AIBU To NOT want to accept things from my MIL graciously?

(114 Posts)
Polarn Fri 11-Apr-14 18:33:00

Okay, okay, I know! I should be grateful that I have a nice MIL! But.....

She doesn't half buy us lots when she visits! I always just accept them and say thank you, but then moan to my OH about it later! He has told her in the past to stop but she doesn't listen, which is why I've eneded up just accepting. But it's driving me nuts! She comes maybe once a couple of months and the things she brings:

Food stuff for our cupboards, which is lovely but it''s usually the brands we don't buy like different teabags/beans etc... (Sounds really petty but I like my homecomforts and the brand I use are part of this. Plus I then begrudge buying what I like as I know I have 12 tins of Morrison's own beans in the cupboard!..... She also buys us bio detergent but I only use non-bio and feel a bit petty asking her to buy the other stuff when she's just being generous!

She buys us ALOT of crap! As in chocolates/biscuits/sweets for kids/fizzy drinks in 12can packs/fruit shoots for kids etc.... We don't generally have stuff like this in our house. We'll buy the odd cake or pack of biscuits as a one off treat but we don't buy it all the time as then we won't be tempted!..... I don't want to throw away the stuff she buys so I end up giving it away to people. It's either that or I eat the lot! I'm sure I put on a stone the last time they were here!

The last one bugs me the most. I should just be happy that she is spoiling the kids like GPs do. But every visit involves presents for DCs to open (clothes & toys).... They don't need any of it and her taste in clothing is completely different to mine!.... It's turning my DC in to expectant spoilt brats when they arrive!

I have tried asking not to in the past but it falls on deaf ears, so I now begrudgingly accept graciously!

Please tell my that IABU but also that I am not the only one out there that feels like this!

mercibucket Fri 11-Apr-14 18:36:26

foodbank the food

accept gifts graciously. you can rotate them or give old ones away

YABU. Very.

Give food and cleaning stuff to the local food bank if you don't want it.

The toys and clothes equally can be given to someone who needs it. Or you could keep them. I don't think it will ruin your dcs.

In the meantime it makes your MIL feel she is part of their lives and your life. It makes her happy and you sound quite selfish.

tigermoll Fri 11-Apr-14 18:38:32

I know how you feel. My soi disant mil does this and you know what? It's totally fine just to stick the whole lot in the bin when she's gone. It's no more of a waste to throw food away than it is to eat something you don't want.

PearlieQueen Fri 11-Apr-14 18:38:34

YABU. Accept with good grace then donate to food bank/charity shop

pianodoodle Fri 11-Apr-14 18:40:40

At least she's nice though!

I wouldn't mind the food at all. The presents to open I understand what you mean PIL do this every fortnight and the house is coming down with crap.

We all have to sit around and watch DD open the presents.

She will start to associate them with getting stuff plus I don't see the need for it anyway.

DH has spoken to them but apparently "that's what grandparents do" - they'd be better off spending actual time with her as they know very little about her to be honest. They bring stuff, take a few photos of themselves with her and that's it!

PearlieQueen Fri 11-Apr-14 18:40:47

Good god tigermoll, how can throwing away food ever be a good thing when people are going without?

littledrummergirl Fri 11-Apr-14 18:47:53

Sounds like my mil. I refuse to buy biscuits other than for school and know which brands I like.
We have solved this by:
Being very firm over what I will not allow dcs to wear, eg crop tops. This is easier now the dcs are older because they only wear what they like.
Allowing her to take the dcs shopping for clothes, shoes etc. I hate shopping and pick things up in the sales so its a proper treat for them. Ds1 in particular is vocal about where we source clothes- refusing to wear gap, tesco amongst others.
I let the dcs and dh have the biscuits. They like them and its only every few months.
Other brands are great for school fetes, harvest festival.
Mil now tells us that she wants to buy our supply cupboard so we go together to our shop.
Mil is lovely, she is just different to me. She loves her family very much and this is her way of showing she cares.
Fwiw it used to drive me nuts.

YouTheCat Fri 11-Apr-14 18:50:48

Definitely food bank anything you don't want.

Andanotherthing123 Fri 11-Apr-14 18:51:48

Yabu considering she visits 6 times a year and you say she's a nice person. Also, beware only having cakes and treats as a one off - I knew siblings who grew up in a household like that and they spent their adult lives searching for their next sugary fix.

Polarn Fri 11-Apr-14 18:55:07

Thanks smile.... I do sound selfish! But I'm not, I just get fed up of spending a fortune on food, then her turning up with more that I don't like.... it'd be different if she asked me what we'd like or if it was okay to do it but she doesn't I will food bank, great idea smile

O piano the presents thing really does bug me! My DC are starting to associate her with presents. I've asked her not to but she does anyway. I've tried explaining that she is encouraging the sort of relationship were they just expect something off her. She doesn't spend much time with them doing stuff, when they do it is mainly playing with toys! Grrr.

Discombobulatedbob Fri 11-Apr-14 18:59:34

What s great idea to give stuff to the food bank. We aren't picky esters but would want to eat healthily too so would pass things on too.

Polarn Fri 11-Apr-14 18:59:38

andanother they may only come 6 times a yr but they stay for 2weeks! Popping presents & chocs out every couple of's infuriating.

DCs also have treats more often, usually when we're out and about. I just don't like stockpiling them in the house where they're easily accessible.

Delphiniumsblue Fri 11-Apr-14 19:01:44

The food bank is the answer.

rinabean Fri 11-Apr-14 19:04:31

They stay for 2 weeks 6 times a year, ie they stay for nearly a quarter of the year? Omg

Polarn Fri 11-Apr-14 19:12:36

yes rinabean It's exhausting. Luckily they have a touring caravan so stay in that in a site 5mins down the road but they insist on seeing us all the time. I've now put my foot down about evenings and we only eat dinner with them a few times.... I keep telling them to go out for days out and explore the area but they never do!

TheHappyMonkey Fri 11-Apr-14 19:20:11

12 weeks a year of visiting?! That is properly batshit!

Kittymautz Fri 11-Apr-14 19:25:42

Tigermoll - of course it's a waste to throw away food!

Agree with other posters, anything you don't want, take to the food bank.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Fri 11-Apr-14 19:31:27

It's totally fine just to stick the whole lot in the bin when she's gone

No, it really isn't. Unless the food is fresh and going to go off (in which case give it to friends) it's really wrong to throw away food. What a waste.

I can see how this would be irritating OP, give the food to a food bank.

Morrisons own beans are fine honest! Tea bags I can see how you'd be fussy, they're quite a personal thing!

It's no more of a waste to throw food away than it is to eat something you don't want.

Nonsense! The food bank idea is a great one.

Just say thanks smile and donate to a food bank.

Polarn Fri 11-Apr-14 19:45:46

I'd never throw anything away. I give some stuff like washing powder & cans of coke to friends mainly (but I think it'd comes off as a bit rude if I started offering cans of beans and bacon).

The most annoying thing with the food is that a lot of it is crap, which she knows we don't like to eat... like fizzy drinks & crisps. They're a nono in the house but a treat if we go to a pub/restaurant.... I hate my son drinking fizzy drinks, esp coke!

I like heinz pobble.... plus I hate Morrisons as my local store made me cry when I was pregnant (another story!)

She peed me off this time as I was happily telling them how my OH and DCs had bought me some Baileys for mothers day smile They next day we went round to the caravan and I noticed a bottle of Baileys on the counter. I just said, oh you've brought some with you! (in a kind of "what a coincidence" sort of way) And she said, no I picked this up this morning for you just incase you wanted a drink here!.... Again, is she being thoughful and I should be grateful? Why would she buy ANOTHER bottle randomly (it's flippin expensive), like it's nothing. When she knew we had a bottle at home for a special occasion!

Polarn Fri 11-Apr-14 19:48:38

I think she just wants to feel more involved in our family, and this is her way of doing it?

DesperatelySeekingSedatives Fri 11-Apr-14 19:50:54

She sounds alright if this her worst crime you've done alright MIL wise grin

I'd donate the food and other bits you don't use. I hate waste and one person's not up to scratch is someone else's lifeline.

As for the stuff she gives your DC that's pretty easy depending on their ages. if they're little quietly hide what they don't need/wont really interest them and deny all knowledge before you donate/re-gift it or if they're older encourage regular clear outs of stuff with their help to give to those less fortunate. it means they're thinking of others and appreciate what they have and also you get rid of clutter. win win.

I think shes just trying to be nice with the baileys. Its the sort of thing my gps would do, keep something they know we like to drink in just incase we pop round.

They have a caravan in Mablethorpe we sometimes go to and they'll have left bits and bobs for the dc, bucket and spade, biscuits etc

DesperatelySeekingSedatives Fri 11-Apr-14 19:56:03

She peed me off this time as I was happily telling them how my OH and DCs had bought me some Baileys for mothers day smile They next day we went round to the caravan and I noticed a bottle of Baileys on the counter. I just said, oh you've brought some with you! (in a kind of "what a coincidence" sort of way) And she said, no I picked this up this morning for you just incase you wanted a drink here!.... Again, is she being thoughful and I should be grateful? Why would she buy ANOTHER bottle randomly (it's flippin expensive), like it's nothing. When she knew we had a bottle at home for a special occasion!

Eh? now THAT is ungrateful OP! she bought you booze just incase you fancied it. I want her as MY MIL! all joking aside I think that's nice of her. My inlaws buy me my tacky alcohol pop of choice when we visit them sometimes. they're being hospitable. MIL and I get suitably hammered together and she tells me gossip about the family she never would when she's sober. its great. seriously unclench.

winkywinkola Fri 11-Apr-14 19:58:32

So let the dcs associate her with presents. That's her look out.

You've asked her to stop and she won't. It will bite her on the bum one day.

Polarn Fri 11-Apr-14 19:59:07

Yeah I'm pretty good with clearouts! I keep hinting to MIL that I don't like clutter and that I do a toy cull every few months. My ds is 4 so he is starting to understand the meaning of giving away things he doesn't use/need/want. I'll get him in on the food bank too smile.... My dd is too young atm.

I also keep telling her that ds like to choose his own clothes, but this isn't really working.

I do accept graciously as I don't want her to feel bad but my OH thinks that we should just hand stuff back and say no. But she doesn't get it, and I feel rude sad

Polarn Fri 11-Apr-14 20:02:56

desperatelysekking yes, but it was a big deal for my OH and dc to buy that gift for me, for a special occasion.... it was their special thing to me. No one else should be getitng in on that. We only have it at christmas usually. But then she just buys it, not thinking of how this would make my OH feels. It'd be different if it was a bottle of wine or someting, to enjoy with her there, but it was exactly the same thing! It's not just some cheap alcopops.

riskit4abiskit Fri 11-Apr-14 20:06:05

What's with all the lovely mil bashing on here today? They all sound ace. Bet theres thousands of posters out there jealous that you have a loving relative.

I think you really need to get across to her how the children are going to start wanting to see them just for the presents and not for their presence. sad My mam used to have something for DC1 every Saturday when we visited and as he got older he started asking what Nana would have for him. I felt really bad telling her that she needed to knock it on the head as she was disabled and was compensating for not being able to do things with him by buying stuff. She understood and took on board what I was saying.

However, she did still get to buy them stuff until she got too poorly, but she would do it randomly and buy them clothes or toys which we wouldn't have got for them, so they appreciated the treats more as they were infrequent.

If your in-laws are up to taking the kids out I would try your best to explain this to her, but as they are fit and well could she channel it into special trips out that the DC wouldn't get to do with just you and their dad, or maybe trips to McDonald's and the like. Maybe not what you would choose, but a special treat or activity they can associate with their grandparents.

Mrs3chins Fri 11-Apr-14 20:14:46

She sounds exactly like my mil!! She has never worked and spends her time wandering the shops picking up what she considers to be bargains. We get given endless amounts of tat for us and DS but I'd hate for her feelings to be hurt so I have to display the ornaments/wear the clothes etc. although I've started to put my foot down because I realised a while back our house was full of stuff I didn't like and nothing was ours. I know I sound really ungrateful and horrible but to be honest it's quite draining!

Polarn Fri 11-Apr-14 20:18:04

thanks muddling.... It does worry me that the dc are starting to associate PIL with presents. OH has mentioned it, but it doesn't go in. MIL is very good at having selective hearing!.... I've sort of come to accept this and leave them to it. As pp says, more fool them.

They are able to take them out and do stuff but they'd rather just hang about their caravan as it's less tiring.

I'm not bashing them, I am grateful and they are lovely I am just wondering whether I should just be accepting something which is effectively annoying to me and wasting them money!

Polarn Fri 11-Apr-14 20:22:00

Do we have the same MIL mrs3chins?

I think that's it. She best shows her love through money. Which is fine, I am VERY rateful when people buy me and family gifts, even if I'm not keen on the gift (I'm sure I buy gifts for people that they're not keen on).... But this is a constant, it's not a one off. Which is why it annoys me and wonder whether we are both better off in the long run if I stop accepting the gifts/food.

fuckoffbeaker Fri 11-Apr-14 20:22:19

I was petulant and childish to my inlaws too when I was younger, then my lovely dad died and it really made me reflect on my childishness, and I grew up

Polarn Fri 11-Apr-14 20:25:23

I'm not petulant & childish! How am I in anyway like that towards them?.... I never bring up my grevances with them. Plus I lost my dad when I was a child! Was I to then grow up?

Do you know, quite honestly, in that case spending days with their grandparents at the caravan is something which the children would probably gain the fondest memories of, especially if they get to do it without you and their dad there. grin

It's true that our kids love spending time with their grandparents without us, we've learnt not be offended. wink

DesperatelySeekingSedatives Fri 11-Apr-14 20:28:17

But does MIL know that's how you feel? I mean its yucky Baileys not a Rolex. she wasn't to know its a big deal to you. most people I know including me would think "woohoo! bonus booze lets get ratted! bottoms up!" Rather than whinging that someone has "gotten in" on a present their OH and kids got them.

I'm trying to see it from your point of view OP really but sorry I just don't confused

BornFreeButinChains Fri 11-Apr-14 20:29:32

Tricky situation, I know what its like being loaded down with stuff you do not want, then have to find out what to do with it, but also think your MIL is really trying here to please you, the Baileys was so sweet and thoughtful.

My IN laws would never be so thoughtful with me, you drink what they serve....

Its a shame as you all do get on you cant just try and talk to her about it in a really diplomatic nice way..such a shame and such a waste of money etc..

Polarn Fri 11-Apr-14 20:40:44

Maybe she doesn't desperatelyseeking.... I was so happy when OH bought it. It is the equivalent to buying me flowers. I'd be peed if I'd got flowers, tld MIL about it and then she went out and bought me flowers too. Same thing.

I do need to chat to her, but, like I've said in the thread. I don't want to sound ungrateful. I've been brought up to accept gifts etc graciously, and I do. But it's getting out of hand and just wondered that if I did bring it up, would I be ungrateful..... Or maybe petulent & childish!

My DC love spending time with GPs at their caravan, yes they're away from us during this time. I really like that they love going and that they have a great relationship with GPs. I am worried though that as they get older the playtime will lose it's appeal but the expecting of gifts will still be there.

They are here next week (twice in one month!) I will try to chat to her then. OH is away, so it may be easier to do it without him around as he isn't very diplomtic with his mum!... She has driven him crazy since being a teen.

pianodoodle Fri 11-Apr-14 21:07:04

It shouldn't be too tricky as they sound like nice people.

My mum suggested when my PIL bring presents I could say "that's fantastic but as she has so much maybe we/you could put it away for xmas/birthday?"

Maybe that would help?

Unfortunately this wouldn't work with mine as they do seem to like the whole show of being the ones to give the presents etc...

They called over one day but I was out with DD and only DH was at home. They didn't leave whatever they had brought for her instead they waited 'til next time so they could present it themselves.

It's all a bit odd to me. My nan would have bits and pieces for us now and again, or have knitted something but not all gift wrapped presents every time we saw her, so I'm just not used to that and worry about spoiling.

Actually Polarn, the more I read, the more you are winding me up. Can you really not see how ungrateful you sound.

Your MIL showed she included and thought about you as one of her family and deserving of a present too when they bought that Balieys. Its not to undermine her own son ffs!

As a pp said, it's MIL's look out if the dcs only associate her with presents.

And it's her own money to spend as she sees fit, whether you approve or not! The only reason it is a waste now is because of how ungrateful you are. Luckily for her, she doesn't know that yet.

Nocomet Fri 11-Apr-14 21:41:42

Somehow, somewhere along the line my DM, managed to swap clothes we'd never wear into £2 a month pocket money, which 35 years ago was very much appreciated.

I don't know if you an do something similar.

My parents and DSIS tend to stick to Christmas and birthdays and ask what DDs would like. (And sadly I don't have any ILS)

Bedsheets4knickers Fri 11-Apr-14 21:43:59

Ha ha, my mil has bought me a Thorntons Easter egg. I don't like posh chocolate she knows this . I like cadburys . I'm well pissed off.

Famzilla Fri 11-Apr-14 21:47:48

You sound incredibly ungrateful and snobby. How dare she go and buy your favourite drink? The audacity!

Honestly, get a grip. Give the food you refuse to eat to a food bank. Give the clothes you don't like to charity. If she asks, tell her the truth. If you have already told her to stop and she hasn't, that's her prerogative. What you do with the stuff afterwards is yours.

Thorntons ain't posh once you've tried Hotel Chocolate I'm afraid


ENormaSnob Fri 11-Apr-14 22:08:00

Yabu and petty.

The baileys incident? Make you sound a right cock.

zipzap Fri 11-Apr-14 22:08:18

I think if you're on the end of this so repeatedly and it continued, despite being asked to stop, then it does sound pretty controlling behaviour from your mil.

Could you just leave all the stuff she brings you in the cupboard so that the next time she arrives laden down you can say oh crikey look we still haven't used the last lot - I was going to give it to you to use in the caravan'. and then (assuming use by dates are ok but if tins of beans etc then they should be) do it for 2 or 3 visits and see if they get the message! although a few well chosen comments from dc about why does granny only ever chose horrible clothes and food might helP to reinforce your feelings!

You could also suggest about instead of showering you with their favourite things, they could set up a regular savings account - £5-10 a month could build into something good for when they are older - much better to have provided the bulk of savings towards their first car rather than yet another bag of sweets or the gazillionth toy car!

Oh and leave a few toy presents at the caravan too due to overcrowding at your house,,,

theeternalstudent Fri 11-Apr-14 22:22:49

Your poor MIL. She is just being nice. I really don't understand why you would want to speak to her about it and upset her, for doing kind things.

A child's good relationship with their grandparents is invaluable. Honestly, your MIL buying them gifts won't spoil them. It's just her way of showing her love for them. As your kids get older (they are still very young now) they will develop their own relationship outside of yours with your MIL. Please don't try to control that too.

Really, I think your priorities are a bit confused. Your placing too much value on the gifts and not enough of a value on the relationship. Shame

kinkytoes Fri 11-Apr-14 22:37:39

I get this too (on a slightly smaller scale admittedly) but I feel exactly the same. It's suffocating. The generosity is outweighed by the extra hassle in my life sorting out what do with all the crap things we're given. As if I'm not busy enough!

Totally understand the Baileys thing too. She wasn't to know it was so special to you, and you can't really say anything, but I would have felt infuriated.

theeternalstudent I would counter that it's mil who's placing too much value on gifts, not OP.

Put your purse away mil!

Sazzle41 Sat 12-Apr-14 00:19:42

Foodbank would bite your hand off. Seriously, please google your nearest one.

MsAspreyDiamonds Sat 12-Apr-14 03:14:05

Foodbank or donate to local shelter or womens refuge but never throw food away as suggested upthread.

springydaffs Sat 12-Apr-14 03:15:09

Kids learn most from their parents and all indications are that you'll have some spoilt brats on your hands at a later date. Drowning in self-will, controlling to the nth degree their 'home comforts', eagle-eyed about 'allowing', they will remember a glimmer of someone with a warm and generous heart who clearly loved them to the point of ignoring their parents' draconian, controlling edicts. In which case, there may be some hope for them, poor kids.

LibraryMum8 Sat 12-Apr-14 03:23:05

YANBU IMO, but unless the food was really unhealthy I'd let your dc eat it. It would annoy me most that she called hers 'fresh food' while we all know she's implying yours is not! If your dc is old enough to know what she is talking about I'd somehow ask her to stop referring to her food as 'fresh'. I have no idea how you can do that nicely.

As far as her having people come in, I would be Hating that. I'd ask that to stop immediately. If she didn't I'd definitely find a child minder.

Would she consider doing the shopping with you once they get there perhaps?

springydaffs Sat 12-Apr-14 03:24:50

Wrong universe thread Library.

Who made you headmistress with your 'stop immediately' business?

Delphiniumsblue Sat 12-Apr-14 07:20:43

You have mixed your threads, library. This isn't the one where she is looking after the child.

Polarn Sat 12-Apr-14 07:21:09

Thanks for replies. I grew up with very little money, my mum scrimped and saved for everything, our school uniforms were donated from a charity and we used food banks ourselves.

I have worked hard as an adult to earn a decent career and wage but still need to really think about the things I buy.

I guess I'm just not used to someone being flippent(sp?) with their money.

springydaffs Sat 12-Apr-14 10:17:21

Then you're surprisingly picky about the food she buys. Eat the stuff fgs, it won't kill you.

WhoNickedMyName Sat 12-Apr-14 10:25:53

This is such a depressing thread. The Baileys non-issue especially. I dread being a MIL.

Me too WhoNicked. It seems you really can't win. Be interfering and nasty - you get flamed. Be lovely and thoughtful - you get flamed.

I think I'm going to go no contact when my dcs get married although I'll probably get flamed for that too!

MorningTimes Sat 12-Apr-14 10:44:05

OP - You really need to get over yourself with the Baileys thing. Just because it it expensive & 'special' to you doesn't mean it is to other people. Your MIL probably picked it up as part of her weekly shop without a second thought, apart from that thought that it would be nice for you to have a drink that you like when you visit her. It was a polite & thoughtful thing to do.

Your insides with money are your own to deal with. Your MIL is being nice to you & to her grandchildren but you are spoiling it and being very petty. I hope your children don't pick up on your attitude.

MorningTimes Sat 12-Apr-14 10:44:32

* issues, not insides!

mercibucket Sat 12-Apr-14 10:47:43

baileys story is grin

its twelve quid on offer

big deal. hardly treat of the century. she probably just thought you like it, not that you save up a pound a month to buy one bottle for special occasions. if you dont want it, dont drink it, but poor mil

LoonvanBoon Sat 12-Apr-14 11:00:29

To turn this around a bit, when we visit my PIL I take along a few edible items. We stay for a few days when we go so it seems the polite thing to do. But I make sure I take items that I know MIL & FIL actually like & will use.

Why would I take huge packs of fizzy drinks that won't get drunk? Or washing liquid or tea, items that people often have strong personal preferences about? I don't see how it's thoughtful or generous to dump items on people that they don't want & leave them with the hassle of disposing of them.

I'm absolutely sure that my MIL wouldn't feign gratitude if I did what OP's MIL is doing, & if it were the other way round I would have to tell her politely that we don't use those items. We just don't have the storage space to stash cans of fizzy drink that nobody likes.

Of course it doesn't apply to everything. If it's the odd item that's unhealthy / unsuitable you'd just smile & say thank you & pass it on. But this sounds like quite an extreme case.

And if I read the OP's posts correctly, her PIL are staying nearby in their caravan for around 12 weeks every year - quite a substantial chunk of time given that they want to be around OP's family for nearly all of it & won't go off & explore the area themselves. So this isn't an occasional irritation. The OP will be spending rather a lot of her time visiting local food banks if she & her DP/DH can't broach the issue with PIL.

springydaffs Sat 12-Apr-14 11:07:21

I've said it before: we need some new fairytales that reflect the foul attitude of the younger woman who is in direct - and vicious - competition with the older woman. Things seem to have been turned on their head (not that there was necessarily any credence to the male view that older women are jealous of younger women's 'beauty').

this woman seems innocently kind, generous and thoughtful. You are so lucky OP. Stop griping and stop being foul, nit-picking about the tiniest thing. It really is monstrous. If you have a gripe about something else to do with MIL then be honest with yourself instead of haughtily chopping her to bits.

RainbowSpiral Sat 12-Apr-14 11:09:12

My MIL comes to stay regularly and never brings or spends anything, ever.

I think I would prefer your MIL smile

WhoNickedMyName Sat 12-Apr-14 11:10:03

Treat yourself to a thimbleful of Baileys tonight and try and unclench a little.

generousfdudgy Sat 12-Apr-14 11:19:06


LoonvanBoon Sat 12-Apr-14 11:21:03

Where are the "draconian, controlling edicts" that you attribute to the OP, springydaffs? I'm not seeing that kind of tone at all.

If you mean things like not wanting your kids to have nutritionally worthless, teeth-rotting fizzy drinks - well, that's just being a responsible parent, isn't it?

And the OP doesn't want certain washing liquids & teas because she doesn't use those brands. Like everyone else she has preferences & finds certain items work best for her family. That's not about controlling her children - her children don't use those things directly! - it's about trying to avoid waste.

OP has said repeatedly that her PIL are lovely & that she's never said anything to them that would imply ingratitude. So I've no idea why you're launching such a character assassination.

Accusing her of being in "vicious competition" with her MIL, being "foul" & "monstrous", & then patronisingly calling her children "poor kids" - completely OTT & very unpleasant. She just doesn't want her cupboards full of cans of beans she doesn't use - she's not refusing her PIL access to their GC, FFS!

springydaffs Sat 12-Apr-14 11:26:47

So giving someone presents is to dump items on people is it hmm

LISTEN TO YOURSELVES HERE. This is a truly foul attitude.

I can't help thinking some people have had it too easy. tea is tea, washing up liquid is washing up liquid - so very kind and thoughtful when given as a present with a great deal of thought about what is actually and practically helpful for a young family.

My parents give me food that is not to my taste, but I motor through it and relish every bit of it with the knowledge that my parents care about me by giving me thoughtful stuff from the heart. It is immaterial that it is not the 'right' brand. Sometimes I give what I know I won't use/eat (allergies) to someone who will value it. Win/win.

NewNameForSpring Sat 12-Apr-14 11:29:08

Polarn I am so glad there are some people on here who understand your POV. I do as well. I really don't understand how some people think that being brought useless crap despite being asked not to, is OK.

Mind you I think you lost a lot of support with the Baileys. grin

The fact that she has driven your dh up the wall for years and that you have actually spoken to her about the situation tells a lot.

Yes food bank is a good idea but I would tell her that you are going to take it there , "as I have told you before mil, we don't eat this kind of food". It sounds like you have been assertive but sadly you need to be even more clear. It is great that your dh and you agree.

It sounds also like you do like her in some ways so I would hope you could manage to convey your message without upsetting her too much. Trouble is you are going to have to be as subtle as a brick.

springydaffs Sat 12-Apr-14 11:33:36

it's about trying to avoid waste

bollocks it is.

springydaffs Sat 12-Apr-14 11:36:06

Trouble is you are going to have to be as subtle as a brick

Please don't. You'll crucify her. Just take it graciously in the spirit it is meant - kindly, generous, helpful.

So the consensus on MN is,
We can't celebrate Birthdays, expect others to be happy it's our Birthday.

We can't celebrate our children/babies or expect anyone else to do likewise.

We can't share our holidays/good fortune etc publically.

We shouldn't be grateful that we are invited to the celebrations of others (especially evening Wedding do's), enough to just be happy to attend with a smile on our face, dressed appropriatly, with what the person wants as a gift, even if it is money.

And now, We can't even enjoy a cup to tea, or beans on toast, we have to have a cup of hot pale water and reddish chewy foodstuff.

I think that a good few MNers would of walked round in sack cloth whipping themselves in centuries gone by.

Meanwhile in families that work (I'm one of the older women, with disposable income).

I give presents of food that is wanted and a real treat, because I listen and take note.

I am planning on paying for items for child's bedroom and garden that I know is needed and is good for the child.

But then we all do that rare thing, speak to each other and listen, whilst caring about each other.

cankles Sat 12-Apr-14 11:50:35

Polar, please think very carefully about what you are going to say to your mil, if you do in fact decide to go down that route. Please think about this from you mil's perspective - or at least try to before you chat with her. Think about what function all her buying serves? What does it do for her? What does it ensure - for example, positive attention, love, affection, being included? What/who would she be without this function?

Also, the baileys - it sounds so much to me like she was trying to connect with you. It sounds like, in a roundabout way, she invited you for a drink. Perhaps, deep down she is lonely.

Please try and see things from her point of view, this might help you understand better what is going on and why you feel the way you do and why she does what she does. Then chat with her, if you need to - you may find that you don't need to x

springydaffs Sat 12-Apr-14 11:51:42

Not everyone has the exemplary all-round skills you have Birds. Heart in the right place? Not good enough, apparently. In fact, a presumption.

springydaffs Sat 12-Apr-14 11:54:29

Yeah, patronise her with the generous/lonely connection. In fact, judge her and find her wanting, mainly because she's different to you. She clearly has different values.

whiteblossom Sat 12-Apr-14 11:57:48

I think this is your MIL way of showing her love and that she thinks of you all. She probably thinks she is helping you out financially/shopping/costing you for her food/washing while she stays.

YABVVVU. It might annoy you but she is being nice, give all the items to the local food bank- they will be very grateful. Get your DH to drop it off on his way to work.

Id swap my mil for yours any day! smile

Floggingmolly Sat 12-Apr-14 11:59:27

If she's staying for two weeks; maybe she brings all that "treaty" sort of stuff because she likes it and you never have any in??

Marylou2 Sat 12-Apr-14 12:02:43

YANBU, either that or I'm unreasonable too.I'm in exactly the same situation. I've kinda learned to smile and accept and then food bank and recycle. It irritates me vastly as I'm the one who has to do all of this and not DH. Also I have to encourage DD to write her thankyous for a huge pile of tat!

Marylou2 Sat 12-Apr-14 12:04:38

Wouldn't have minded the Bailey's though! I never get anything like thatsmile .

For goodness sake. What happened to manners and gratitude?! There are some unbelievably spoilt posters

On this thread!

pianodoodle Sat 12-Apr-14 13:38:04

It depends so much on the person etc... boring I know!

It isn't necessarily spoilt or bad mannered and the OP hasn't been bad mannered to her MIL.

There are plenty of scenarios I could think of where a parent might be concerned about excessive gift giving without being "ungrateful"

For instance some people actually do feel embarrassed /uncomfortable about having things lavished on them when they can't reciprocate, or didn't have it growing up. It can make them feel like a charity case.

What if a parent has told the children they can't have a certain toy etc... until Christmas or a birthday (or just because they have too many toys) and PIL then turn up with said toy?

Not all people who do this are doing it out of the goodness of their heart. I'm sure the OP's MIL is, but some people attach strings to gifts, subtly or not subtly. There are certain people who you don't like to feel beholden to so it isn't always a case of being bad mannered.

I think, anyway smile

springydaffs Sat 12-Apr-14 13:51:39

piano grin

Gruffalump Sat 12-Apr-14 14:28:37

Open mouthed at the ungratefulness on this thread. Especially the Baileys part! Get a grip...

Also particularly enjoyed the poster who lets her husband have a biscuit when his mother brings them, how very benevolent!

biscuit and baileys all round!!

Gruffalump Sat 12-Apr-14 14:30:27

These sort of threads make me glad I have daughters, so will hopefully avoid this sort of nonsense

Polarn Sat 12-Apr-14 14:48:00

She is lovely, we do get on well. I know she does it to be nice, but it is a pain to have all this unwanted crap in the house, esp as my DC knows she's brought it round and starts asking for somethings that they never even knew exsisted, like coke & skittles!.... I think its okay for me to want to have some control over my DCs diet with being draconian and controlling. They are allowed treat, of course, but they soon don't become anything special when the cupboards are full of them.

Thanks for the slagging off Springydaffs, ironically you mention in one of your comments what you do with unwanted gifts, I do the same thing. I am just questioning on here whether or not I should say something to MIL. If anyone else (friends/family) offer gifts then I accept gratefully, I am nice and not spoilt. I do the same with MIL atm, but it's getting out of hand the amount of times she is gift giving, the presents have no meaning anymore. My mum bought a couple of clothes for DCs the other month, I was very grateful as I knew that she had thought about the gifts and it was a big deal.... My DCs were also alot more gracious than if it was MIL. Her gift giving has lost all meaning.

I have learnt from this thread to accept the gifts graciously, not say anything to MIL, food bank what we don't need/want, and bring DCs up to know that although MIL brings gifts for no special reason it doesn't mean that they shoukd always expect.

Polarn Sat 12-Apr-14 14:49:28

WITHOUT being draconian and controlling.

Polarn Sat 12-Apr-14 14:56:32

Fwiw.... Maybe I was being petty about the baileys, but it still upset me, maybe unnecessarily,.

springydaffs Sat 12-Apr-14 14:57:40

You're welcome, any time grin

Who says her gifts mean nothing? It conveys something that you may be missing.

springydaffs Sat 12-Apr-14 14:59:52

uh-oh I meant you may be missing the point, not a quality you may be missing.

Genuine mistake, honest grin

(So glad you're not going to take her to task and are planning to suck it up. Phew)

weneedtotalkaboutschriver Sat 12-Apr-14 15:08:22

My mum bought a couple of clothes for DCs the other month, I was very grateful as I knew that she had thought about the gifts and it was a big deal

Here we go.....DM can do no wrong DMiL can do no's a familiar concept round these parts. OF COURSE you're going to be more inclined to think your DM is the normal run of things you have absorbed the values and methods with which you have been brought up

Don't want to be too harsh on you Polarn as I know you have accepted that it would be out of order to say anything to DMiL and good on you, but I have only just got my reregistration straight post Justinehackgate and wanted to get my tuppenceworth in.

And yes your are most definitely unnecessarily upset about the Baileys. Jayziz!!!!!!

Polarn Sat 12-Apr-14 15:08:43

I don't think they mean anything as there is no thougt put in to it. If she sees it and likes it she'll buy it regardless of whether it's age appropriate, or suitable for our tiny house. She once bought ds a swing.... we have no garden, the only space big enough for it was our living room! It took up the whole flippin room!

Polarn Sat 12-Apr-14 15:18:38

I was thinking that as I wrote it weneed but I still thinkththat MIL is exsessive in her gift buying.

Cigarettesandsmirnoff Sat 12-Apr-14 15:22:49

YABU - massively so.

Charity shops and food banks - your MIL sounds nice!

Mine is satans BITCH from HELL!

tznett Sat 12-Apr-14 15:29:25


Polarn Sat 12-Apr-14 16:26:17

IABU..... In the grand scheme of things. I realise that now. She is nicely

Well you did say you wanted to be told that. grin

I'm glad you realise that it's best not to say anything. You should check out the wedding from hell thread if you want an example of a truly awful MIL.

gotthemoononastick Sat 12-Apr-14 17:18:42

Laughing myself silly here at cigarettes!!Stories pleeeeze..dying to hear.I am a Mil myself and want to learn about the minefield of rules!

springydaffs Sat 12-Apr-14 17:55:12

She very probably does think about what she buys, just not in the way you, or your DM, think about it. Or are there rules about thinking. It seems so.

You talk about her as though she is a complete idiot - it is dispiriting to read. She sounds as expansive as you are clenched. I bet she finds you difficult OP but does she make that clear?

LoonvanBoon Sat 12-Apr-14 18:14:11

springdaffs, nothing that the OP has written here is as dispiriting or rude as your constant nastiness towards her. She has described her MIL's behaviour without saying a single negative thing about her character, whereas you have accused the OP of just about every character flaw going.

OP has not talked about her MIL as if she is an idiot. But actually, buying someone a swing designed for outdoors when you know they haven't got a garden, does sound quite an idiotic thing to do.

It is not intrinsically rude, ungrateful or unkind to explain nicely to someone that you simply don't have space in your home for certain items; & it's not draconian or "clenched" to set sensible limits on the things your children eat & drink.

I remember reading a similar thread on MN where the giver of the excessive gifts / household items was the OP's mum, not MIL - it really doesn't make a difference who it is, & I don't think polarn is coming across as MIL-bashing at all.

Someone on that thread described this kind of behaviour as "hoarding by proxy" & it stuck in my mind as I think it hits the nail on the head. Some people do love spending, stock-piling, constantly picking up "bargains" - but it's just not reasonable to say that they have carte blanche to fill other people's homes with all this stuff, in the name of gratitude.

springydaffs Sat 12-Apr-14 19:03:02

<checks we are in AIBU> - it's the territory Loon. To say it as it is, to cut to the chase, to open up debate. It's not known for treading carefully as in eg relationships. If OP had posted in relationships she would have had a very different reception, at least from me.

OP's resistance to her MIL has been very clear, the implication that her MIL is an idiot equally clear. MIL may be a hoarder, may be this or that, but I have addressed not only OP's attitude in the round (not the MIL's, as the MIL isn't posting but the DIL is) but that her attitude appears, from the many posts supporting her (using words like 'allow'), to represent the general consensus that OP is perfectly entitled careful word choice to lay down the law and nit-pick about the tiniest thing, without recognising how lucky she is/they are to have expansive and loving ILs and GPs in their lives, faults and all.

I don't, no, have patience with 'she buys us the wrong brand of beans' (and wailing that she resents spending a fortune on food when her cupboards are chock full of food supplied by MIL). And the Baileys incident, well <lost for words> particularly located where OP is coming from. If OP wants to stick her head above the parapet and not expect to get it shot off, she needs to post in a more tame part of the board.

MissDuke Sat 12-Apr-14 19:08:04

Op, if you are fedup 'spending a fortune on food' would you not consider actually trying the food? Most people I know have compromised on brands as things are just too expensive now. Otherwise, as many of suggested, the food bank would be very grateful for the things. I think you are extremely ungrateful and feel sad for the mil. Mine regularly gives us out of date food but I would never be so rude as to be annoyed by her gifts.

LoonvanBoon Sat 12-Apr-14 19:30:53

I'm perfectly aware which part of MN we're in, thanks, daffs. If you'd like to tell yourself that you're just taking part in the cut & thrust of debate, fine - but I think you're deluding yourself.

The fact is that plenty of posters have agreed with you in the view that the OP is being unreasonable. You're the only one who has constantly projected attitudes & characteristics on to her which aren't even consistent with her posts, in which she makes it clear that she likes & has a good relationship with her MIL.

You HAVE talked about the MIL's attitude, too, in contradiction to your claim above that you've concerned yourself only with what the OP says. You've repeatedly said how kind, generous & loving MIL is & contrasted her personality - about which (like the rest of us) you know fuck all - with that of the OP; & done so in the most childishly polarised, black & white way.

You've gone even further than this, in your most ridiculous post, by saying that the OP is spoiling her children & that it's only their grandparents' loving attitudes that provide a glimmer of hope for the poor kids.

So I'm not accusing you of being too "tough" by telling it like it is, daffs, I'm saying that your posts are simplistic, patronising, projection-filled bollocks.

Purpleroxy Sat 12-Apr-14 19:37:27

Homeless/shelter/food bank etc love tinned stuff as it doesn't go off. Some take household stuff as well like your bio stuff you don't want. Find yourself one of these locally and donate the stuff you don't use. New clothes to eBay or charity shop or return.

thebody Sat 12-Apr-14 19:46:15

I swear when I am a mil I will refer every decision regarding my dils/sils/gcs to mumsnet jury.

Just in case. grin

fluffyraggies Sat 12-Apr-14 19:48:43

I wouldn't call it 'expansive' to buy a garden swing for a family without a garden hmm i'd call it bloody stupid.

springydaffs Sat 12-Apr-14 20:00:46

Well ok then, not the most coherent debate points there but you've made yourself clear and said your piece.

TheNewSchmoo Sat 12-Apr-14 20:17:56

Given that Baileys is a once a year treat for you, but that costs £10 (I am aware how condescending i am sounding writing that but I've had a glass of wine and my diplomatic filter has gone for a Burton), i really think she's buying food and clothing as she thinks you could do with help with them, financially.

Although I see you've since agreed you're being a bit unreasonable so I'll shut up now!

kinkytoes Sat 12-Apr-14 21:00:15

Mil or not, she's blatantly ignoring the OP's wishes and imo THAT is unreasonable.

Hoarding by proxy is an interesting theory. My mil regularly buys things just because they're reduced or on special offer.

Sure there are worse things in life. But I've seen a lot more trivial stuff on this board too.

That Bailey's issue is so unreasonable, poor Mil.

Maybe you should issue a memo to friends and family re which gifts are special and only to be purchased by DH.

LookHowTheyShineForYou Sun 13-Apr-14 15:01:59

I think they spend too much time with you.

I can understand why you don't want the children to eat crap. And because they see you so often it cannot be shrugged off as a one off.

But I think it has got a bit out hand. The Baileys shows she DOES pay attention to what you want.
I would tell her about why you don't like Morrison's and also tell her what else you really like.
She probably means well and won't stop buying stuff, so guide her.

I had an issue with really rubbish sweets and stuff my mum sent (from abroad, costing a fortune). Problem was solved by my teenager who told her the little sister was sick after eating the sweets because they probably had more E numbers than anything she had eaten in her life.

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