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to buy my own daughter a coat?

(78 Posts)
UngratefulWretch Fri 02-Sep-11 16:38:20

My mil has kept most of my dp and his sisters' childhood clothes and toys, all preserved in perfect condition. She is keen to pass these on to our toddler daughter, which is nice. However, some of the clothes are incredibly twee, matchy matchy and make dd look like some kind of droll life-size porcelain doll from the Victorian era. Some of them I just plain old dislike.

Cardies and trousers etc are fine, obviously she can just wear them when mil is there and not at any other time. But some of these are 'key pieces' eg a winter coat which a) I don't like (it looks like a soldier's uniform! With piping! And brass buttons!), b) is v old-fashioned c) I don't think is warm enough as it is single-layer wool, despite mil's obsession that wool is very warm (she turns her nose up at anything that isn't 100% natural fibres) d) is a boy's coat.

While I LOVE getting hand-me-downs as a rule, and we are lucky enough to have several family members who pass on some great clothes to dd, I do enjoy choosing the odd thing for my daughter, especially when it's something like a coat or shoes. But when I then buy things that duplicate what mil has handed down- eg in this instance I bought a nice, modern padded, waterproof winter coat- mil gets all cats-bummy and disapproving, in a passive aggressive way. The unspoken implication, I feel, is that I'm rejecting her offerings, that I'm buying inferior goods, and that I'm being profligate by spending on something we already have. Her response to the nice parka I bought? 'That'll be good for messing about in the garden'!! The assumption being that the Little Soldier Boy coat would be her main winter coat.

I also feel like she is trying to imprint her childrens' childhood onto mine, to have her play with the same toys as they did, wear the same clothes they did, be brought up in the way they were. She totally defines herself as being a mother, constantly harks back all the time to when her kids were young, and genuinely believes (and has said) that her parenting was of the highest calibre. I feel she is 'making her mark' on my child. Perhaps this is mad though.

I feel very irate about this, as you can tell.

AIBU? And spoilt? And unpleasant about a kindly lady?

Sandalwood Fri 02-Sep-11 16:40:00

I don't know what to suggest.

Fleurdebleurgh Fri 02-Sep-11 16:41:17

I dont think YABU at all.

My mum and my MIL both buy tonnes of clothes for my children. Whilst i am grateful i would quite like to choose some things they get to wear myself.

I would not accept a scratchy oldskool woolen coat though, ever.

tethersend Fri 02-Sep-11 16:43:05

How much do you want for them? grin

UngratefulWretch Fri 02-Sep-11 16:43:18

To be fair to her it is in perfect condition (it is scratchy though).

AMumInScotland Fri 02-Sep-11 16:43:22

Just buy the coat you like and ignore the cats-bum face. It's not up to her to dress your child, even if she has a ton of hand-me-downs waiting.

LindyHemming Fri 02-Sep-11 16:44:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StuckUpTheFarawayTree Fri 02-Sep-11 16:47:17

What Euphemia said.

GwendolineMaryLacey Fri 02-Sep-11 16:47:45

YANBU. She's had her turn, now she can butt out.

"Thanks a million MIL. That's very kind, however the coat isn't quite what I had in mind for DD so do you want it back or should I charity shop it? Now, who's for a nice cup of tea?"

Crazyfatmamma Fri 02-Sep-11 16:48:07

Yanbu at all.
You have to be honest though and tell her that whilst you are grateful for the items, they are a little old- fashioned and not to your taste. Dont be afraid to tell her the truth. She is your daughter and it is lovely to pick clothes out for her- I can imagine she would have liked her own children to live in clothes which were old fashioned and not to her taste.
I think she is trying to impose her tastes and style of parenting on to you- maybe she just hasnt let her children go.
My mother in law bought my baby son tights and I told her strauiht that they werent to my taste particulalry for a boy- she now buys the odd lovely modern item for him and I have used the tights for my daughter.

SiamoFottuti Fri 02-Sep-11 16:48:28

You're way overthinking this. Just buy your own coat and stop imagining all kinds of looks and problems. If she doesn't like it, what does it matter? She'll get over it.

Crazyfatmamma Fri 02-Sep-11 16:49:10

Replaced can with cant Oops

CailinDana Fri 02-Sep-11 16:50:59

I think YABU but only because I don't care much what my poor DS wears as long as it's clean. I love the fact that my MIL buys him a tonne of clothes as it saves me a fortune. Thing is I don't think the clothes are really the issue here - it's more that your MIL is muscling in on your child's life and making you feel a bit redundant. I can totally relate to that as my MIL does that in relation to other things that I am actually bothered about such as breastfeeding. My only suggestion is to ignore ignore ignore and only say something if she really provokes you.

UngratefulWretch Fri 02-Sep-11 16:51:10

Good advice to ignore. That is what my dp says about this and many other things she says/does (eg 'I always put family first. That's why I stayed at home with my children' GAAAAH). He says I should just ignore it. But for some reason I constantly seek her approval and validation, always justifying myself to her despite having no desire to emulate her. I try to be a take-no-shit, owning-it sort of person. And fail. And say 'oh that is a lovely coat'. WHY?

tethersend I probably could flog it. I DREAD to think what would happen.

UngratefulWretch Fri 02-Sep-11 16:58:05

Wisely you have all spotted that this is not really about a coat! It's about me being a wimp, and about the fact that, yes indeed, she is muscling in and has not let her children go.

Oh she is opinionated, about potty training, sleep training, discipline, me going out to work, me going out at all, me going away for the weekend (about twice a year!), oh, everything, dd going to childcare (she pities her), us having another baby, what medical care our dd should have etc etc. She honestly believes her way is best and not-so-subtly tries to impress that on me. Even describing her values as 'thinking like us' eg 'not everyone thinks like us UngratefulWretch'.


substantiallycompromised Fri 02-Sep-11 16:58:14

Ungratefulwretch I'd just be honest - polite but firm - and say that although you appreciate her generosity - you really, really enjoy choosing your dd's key pieces yourself? You can say something along the lines of "I know how much you enjoyed that aspect of having dc, so I know that you of all people will understand".

You can also say that your dd will wear the coat on special occasions such as church/formal events

Owing to fairly horrific experiences with my own mil, this next bit may be over-egging the pudding, but I'd say it's quite important to be straight and open about this now as her behaviour suggests someone who is quite controlling and it's better to show her where the land lies (politely) straightaway than let it develop in to bigger issues later on.

Your post sends up a few red warning flags for me. For example, it is none of her business how you choose to spend your money for example. If you have the sense that she is trying to 'make her mark' on your child then I would trust your instincts. I wish I had!

AMumInScotland Fri 02-Sep-11 16:59:14

You need to stop caring what she thinks of you - which is difficult if you are a nice person, because of course you want people to llike you. But so long as DH isn't being pushed around by her opinions, ignoring is about the easiest way to go. Or practice some polite but clear phrases about making your own choices for your child.

UngratefulWretch Fri 02-Sep-11 16:59:17

Thankyou substantiallycompromised. Excellent advice and, I fear, so apt. It's so difficult to make a stand, though!

CailinDana Fri 02-Sep-11 16:59:29

It's normal to want her approval, I'm the same with my MIL. She makes my blood boil at times and I still say nothing which is very unusual for me. It's a tough relationship as you are pretty much required to see her and spend time with her whether you like it or not and you don't want to make things awkward. If she's a martyrish whining sort of person then you have probably learned over time that standing up to her doesn't do much good. You have my sympathy OP, it isn't easy.

tethersend Fri 02-Sep-11 17:00:52

I'm deadly serious. I'm always after vintage children's clothes.

DD is currently kitted out in a fetching crimplene number from the 1970s. She loves it. And the sparks it makes.

Journey Fri 02-Sep-11 17:01:40

Agree with siamofottuti. You're definately overthinking this. If you want to buy your DD a coat then buy it. There are far more important things to bother about than what your MIL thinks.

UngratefulWretch Fri 02-Sep-11 17:03:31

tethersend the cats-bum-mouth would be so extreme that it would suck in everything around it, the world would be drawn into the vortex, and apocalypse would ensue.

substantiallycompromised Fri 02-Sep-11 17:05:02

I posted before I'd read your last message Ungratefulw As CailinDana rightly points out - it isn't about the coat. All the things you list are sending up even more red flags!!

I met dh when I was young and I was a total wimp and gave in to all my mil's opinions and pretended to agree with her because I was desperate for her approval. It was a huge, huge mistake. I won't go in to all the details but her manoeuverings started to affect more and more aspects of our lives until the relationshop became untenable.

She sounds to me like someone with lots of energy who doesn't have enough interests of her own to keep her occupied. And I'm always suspicious of people who think there own parenting is terrific! I prefer people who have constant doubts! Be careful!

queenmaeve Fri 02-Sep-11 17:05:42

Of course YANBU. Everyone loves to buy things for their own child.
My mil is very good to the dc and very generous. Now after 9 years she does actually buy the odd thing that I would like. But.... it has taken this long! When ds1 was little she would but him little powder blue double breasted coats (think William and Harry aged 2) Really she would have him looking like little lord fonterouy (sp?)
She was horrified initally when she first saw ds aged 1 month in little jeans. Its really just a matter of different generations, different tastes. On the scale of mil clashes of opinion, I would say this is minor enough and you just have to let some stuff slide.

CailinDana Fri 02-Sep-11 17:05:48

She sounds like a treasure, wretch.

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