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To ask well meaning grandma to back off a bit?

(39 Posts)
Flyingbytheseatofmypullups Fri 19-Dec-14 13:38:48

My mum adores DD and helps me out once a week with childcare. She does things differently to me but I try not to let things bother me as I am grateful for her help. She does tend to buy things for DD all the time and I have asked her to sometimes arrive at our house without anything as I don't want DD to expect something every time. I have struggled a bit with the build up to xmas. My mum is stepping into what i feel is my territory as a mum, i know she is loving the role of grandma but some things have felt out of my control. I have bitten my tongue several times but today ended up snapping at her and I feel bad so want to explain how I feel and ask her to back off a bit - but don't want to upset her the week before xmas. The reason I snapped today was because she showed me some pyjamas (with some characters on) and asked if DD had a pair. When I said no she said well she has now and she should open/ wear them xmas eve. I said No rather loud and said I was sorry but I have pyjamas ready for xmas eve, that we really didn't need any more presents for xmas and perhaps they could be saved for birthday. I feel like I need to say that she's my only DD and (particularly in our house) me and DH want to be the ones who decide how we're doing things. Would that be unreasonable?

5Foot5 Fri 19-Dec-14 13:48:59

YANBU but you will have to be very careful and tactful how you explain this if you are not going to hurt her feelings. She sounds like a lovely gran!

fluffyraggies Fri 19-Dec-14 13:52:29

YANBU, but I would gloss over this for now, and if and when the need arises have the chat after xmas is all over. You can be ready with what you want to say when the situation pops up and stay calm and kind.

AlwaysDancing1234 Fri 19-Dec-14 13:53:40

I can see where you are coming from, it sounds a little bit much but she's just a loving excited Grandma. I sometimes have this with DM & MIL with them racing to give DC "my first Christmas" clothing etc when I've already bought special Xmas outfits.
You will have to be very tactful about it though to avoid upsetting your well-meaning Mum

Summerisle1 Fri 19-Dec-14 13:54:18

I can (sort of) see both sides to this as I am a gm myself. Although I don't lavish my dgds with presents throughout and year and happily go along with the wishes of ds2 and ddil so far as their dds are concerned.

What I would say is that sometimes, you have to step back just a little and work out whether a particular battle is worth fighting. I'd not have fallen out with my own dm over something as trivial as pyjamas, to be honest. Although I can't imagine (with my gm hat on) demanding when my dgds should wear anything I'd bought them.

AlwaysDancing1234 Fri 19-Dec-14 13:54:28

As others said I'd leave that conversation til after Xmas too

tiktok Fri 19-Dec-14 13:56:54

YANBU. She is being a bit ridiculous, trying to dictate what your dd wears on xmas eve!

You might find that the snapping you did today does the trick - she will take the massive hint!

If not, you will need to explain it very carefully, and assertively not apologetically! Setting good boundaries now will serve you all well in the future. Obv you can be kind and suitably grateful for her help and generosity, but she sounds as if she needs to know where and when to stop!

Vvvoom Fri 19-Dec-14 13:57:07

I wouldn't leave it! Id just tell her what a great gran she is but that you want the excitement of doing the little things that make Xmas special. And Id say firmly no more gifts til after Xmas but it wd be great if she dc take the cd out to the cinema or a pantomime.

Birdsgottafly Fri 19-Dec-14 13:57:43

I'm a new Nan and I will be very hands on, I think YANBU.

I haven't seen my DD, or GD for five days, because her DP is on Paternity leave and I wanted to give them space.

All GPs have been hands on in my family, but you still have to respect the role of the parents.

I will buy stuff, but it will stay at my house, likewise if my GD wants a pet, she can have one at mine.

It is possible to develop a very special relationship with the children in your family without stepping on the toes of the parents.

I agree with you about children now a days, being bought to much.

My DD's DP is very into "contrived" fun (Disneyland etc) I will fill in the gaps with nature walk, petting zoos etc.

I think that should be the role of GP.

OddFodd Fri 19-Dec-14 14:00:23

Does it really matter? Will she like the pyjamas your mum's bought? If you think your DD will like them better than the ones you've got, then give her those ones to wear instead.

After all, it should be about wanting to make Xmas lovely for your DD, not competing with your mum. And assuming she looks after your child for nothing one day a week, I'd tread very, very lightly.

Having said that, I agree that she needs to put a stop to the constant gift every time she comes. It's horrible when children have an expectation of getting stuff from GPs.

AMumInScotland Fri 19-Dec-14 14:02:19

YANBU, but how you approach it depends on how your relationship works. With my mum, I'd only have to say "That's really lovely of you, but you're going a bit OTT. You had your turn with me!" and she'd ease off a little. So it's a question of how you gently rein her in a bit without trampling on her feelings, assuming she's just getting a bit overenthusiastic and doesn'e have any general tendency to be controlling.

My mum back in her turn had to deal with a mother who would run everybody's life within a ten mile radius unless given a clear 'Stop!' signal.

SorchaN Fri 19-Dec-14 14:06:33

It's lovely that she wants to be involved and to give her grandchild lots of treats, but perhaps she's forgetting that you're not a little kid any more - you're an adult responsible for your own child. Can you explain tactfully that choosing pyjamas for Christmas Eve is something you want to do for your child? Maybe take her down memory lane and have a chat about the things she liked to do for her kids when she was a parent, to help her realise that you want to do things for your own kids.

Flyingbytheseatofmypullups Fri 19-Dec-14 14:07:14

Thanks all the replies, I will definitely hold off till after xmas and think carefully about my words. Its so hard trying to balance what we want as parents with the good (but different to us) intentions of very involved grandparents and what DD would like - which, lets face it, is a constant stream of presents!! Interesting point someone made about pets.....that line has already been crossed!!!

divingoffthebalcony Fri 19-Dec-14 14:11:08

I understand how you feel when you say you feel your territory is being stepped on as a mum. My mum spoils DD rotten. It's just a constant stream of toys and gifts and treats and chocolate whenever she sees her. I had to really put my foot down about the treats. I tried being gentle but Mum just revelled in disobeying me. It was a real power struggle. In the end I had to spell it out more harshly and that calmed down.

The spoiling with toys hasn't stopped though. Every Christmas my parents get more (and spend more) presents than DH and I do. I do feel like it's our job as parents to get the "main" presents, but I just can't stop them. What pisses me off most is we don't have ROOM for all the crap they constantly buy!

I also have to be careful about mentioning, in general conversation, that I want to buy something for DD (could be something as innocuous as thermal vests, or a Christmas stocking) because Mum will rush out to buy it before I've given it another thought.

funkyfoam Fri 19-Dec-14 14:11:38

I feel I've failed as a parent! Mine never had new pyjamas for Christmas Eve. Is this a new thing? (Sorry I realise this is not the main topic of the thread)

OfficerVanHarkTheHeraldAngels Fri 19-Dec-14 14:16:00

I don't get the pyjamas on Christmas Eve thing at all, but that's by the by. Maybe my dc are really spoilt or something, but my mum often buys them new pyjamas and stuff for having at their house, and I don't think it really registers as a special treat or anything - obviously they like and are grateful for new clothes, but it's not really the sort of thing that takes up their head space.

Pick your battles: mountains of toys and plastic crap, you've got to put your foot down about. Ditto clothes for special occasions, or clothes that are really inappropriate. But a pair of pyjamas is fine, as are clothes in general; smile and say thank you then do what you like. My dc would look like right scruffy urchins on the weekends if it wasn't for my mum blush

fluffyraggies Fri 19-Dec-14 14:23:06

Does anyone remember the thread last xmas about the GM who bought a ginormous swing for the grandchild - for the grandchild's home - even though they had no garden? grin Or the massive trampoline/postage-stamp sized garden affair?

might have been the same thread

chocolatescones Fri 19-Dec-14 14:25:39

I think YANBU, it may 'only' be a pair of pyjamas but it may be really important to you. I have a 9mo DD and want to do little Christmas traditions for her like you so it's my just the item it's the thought and the tradition you want to start. Any maybe just the principle that sometimes you need to be asked about some things. So be polite but firm and say how sweet it is of your Mum but you'd already got some, how about suggesting some other christmas things for your Mum to buy that can be her special thing? Like a DVD / stocking/ present advent calendar?

brererabbit Fri 19-Dec-14 14:26:12

I can see where you are coming from, really I can my mum is the same but I do think YABU at least a bit.
She really doesn't have to do those things for you. Your dd is very lucky to have a Nanna like that. I don't know how old dd is, I know it took me a good year to properly realise it wasn't about control at all. It's just a grandma's love.
Will she step on your toes sometimes.. yes. Is it coming from a bad place? no
For your dds sake, Unless there is stuff yet to be drip fed I think you need to just take a step back from it and see that your dd is having a lovely relationship with grandma. It's lovely that she's putting the effort into the role and making such an effort to bond with your dd.. I'm sure you would complain if she didn't bother with her at all. She will never be mum and your dd knows the difference between mum and grandma. My mum is always always picking things up for dc that I could never afford and sometimes aren't my cup of tea at all. But if I decline because I could afford it or don't like it myself, that means my dc are loosing out because of me and that's not fair! I would smile and say thank you and try to appreciate they have a lovely bond (like I say if there are no other issues). Nobody is forcing you to actually put the pyjamas on her on Christmas eve. You could put yours on and tell your mum she spilt something down them. But it's a lovely gesture. It sounds like your mum is making such an effort and loving being a grandma I would just thank her each time and keep the peace for dd. Obviously unless she is seriously overstepping the mark and controlling what you do or buying things that are unsafe. Grandma's aren't around forever and for whatever reasons she has, she's not really doing anything wrong is she. And neither are you, just try and be happy for them?

Whereisegg Fri 19-Dec-14 14:26:12

Are these things your dm did for you as a child?
If she did, I'd use that as a way to bring it up...
"Dm you always gave us such memorable Christmases with your traditions of x and y, and dh and I have so looked forward to doing these with our dd. We would love for you to have a Christmas 'thing' with dd too, how about panto/Christmas film at cinema/baking just the two of you/drive to see the local lights/whatever you don't mind handing over to her?"

itwillbecold Fri 19-Dec-14 14:28:10

Flying I could so be your mum. About the pj's, I gave my Granddaughter some on the first of December. I had bought them in last the January sales fgrin. My daughter stated clearly that she had jammies for Christmas eve confused. I stated that they weren't for Christmas eve but just new jammies that looked like she might grow out of them quite soon and might as well have them.

I shamelessly indulge myself by buying for her. I do try not to overdo it and tend to stick to what I know will be useful where did I stash that drum kit. I do get told off for buying.

tiktok if you gave me boundaries I would just go and stand on the far side of them. As a Grandmother I have not suddenly lost the skills and abilities I have spent a lifetime developing. The same grandparents are usually available at the drop of a hat to pick up any childcare crisis, babysit for nights out, do the washing when your machine breaks down as a few examples. Grandmothers can be just as prickly as mothers and we have had more practice smile

AMumInScotland Fri 19-Dec-14 14:30:33

funkyfoam It's something I've only heard of on MN, but I think it makes sense - they get a 'present' on Christmas Eve of new pyjamas, which encourages them to get on and get into bed! I think some people also add a suitable dvd in the hope of a calm and peaceful evening...

Bulbasaur Fri 19-Dec-14 14:34:02

My mother already got DD Christmas Eve PJ's. Yes, you need them that way you have Christmas pajamas to look good in scrapbook photos wake up in and unwrap gifts in. But she knows my taste in clothes so she got DD something I was already considering.

I wouldn't feel too upset about it. DM likes to spoil DD, but mostly it's new clothes and practical things. She did pick out her Christmas outfit which ruffled my feathers a bit, since I already got her one. I just used mine in the family photos and she can wear DM's when we visit at Christmas. Not really a big deal.

itwillbecold Fri 19-Dec-14 14:39:41

Funkyfoam I always got Christmas eve PJ's and I did this with my children. I didn't realise that they had noticed or it was that important to them but my daughter is now continuing this tradition.

It is funny, looking back at photos, who actually still had the Christmas PJ's on in the morning. This got better as they got older. I used to buy them matching sets fblush this could be a whole other thread

Summerisle1 Fri 19-Dec-14 14:42:10

I always feel just a bit sad when the need to do special things gets a bit competitive. I can totally understand why there are some traditions that, as a parent, you want to be the first to experience through your child's eyes. Equally, I think it is fair to recognise that gps are not necessarily trying to undermine or control their grandchildren and that the response "You've had your children, these are mine so back off" doesn't take anything forwards in a productive spirit.

What I'd suggest is that sensible conversations are had (not in the week before Christmas!) over making traditions for both parents and grandparents. So if a loving gp really wants to buy pyjamas, don't rule it out. But do be clear about those things that are really important for the parents to do.

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