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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.

123bucklemyshoe Sun 28-Jul-13 22:27:35

I am part on an unmatching pair. Even though we are un alike people expected us to be the same. We hated wearing the same thing, or even the same thing in different colours. We often got the same presents (or more galling - joint ones , even joint birthday cards!) I'm sure people meant well & thought they were being even handed but it did feel that you weren't quite an individual in your own right. We get on very well and we are still very different. I did not feel like we weren't a team if we didn't dress alike. I think you need to be careful with twins to encourage closeness but not a sense that you can't exist without the other.....

123bucklemyshoe Sun 28-Jul-13 22:34:26

Also just to finish my rant.....we hated/still dislike being called the girls, or the is pure laziness. It happens to twins even if you don't even look like sisters-like us. Would it be ok to call someone 'the boy' - why is it different when it is plural?
However, if Sherlock Holmes called me the woman - now that would be a different matter...)

5madthings Sun 28-Jul-13 22:34:32

My mil tried to do this with our boys, but I have never put them in the same clothes on the same day. She bought them the same stuff right down to socks, do you k so how fucki g annoying it is trying to pair socks and to think you have a pair but actually they are the same bit different sizes..... Aghhhh drove me mad. She stopped doing it evetually.

My mum dressed my sister and I in matching outfits, there is almost six years between us, I hated it and swore not to do it. Fair enough if children choose to do it but not something I would ever choose for them.

ananikifo Sun 28-Jul-13 22:36:39

I agree with Bertha. The issue isn't really the clothes, it's the way the mil seems to insist on doing her own thing despite being told how it makes the OP's family feel. OP may be overreacting but if it were me, I'd overreact more and more each time it happened.

I think you should just do whatever you want. Let one or the other dd wear the clothes from mil, on different days, or get rid of the clothes entirely. Sell them on eBay if you want. I think the more you make it an issue and argue about it, the more annoyed you'll feel.

Joanne279 Sun 28-Jul-13 22:39:03

Am I missing the point of some comments? Maybe it's just me after my 'bashing' on here earlier, but wearing the outfits on different days isn't the point.

Mil is ignoring op and her dps request. Mil may not like it, but could respect their wishes.

I too dislike the twins matching outfits. We have 2 kids on our road ages 3 years apart and not only do they get matching outfits, coats and shoes as well. Odd.

MerylStrop Sun 28-Jul-13 22:40:14

bollocks to all this "she's not taking on board you're feelings" stuff
MIL's not dissing the op as a parent, she just thinks it might be cute

so you get some matching stuff. don't dress them in it at the same time. problem solved.

the girls will tell her themselves when they are old enough to be bothered

MerylStrop Sun 28-Jul-13 22:41:48

She's only sending them presents. That she buys, presumably, with her own money.

She can't force the OP to get her kids to wear them, ever, simultaneously or not.

defineme Sun 28-Jul-13 22:44:00

She's doing what she likes and so can you.
You are under no obligation to do anything with the clothes-give them to charity if you want-she didn't care did she?

Otoh my twins are boy girl but very often want the same present-identical cameras/bikes, shared board games, shared farm, mp3 players etc.

Obviously go with what you want, but do listen to them too!

ananikifo Sun 28-Jul-13 22:46:16

I just think if it bothers the OP's family so much that they've said something to her, multiple times, she should listen. She can roll her eyes and tell her friends (or an Internet forum) about it if she thinks OP is unreasonable. Why would she keep doing it if OP has asked her to stop? If she was trying to be nice, she should choose gifts that don't upset the other person.

Midlandsmom Sun 28-Jul-13 22:49:50

I have a relative who always buys matching outfits for my two girls, and they are 6 and 2! I never dress them the same as I think it would just look a bit silly.

The other problem is the outfits are always frilly dresses and my youngest has some mobility difficulties and a frilly dress would just make it harder for her to get to her feet and play etc. They tend to end up at the charity shop. I wish I could say something but I'm just not brave enough and my relative has strong views about how little girls should dress.

BergholtStuttleyJohnson Sun 28-Jul-13 22:55:05

I think you're creating an issue where there is none. Occasionally wearing the same outfit doesn't won't do any harm. They may even like it. I had lots of siblings, two of them were very close in age to me (one being my twin, the other two yeara younger). People lumped us together all the time, my grandma bought us matching outfits (which we loved as we never had matching outfits normally). Did we give a shit? No. We were all very close and still are but we have very different personalities and have always been treated as individuals by our parents. Me and my twin had some issues with school teachers expecting us to be the same so we were put in separate classes, this won't be an issue for you though because you don't have twins. You're overthinking it.

NoComet Sun 28-Jul-13 23:01:46

This is just yet another of the endless flow of lets pick a fight with MIL.

Why? get your knickers in a twist?

As everyone says, take a picture of your DDs in their new clothes then let them wear them on different days.

When they are older, they will sense dressing the same or wanting the same toy annoys you and they will do it all the time.

NaturalBaby Sun 28-Jul-13 23:09:48

Does it really, really matter? You don't want to dress them the same so you don't. Your MIL isn't dressing them is she? She's just buying your children clothes which is lovely and generous.

Putthechocolatedownandbackaway Sun 28-Jul-13 23:16:52

My nieces are 5 years apart, and whilst I would never buy them the same gift item or clothing, I often buy them the same combination of things for Christmas, eg item of clothing + book + sweets, as I think it avoids any feelings of unfairness in present-giving.

Agreed that the OP has asked that her MIL not ignore her request to not buy the same clothes, but I wonder if this is a misguided attempt to be very fair ?

SupermansBigRedPants Sun 28-Jul-13 23:20:33

It's odd she is going out of her way to buy matching outfits when she knows you both are not keen, it's understandable if they were on sale one day so she picked a couple of the same outfit up but tbh that's her issue not yours, just dress your dd's as you please and reiterate often you both dislike matching outfits especially as they are not twins.

I don't like matchy matchy outfits on little ones and I feel if I had twins I'd have a couple of matching things to fit the 'norm' then a wardrobe full of clothes that I just bunged on a dc at a time grin I Doubt I'd even notice a Difference Between boy/girl Things at that point seeing as twins would bring me to 5 dc!

fairylightsinthespring Sun 28-Jul-13 23:26:03

I get where the OP is coming from in relation to the ignoring of her wishes. I had / have the same issue with my MIL about pink stuff for my DD. I made it very clear when I knew I was having a girl that I hated the head to toe pink thing, pink versions of toys just for the sake of it (we have a DS already so had all we needed in bright, primary colours) but she still buys and knits stuff predominantly in pink. Regardless of the practicalities of how you can get round it, I DO think its rude to flagrantly ignore a clearly expressed preference because the inference is that you are wrong and she is right.

BackforGood Sun 28-Jul-13 23:26:30

Not sure thought why you "grit your teeth and smile politely", surely, as it's someone that close, and someone who is likely to be buying them presents for years to come, it makes more sense to be blunt (as she's not taken hints or polite requests so far). Still no need to be rude, but you can say 'Oh, what a shame you've wasted your money, as we've told you before we are not going to dress them in matching clothes, it seems such a waste for you to spend money on things that won't be worn' type of thing.

goingmadinthecountry Sun 28-Jul-13 23:30:31

It's controlling behaviour on her part. Say thanks but next time please don't buy them the same as they'll never wear it. Give in now and you'll regret it - oldest is nearly 20 so I speak from experience!

AnnabelleLee Sun 28-Jul-13 23:33:28

I don't see the problem. Just don't put them in the outfits at the same time. They are just clothes, and I think you are over-emphasising their importance.
Myself and my twin were often dressed the same as children. Despite that, we managed to grow up with our own distinct personalities and never once thought that we were the same person!

Mollie272 Sun 28-Jul-13 23:34:49

I get on really well with my MIL, but there was one occasion where she sent matching dresses for my twin dds and another very similar one (slightly different style, same fabric) for my older daughter. In her card she wrote that she "knew we didn't usually buy matching clothes" but these were so lovely she "couldn't resist".

I was a bit miffed, especially as the dresses were expensive, and not at all my taste - very flowery/frilly - but thanked MIL very much and stuck them in the back of the cupboard.

A couple of months later, when my in-laws were coming to visit, DD1 asked if they could wear their dresses for Granny. I said no, but DD persisted and in the end I agreed (I don't usually give in to pestering BTW!)

I have to say, that although I don't like the dresses and would never have chosen them in a million years, seeing the pleasure that my MIL got from seeing them wearing them and the pleasure my girls got in wearing their special dresses, made me feel petty and small-minded.

I know this isn't really the same as the OPs case, but it reminded me not to get worked up about minor things.

MerylStrop Sun 28-Jul-13 23:36:55


No, she's just buying presents.

Not clear how many times she's done it.

Bit lazy, that's the worst you can say about it.

MidniteScribbler Mon 29-Jul-13 01:22:38

She's buying a gift. You don't get to set the criteria for a gift from someone, all you can do is decide how to choose to use that gift.

Dress them in the clothes on different days. Simples.

Save your energy for the battles that your really need to fight.

WafflyVersatile Mon 29-Jul-13 01:37:17

It's sometimes difficult finding 2 outfits you like. I have 3 DNs all within a year of each other and it can be a minefield buying them all different stuff but still equal value and liked equally. If one kid keeps getting things their mum doesn't like it starts looking deliberate. They can't think that if you buy them the same. When it comes to clothes I mostly buy them different but have sometimes bought them the same or versions of the same. It would be soooo much easier to just buy the same outfit x3 each time. Their DGM has bought them the same stuff sometimes too and they have quite liked having the same dress on.

If one person is buying them the same all the time they still have other clothes that are different. Most younger sisters have hand me downs so that's not too controversial.

I do appreciate that it's annoying when you've asked and she just ignores. I would find it equally infuriating.

Goooooooooooooooooooooood Mon 29-Jul-13 01:40:16

I wouldn't worry about it. It's one of those things that really doesn't matter.
Let your MIL buy what she wants to buy, say thank you and move on grin

I agree with closely aged DCs that the 2nd DC can be a bit overshadowed by the 1st DC but I don't think wearing the occasional identical outfits matters at all.

My DS2 was repeatedly called by his elder brothers name at school and teachers would often 'compare' them. I think that is the type of thing that can be damaging especially as my DS1 is a bit more academic than my DS2.

So sorry but I think YABU

MiaowTheCat Mon 29-Jul-13 07:30:56

It's the fact that it's after a conversation that SHE instigated asking our opinions on it that it's annoying me the most to be honest.

I'm trying to be subtle but get the message across, like on a day out the other day when she was there and I was going to buy then both t and she jumped to grab the same thing, so I told her that no, I trend to buy similar but slightly different so they don't just feel limited together (it was a teddy in that occasion, one got one animal and the other got a different animal) but she just has decided to ignore all this and jump to trying to make them identical.

I used the twins analogy as we have them in our family and have always made efforts to treat them as individuals- I just can't see why she had a conversation and asked me my opinion in order to ignore it totally. Note am on my phone so when I say my opinion I mean dh too, just going for the quicker to type option.

Having done nothing but pander to her for months, me being the one making sure dh gets on skype with the kids to keep her happy, making sure her demands for photos (and the emails are in a demanding tone) are met and being the one to make sure things are done to maintain the relationship (dh being the one who'll sit and let things slide) I really don't want to have to sit and do yet another thing to make her day when I seem to constantly be doing this and she just ignores the few times I do dare to express wishes (we wanted a week or so to settle in the new baby when she was born before the barrage of family visits- and she showed up just as we got home from hospital and demanded to visit- nothing I wish for matters at all and the clothes thing is just the next chapter in that).

On phone so this will make bog all sense, sorry, I'm dreadful on touch screen keyboards.

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