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to say something to my mother this year or smile and silently seethe like all previous years.

(91 Posts)
LookJohnLookJanetLook Sun 13-Oct-13 11:28:01

My mother has four children, and 9 grandchildren. (Parents are separated, my father does his own thing).

Through her own choice she never babysits and sees us all about once every other month when we go and visit her. She speaks to us most days on the phone and is happy that is the extent that she is involved in our lives.

For christmas mum gives each family £100 cash to be used during the year taking the family on a day out, she then also says to buy a token gift for the kids to open and to say it's from her (we each see her for about 15 minutes max over the Christmas period, some years my siblings won't get to see her at all, but I make sure every year that at some point we call in) and she always says she'll give us the cash for this (she never has yet).

Then throughout the year every time we go out as a family she bangs on about this being because she gave us the money at Christmas.

This £400 total is her total Christmas spend this equates to 0.16% of her annual income so it's not that she's hard up.

Would I be unreasonable this year to say that I'm using the £100 to pay for the "token" gifts and get us all something for £25 each rather than be out of pocket for the token gifts?

And if she insists that the £100 is a day out not to buy token gifts and insist she has to purchase those herself?

And this one I may be unreasonable on, explain that £100 doesn't cover the majority of days out anymore - i.e. in her mind it pays for theme parks and food and fuel - it realistically pays for the fuel to get there or the park tickets but not the whole thing?

Or should I carry on doing what I do every year - smile and say thank you for the £100, and purchase the token gift deducting it from Santa's budget?

(Sorry for such a long post)

AndHarry Sun 13-Oct-13 11:33:13

If she wants to buy things for the children to unwrap then I'd suggest she buys them herself (and make suggestions as to what: chocolate coins perhaps) as 'the DC would be do excited to open a parcel from you.'

Other than that, I wouldn't make an issue of it. £100 is £100.

H2Ointolerant Sun 13-Oct-13 11:35:14

Erm, I can't really see a lot wrong with this.

Of course you pay for the token gift out of the £100.

Ok what's left may not pay for an entire day out, but it's a contribution and a nice thought and gesture.

You are coming across badly tbh, brace yourself grin

NynaevesSister Sun 13-Oct-13 11:35:46

I would take the £100 and then spend it on a day out giving her photographs of the day and receipts to show just what part of the day her gift paid for. I mean that's what I would have done from the start and anyone that gives DC money as a gift gets a photo, a description of how much fun the child had, and how much it all cost as I think that's only courteous.

YABU to seethe about anything. Either say something, or if you don't just accept that's how it is going to be. Seething when you have not told the other person why, thus giving them a chance to change at least, is not fair.

H2Ointolerant Sun 13-Oct-13 11:36:17

I can't believe you sat and worked out the 0.16%. Are you scrooge?

BoundandRebound Sun 13-Oct-13 11:36:39

Next time she says she paid for a trip just laugh it off and say oh yes the money you gave us was put towards this one trip but it actually cost us an extra £175 can you believe how expensive things are nowadays mum, not like when I was younger it was all green fields and I could get a portion of chips, taxi home and still have change for tuppence ha'penny

H2Ointolerant Sun 13-Oct-13 11:37:12

Nynaevesister - you would honestly take her receipts from the day out to show what the £100 covers? Am I in a parallel universe?

domesticslattern Sun 13-Oct-13 11:38:38

Think of a specific day out you want. Calculate costs of admission etc to take it to £100 plus.
When she gives you the cash say, how wonderful thank you, this will cover a day out to Wonder World (or whatever), entryand icececreams, how kind of you, thank you etc. We will go in March when it opens ie. be very specific about what, how much and when.
If she mentions token gifts just bang on about how the Wonder World tickets are plenty and kids delighted, no need for more. Get them to write thank you cards about looking forward to it.
£100 is generous, we get nothing like that here. Sound as gracious as you can to her at least.

ILetHimKeep20Quid Sun 13-Oct-13 11:39:07

There are plenty days out you can get for under £100

It's a nice gift.

domesticslattern Sun 13-Oct-13 11:41:03

Is there more behind this OP? Like you're cross about the no babysitting or not coming to see you, really, and it's all coming out as about this gift?

FunkyBoldRibena Sun 13-Oct-13 11:41:20

You can easily resolve it. After the day out that she 'gave' you, get the kids to call her and say thanks for the day out to X. Then if she mentions it, say 'Oh you paid for the day out to X, remember'. Ad infinitum.

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 13-Oct-13 11:42:51

You sound like a brat.

Asheth Sun 13-Oct-13 11:44:43

£100 towards a day out is a lovely present. But if your mum wants the dc to have something else then she should buy it. Why not decide before Christmas where you're going and print off some images and make a certificate for them to open on Christmas day.

LookJohnLookJanetLook Sun 13-Oct-13 11:45:35

The bit that I was struggling with was that the token gifts (they have to be gifts that my mother can tell everyone about (this is where I get my materialistic view from)) were almost using the £100.

If she gave the day out and a) accepted that it was one day out not every day for the year (even if didn't realise we had paid the extra) and b) dropped the token gift notion I would be happy.

BillyBanter Sun 13-Oct-13 11:49:11

I'm guessing you mean that every day out you have through the year she puts down to the money she gave you?

I agree with the above, tell her what day it went on and remind her as and when necessary.

HeartsTrumpDiamonds Sun 13-Oct-13 11:49:16

You sound very entitled OP. 0.16% ??? What bearing does that have on anything and why on earth would you calculate it?

What happened to thank you ?

Mumsyblouse Sun 13-Oct-13 11:49:55

I get the OP's point- her mum is extremely uninvolved with her grandparents and probably wouldn't bother seeing them if they didn't facilitate a two monthly visit to her, and 15 min over Christmas is really measly grandparental interaction by any standards. The Op's mum also is not interested in buying presents for these grandchildren either (fair enough) so gives a sum of money for the whole family and then goes on and on about it every single time they then go out as a family, whereas in truth, it pays for one or two events a year (still lovely but much more limited than she claims). She's getting to play doting granny through her £100 while being anything but.

OP- I would put the money towards one specific thing (season tickets to X park/rides) and have done with it. Let her know what it was ('our season ticket to X was paid for with your money, and we spend the remaining bit on ice-creams') and as others have said, if she goes on again, call her on it.

I have relatives who prefer to give money for a dinner or cinema and I love this, but they don't then go round claiming they've helped me eat out for a whole year!

eggyweggies Sun 13-Oct-13 11:50:04

It's a bit odd that she's happy to only see you every other month but you talk on the phone every single day...seems a bit incompatible?

chicaguapa Sun 13-Oct-13 11:50:56

I understand what the OP is saying. She buys the token gifts which her DM takes credit for and DM takes credit for days out they go on during the year.

I expect the root is more to do with the lack of involvement DM has in their lives and the fact that she gives them £100 each year and lives off that gesture for the rest of it. But the money DM gives her doesn't cover what she takes credit for.

I would send a thank you for the £100 and specifically say 'thank you for the £100 gift for a day out. We will use it to visit Alton Towers in August.' When she asks you to buy a token gift for the DC, you should say that you'd rather spend the £100 on a day out instead and it can't cover both.

Then if she bangs on about the days out you can remind her that the £100 covered the trip to Alton Towers.

Or you could broach the subject and say that DC are getting older now and would rather the £25 was spent on an individual gift each, instead of on one day out. Before you do it (as mentioned in your OP) so you can discuss if she is happy to do that. Then she can take credit for the gifts but not the days out.

Strumpetron Sun 13-Oct-13 11:53:27

Was going to type what mumsyblouse did.

LookJohnLookJanetLook Sun 13-Oct-13 11:53:49

Yes BB for example I'm taking the kids to Harry Potter World next weekend and have got "I'm pleased to see that Christmas money is being put to good use". It was also put to good use when we went to the theatre (which is what I said originally it would be used for - I did say thank you, I said thank you the kids will love seeing x show). It has also been said to Legoland, Thorpe Park and even our weekend at Butlins was courtesy of the £100.

Currently I just say yes, it was very generous thank you.

But after reading the comments I think I need to say, no your £100 was the theatre trip in January where the kids had a great time.

Mumsyblouse Sun 13-Oct-13 11:53:50

And- I would not buy the gifts myself, it's the height of cheek to expect your dd to buy them and then for her to claim to others that it's her idea/money etc- if she wants to give money, no problem, she can hand them £10 each (presumably a few in your family) and £60 for one family day out/event (to somewhere quite modest).

I don't see why you should be grateful, you are doing all the hard work of choosing presents for her!

I would ask her to give tokens/money for the amount she wants the little gifts 'now the children are older' and if she wishes to give some money for a day out so be it, although I would be increasingly less enthusiastic about taking the money if it involved a lot of work for me and her boasting all year.

VillandraMcTavish Sun 13-Oct-13 11:57:05

I have a similar thing, OP.
Every year my mother (also pretty uninvolved, less than yours I think as she rings almost never and is always busier with her step grand child) asks me for ideas for everyone's present, then asks me to buy it and sends me a cheque. I have to choose, buy and wrap everything - paying for wrapping of course, then get to the bank as well. confused

At what point is this a present?!

My tactic this year is to say: look, it's obviously not something you want to do, and we don't have a lot of time either. We have a lot of stuff, so just send us a nice box of chocolates if that's easiest for you. It will never be easier than getting someone else to do all the thinking, wrapping and other work, will it, but hey ho.

I am in the process of detaching from my mother, though, so you might not want to go as far as that.

PS every time I've tried to complain about my situation on MN I have been told I am ungrateful and should be happy she wants dc to have something. I am not grateful that she can manage this without any thought or action on her part, no. And naturally there is a lifetime of this sort of thing to take into consideration smile

Mumsyblouse Sun 13-Oct-13 11:59:13

This is what book tokens were invented for- tell them to get a token or card or pop the money in the envelope and have done with it. Older children prefer money anyway. I wouldn't buy pretend presents from my own mother!

LookJohnLookJanetLook Sun 13-Oct-13 12:00:49

I had many x-posts to my last one - but yes thank you to others who have understood what I was trying to say and got it so much more eloquently than I possibly could.

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