-Jul-13 22:15:40

Dorris - when mine were new I just had a communal wardrobe for them - as long as it was clean I didn't give two hoots about keeping their stuff separate. As they got older, buying clothes got trickier - I tend to get similar things in different colours, but don't make them wear them at the same time - although as I said up thread, they do like to be the same. I mark their labels with their initals so I can remember whose is whose.

The benefit of boys is that they don't care what they wear, whether it used to be someone else's, if it is still someone else's, whether it matches or whether it is clean.

My two interchange clothes all the time as they basically take the same size and just wear the first thing they find.

All those who are saying that the OP is being given gifts - she isn't. The MIL is trying to control how the children are dressed because she knows best and her DIL isn't doing it how she wants. That's not a gift!

peggyundercrackers Sun 28-Jul-13 22:20:18

i think your over-reacting. just because your children are dressed the same doesnt mean they dont have their own identities. My mum dressed us the same as each other until we were about 5 but as kids we couldnt have been any different in the way we were.

NobodyPutsTomArcherInTheCorner Sun 28-Jul-13 22:20:45

Take the clothes, say thanks and just mix them about and use them at different times. The only way they'll be dressed the same is if you put them in the same clothes. I can't see a problem tbh.

Floralnomad Sun 28-Jul-13 22:21:39

I'd just carry on dressing them in the clothes on different days and I wouldn't mention it again , if she's anything like my MIL she's probably only doing it because she knows it winds you up ! If you don't rise to the bait she may well stop , you really do need to pick your battles and this is quite minor . Also I don't think it matters if they get the same Christmas presents at least there is no favouritism being shown . FWIW my mother dressed us identically on special occasions (3 girls in 4 yrs ) and we've all survived unscathed and me and the sister whom I'm only 16 months younger than are best friends as well as sisters .

When mine were little, I didn't even bother to seperate out the pants and socks - they were all clean and they just grabbed whatever was in the drawer. It's trickier now that they are older so obv want them to have their own underwear - but the take the same size and when you buy multipacks, it's hard to keep the colours unique to each child. The last batches of pants I bought were from next and some said "Next original" on them and the others were just "Next" so the elder got the first lot as he was the "original" child - makes splitting the laundry much easier smile

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