To slightly resent being asked for things in this situation

(19 Posts)
PilatesAvoider Tue 18-Mar-14 15:41:53

Inspired by the stingy vs savvy thread, I am wondering what the views are on this issue in my own family.

My cousin has a well-paid professional job. In fact, she has one of those jobs where you mention the title and people would say 'oh, he/she must be well off'. However, she has chosen not to ever work full time, even before she had children. She is the main wage earner, but because she works PT their income is moderate, I would guess about �35 k.

Her DH had a very poorly paid job when they met and got married. He then did an access course, returned to university and graduated. He then worked for a couple of years before returning to university to do another undergraduate degree in a completely different field, something which is low paid (will always be under the average wage) but requiring a high degree of committment. So they have taken decisions that he will do this and they will pay the necessary fees and living expenses while he is studying. He has not worked at all during either his first or his second degree.

They belong to a group of people where there is a lot of handing down items. I agree with this in principle, as I am quite happy to pass things on via freecyle, buy from charity shops, ebay etc, but it seems that they literally only ever get something if it is free of charge these days and are increasingly coming across as a bit grabby. Likewise, I don't really see them passing much on.

My cousin has just had a second baby and the other day texted and asked me for some particular baby items. I am not keen to give them, as she knows that I am hoping to have a second baby as soon as possible myself. She is aware that I have fertility issues and I think it is a bit tactless to ask for our baby things in these circumstances. However, I am genuinely delighted for her that she has had a second baby and bought them a nice gift, which I posted as soon as the baby was born. I will also be taking further baby gift items when we go to see the baby.

However, what really irritates me is that when our first babies were born, hers was a bit older and she said to me that I could have a pack of bedding as she had bought more than she needed and did not have the receipt. I asked her if she was sure, as I could quite happily buy it myself and checked if she would want it back. She clearly said, 'no, they had plenty and would not be needing it back'. However, some time later, she made a big issue about wanting back the bedding in question - asking me via phone and text. At that point I had already packed it away in the loft and it was a real nusiance to sort through all my baby things and find those particular items. I eventually found it and posted it back to her - a huge amount of faff for an �8 packet of bedding which I regret ever accepting from her!

AIBU to slightly resent her asking for these items, given that they seem to be continually on the hunt for freebies, yet the only time she freely offered to give me something as a permanent gift, she wanted it back ASAP?

MuddlingMackem Tue 18-Mar-14 15:48:07

YANBU. It would annoy me too.

Coffeethrowtrampbitch Tue 18-Mar-14 15:51:35

Yanbu. Does she know you definitely have these items still? If not, I would claim they are on loan to a friend and you will ask for them back. Then just say that they have not returned them yet every time she keeps asking.

Or just say you don't want to lend them out. You don't have to give a reason, these are your things not hers.

flipchart Tue 18-Mar-14 15:52:25

I would just send a text saying ' sorry, I'm struggling to get my hands on it now, you'll have to ask someone else.'

( in fact I did this in a similar situation and although I felt arkward it was never mentioned again)

BigPawsBrown Tue 18-Mar-14 15:54:20

Is she a lawyer? I am a lawyer and the "you're a lawyer! You can get the drinks in" comments annoy me. You don't really know what she earns and it's her choice to work part time.

I don't think the bedding sounds like a very big deal, was it? 20 mins in the loft sorting it out?

I would however be outraged by her presuming it'll take you a while to conceive - that's nasty!

expatinscotland Tue 18-Mar-14 16:01:40

Just tell her no! No need to make excuses. 'I don't want to pass that on."

ArtexMonkey Tue 18-Mar-14 16:05:57

If you have things, and aren't using them, i really don't see what is so appalling about a close friend or family member asking to use them. You are free to say no, you are free to ask for them back when you need them again (as she did).

All this what hours she works, what she earns, what he earns is totally irrelevant and none of your bizz tbh. If i give people stuff it's done freely and out of friendship. sometimes people reciprocate and sometimes they don't - i don't keep score, i don't know what they earn or what hours they could work and i don't care. don't get into this arrangement if you don't want to. It's not obligatory.

MothershipG Tue 18-Mar-14 16:12:36

YANBU, I think asking is cheeky, all the rest is not really relevant. How they choose to live their life and what they choose to spend their money on is up to them, as long as they don't expect you to provide.

PilatesAvoider Tue 18-Mar-14 16:38:18

I included the info about life/work choices in order to illustrate that this is not a needy family and one which could be viewed as having chosen to be less financially comfortable than they could be. But fair enough, they live their life; I live mine.

The other element to it is that they are church-goers, so the 'freely receiving freebies' side of things is accompanied by a theme of this being God providing for and blessing them...One conversation with her did veer dangerously close to her implying that 'some people' prioritise money over more important things. hmm

Last year I did have a big clear out of baby things (before she was pregnant and when there was no sign that she might be having a second baby) and offered and gave away quite a few things to couples who were having first babies, whom I knew were on low incomes. So I have no problem with passing things on - it is just that the clothes and items that I now have left are the ones that I really want to keep and am a bit gutted that they don't currently have a warm little baby inside. sad

I am going to say no, but feel a bit irritated all the same. Hopefully, for the sake of our relationship, I will only express this irritation on MN!

expatinscotland Tue 18-Mar-14 16:43:37

Yep, say no and set firm boundaries with her in the future. Don't give her opportunities to freeload.

ArtexMonkey Tue 18-Mar-14 16:45:28

Just say 'sorry, i gave all my stuff away last year'

It's ok to say no. You don't need to justify giving things away to others either - it's neither here nor there that it didn't look likely that they'd have a second baby. You gave your stuff away to people who weren't them and that is TOTALLY REASONABLE. It was your stuff!

Likewise, it's ok for them to ask, and it's ok for them to be recipients of other people's stuff. If they make rude remarks about your choice to work, or irksome religious comments, that's all separate issues.

I hope you have another baby of your own soon, good luck with ttc flowers

PilatesAvoider Tue 18-Mar-14 16:47:33

Thanks, Artex Monkey. I am 39, so need the luck!

flipchart Tue 18-Mar-14 16:50:51

Those that are saying its not a big deal lending things out if you are not using them are true to a point. However sometimes it's a bugger trying to get your own things back as I have learned to my cost.

I never lend things that I want to keep and gladly give things that I don't mind not seeing again.

NoodleOodle Tue 18-Mar-14 16:51:02

YANBU. This free exchange part of the relationship isn't working for you - it's a source of irritation so you should just not take part in it.

ArtexMonkey Tue 18-Mar-14 16:52:30

You're just a bairn really at 39 wink

Expat i think it's overegging it a bit to call it 'freeloading' tbh. Plenty of people pass things on to one another or give things away, both in my experience of rl and mn. It's just a nice thing for people to do for each other.

hunreeeal Tue 18-Mar-14 16:56:17

YANBU.

It's especially insensitive of her to request these things when you have fertility issues, and it was rude to give you things supposedly with no strings attached and then demand them back.

Sounds like the sort of church she attends may be one where you gain kudos for saying "We prayed for X material item, and lo and behold it was given to us!" (And they won't mention the unreasonable demands they made on others!) Is it a charismatic church? I'm reminded of what's known as prosperity theology.

I'd just text back and say "It's not possible I'm afraid, but good luck finding what you're looking for".

gertiegusset Tue 18-Mar-14 17:06:01

I used to like passing stuff around, it kinda pleased me to see stuff I'd bought being used by my mates for their kids and vice versa.
Now DS is passing loads of their first born stuff on to our friends DD who is expecting, it's lovely and friends DD is thrilled, some of the stuff has never been used, brand new, they just got given so much it never got opened and babies grow so fast.
I wouldn't have dreamed of asking for money or wanting anything back.

PilatesAvoider Tue 18-Mar-14 17:22:38

It is an evangelical church and there is a definite emphasis on 'God will provide', yet expecting quite hefty donations from worshippers...

I admit, there is a whole mix of things going on here: different beliefs, different paths in life..

ArtexMonkey Tue 18-Mar-14 17:44:20

It's one of those things isn't it? I guess if you weren't cousins, you wouldn't choose to have anything to do with her. Same with when you get stuck with annoying housemates in halls at uni, or sat with the same nobhead all the way through school just because your surnames start with the same letter. Just smile and mentally flick her the rods.

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