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To tell MIL to end the relentless gift buying

(35 Posts)
BasinHaircut Tue 14-Jul-15 08:34:48

MIL is a very generous lady and she clearly loves her grandson (DS). She turns up every week with stuff for him, usually clothes as she works in a clothes shop and I've tried to gently tell her that DS has more clothes than he could ever wear and suggest buying bigger sizes if something is so reduced that it would be 'silly not to buy it '.

However by steering her away from clothes her attention seems to have turned to toys. At least 1 new thing every week. And I'm not talking a bit of pound shop crap, I'm talking proper and expensive toys.

Anyway, it is his 2nd birthday in a few weeks and she has already told us what she is buying him and it is massive and costs £200. Ok fine, it's his birthday and it is something that we would have bought him ourselves so it's not a ridiculous gift.

Then yesterday she turns up with an 'early birthday present' (a £50 toy) which is incidentally what his other nanny has got for him for his birthday. She had already given it to DS before I could say anything and he had broken the box so not returnable. So I then have to tell mum that she has to return her present and we have to think of something else.

DH had a word with her later and pointed out how ridiculous it is that she keeps buying him more and more stuff and how it's especially not really a good idea around his birthday when other people are looking For inspiration for gifts for him.

She does not get it. She doesn't see why she shouldn't buy him what she wants when she wants. I suggested opening a uni or car account for him so she can put into that if she wants to treat him but that is no dice.

AIBU to start telling her to take stuff back when she turns up with it?

TheHouseOnBellSt Tue 14-Jul-15 08:44:31

My Mum did this but went further and started buying DD things which I'd mentioned I was going to I was planning on getting DD a pram for her Birthday and Mum turned up weeks before with a shiny new pram!

You have to be honest and open and just say "I know it's hard to resist but he's going to have everything before he's old enough to enjoy it so no more expensive gifts at all please...why don't you put the money in a savings account for him instead?"

She will be offended....she just will....but you need to be firm.

My Mum then switched to bringing massive bags of sweets which i had to stop too.

scatterthenuns Tue 14-Jul-15 08:49:33

Keep pushing with the savings account. My grandma was like this with me - it was a nightmare for my parents apparently.

She was convinced by the savings account however. I used it to pay for my masters degree. Any amount of toys/clothes wouldn't compare to the value the MA gave me in the long run!

I was very, very grateful for that help.

BasinHaircut Tue 14-Jul-15 08:49:40

Oh she does that too Thehouse, and she threw a strop at Xmas when we bought him something that apparently she wanted to get him but thought she wasn't allowed hmm. She asked why we didn't tell her to buy him that to which I replied '^WE, his parents^ Actually wanted to buy him a gift ourselves.

Fortunately DS doesn't like chocolate and still a bit young for sweets so we don't have to deal with that yet!

She also likes to remind us, and tell everyone else exactly what she has bought DS.

DoreenLethal Tue 14-Jul-15 08:52:13

...And then she can take it home so that he can play with it at hers. Every time. Once she is storing relentless toys and tidying it away after then she might get the message. Then get husband to visit with son to play with it all and take a break yourself.

BasinHaircut Tue 14-Jul-15 08:53:03

Yes scatter the savings would be amazing for him. I also don't want him to learn that he gets everything that he wants on a whim. Or fast forward to teen years and if we say no to he he just goes and asks granny and gets it anyway. Not dealing with that shit.

Elledouble Tue 14-Jul-15 08:54:30

Oh god, I'm going to try the savings account thing. My partner's family are like this - only unfortunately it's not nice things, it's carrier bags full of stuff from charity shops. Quantity over quality with presents in their family. They're buying my son books that are far too old for him and things like that, so we'll have to store them for years before we'll get any use out of them. Ridiculous.

WhatchaMaCalllit Tue 14-Jul-15 08:56:14

Tell her that he would really really appreciate that she would put whatever monies she is spending on the clothes and toys into a post office/bank account for when he reaches 12. Then he can have the shopping spree of his life (or not, and you can extend that to when he becomes 18 and he wants to buy his first car). She could see the long term goal with that, surely???

scatterthenuns Tue 14-Jul-15 08:56:43

Feel free to drop in my story to MIL. I couldn't afford any postgraduate study without my gran's help. Tell her how kind it was of the grandma in the story, how much it helped the lady you were talking to... hint hint, nudge nudge. grin

houseHuntinginmanchester Tue 14-Jul-15 08:58:47

It sounds lovely from where I'm stood; dh's parents have never bought my girls a single thing. Not even for their birthdays. And they're not no contact or anything, oh no, just tighter than a flies arse wink

BasinHaircut Tue 14-Jul-15 09:01:51

Ha ha scatter I'll try but the thing is, that I suspect that she would just plan to give him the cash at the time and can't quite work out why she can't 'treat' him now as well as in the future.

What she doesn't seem to understand is that at his age, he has no concept of how much or little might have and would be just as chuffed if she took him to the library as if she bought him the merchandise from the latest Disney film he has discovered.

BasinHaircut Tue 14-Jul-15 09:02:43

house well there's 2 extremes for you!

EducateTogetheralumnus Tue 14-Jul-15 09:11:25

My mum and I nearly had a moment when she announced with great ceremony, in the shop, that she wanted to buy her first granddaughter's first pair of shoes. I had to tell her that actually, as generous as that was, I wanted to.

All I have to say is "the girls need tights" in passing and two days later an envelope arrives with four packs of tights, in the wrong size, in colours I don't want. She's getting better.

After some kind but very firm conversations with my DMIL (and I really do love her, but she does love a bit of plastic tat), the flow of that has been stemmed a little. I would far rather investments in their savings - and they have accounts for it.

She will get offended but you just need to keep at it OP. Either that or be the most generous charity shop donater in your area.

Greenrememberedhills Tue 14-Jul-15 09:13:21

We were in the same position as house. My kids were bought nothing. My sisters kids were once given £3 each but then later mum took it back again.

Sorry for derail. I can see it would be annoying and also a bit controlling.

Moreisnnogedag Tue 14-Jul-15 09:31:11

My MIL (normally a very reasonable woman) has taken the birth of ds2 to treat ds1 with presents all the time. We can't see here without a present being given as if having a sibling is a trial (DH is an only). It's got to the point where Ds1 has begun asking people who visit 'where's my present?' So now I'm having to punish my son for a situation his nana has caused angry

Alibabsandthe40Musketeers Tue 14-Jul-15 09:44:30

MIL was like this when DS1 was first born - the problem being that SIL is an avid giver and receiver of gifts and is totally addicted to shopping so all her purchases for her other GC were always received with open arms.

I had PND, and the present thing used to stress me no end. Eventually when he was about 14 months old I managed to have a chat with her about it. I just said 'please can you not buy him something all the time, we don't want him to grow up expecting constant presents, plus the house isn't huge and we are going to be over run with stuff - he has a savings account, etc'.

She was a bit offended, but much less so than when she could see I wasn't impressed with the latest random gift!

Now she buys the boys something small whenever they see them - this visit it was a bookmark each. She has bought DS1 something small for his birthday, and given me some money for him to put in his savings account. We are all much happier smile

When I spoke to her about it, what came to light was that she thought my parents (who are very well off) would be buying him expensive stuff and she was trying to keep up. Part of the reason they are well off is that they don't buy expensive stuff all the time.. Once she realised that she wasn't in a spending competition she calmed down massively.

NickiFury Tue 14-Jul-15 09:48:06

I never cared about this to be honest. What they got for my children meant I didn't have to and that was great.

It tailed off as they got older and now they get a tenner if they're lucky smile.

OnlyLovers Tue 14-Jul-15 09:51:37

I'd keep on about the savings account thing, and be very firm about presents; tell her in advance of visits 'We can't keep accepting presents; please add to his savings account if you do want to give something' and repeat, every time she produces something, 'No, we've had this discussion, DS has enough stuff; it's kind of you but please return it because we can't accept it.'

Good luck ...

Turquoisetamborine Tue 14-Jul-15 09:52:14

My mam did this when DS1 was born. As soon as he was old enough he got toys bought for him every time she saw him (2-3 times a week). My H went mad but I understood that it was because she was very poor when she was a kid and she was making up for it. I didn't say anything and it calmed down when another three grandchildren came along.
She still buys as much but it's shared between four of them. My kids aren't spoilt at all and appreciate it.

NickiFury Tue 14-Jul-15 09:56:44

I really don't think you "have to punish" your son at all more. If he's old enough to ask for a present surely he's old enough to have it explained that it's rude to do that and grandma buys stuff because she's he's grandma but there won't be presents from everyone.

MiddleAgedandConfused Tue 14-Jul-15 10:56:07

We had the same with PILs - every birthday and Xmas they bought as if they were the parents - piles of presents and expensive toys. In the end we asked them to bring one toy, about £40. We explained that if they bought that many presents - and the other two grandparents did the same - then it was just too much. They sulked for a bit but finally agreed.
I remember standing in our back yard with my dad whilst he criticised me for all the plastic cars, wendy houses, climbing things that we had, saying that the kids were spoilt. I went round each item telling him who bought it (none were from us - all from family) and he finally grasped what was going on.
So there is hope. You can retrain them.

seaoflove Tue 14-Jul-15 11:03:13

My mum and MIL are both like this. Although my mum is worse because she sees DD more often. My house is groaning with toys and I've had to send stuff to the charity shop in the past, purely because I don't have room for it all.

I resent it massively. DD doesn't appreciate anything because she has so much. I could get rid of 90% of it and none of it would be missed.

I'm dreading her upcoming birthday because I know it will be another onslaught of stuff she doesn't want or need.

I try to complain, light heartedly, but it falls on deaf ears sad

LazyLouLou Tue 14-Jul-15 11:11:54

It has sod all to do with your son. It doesn't matter if he wants/knows/understands etc. It is all to do with her.

You and your DH need to use this latest gift as a prime example of her being unreasonable. Point out (with tears in your eyes) how upset your mum was, having to return the present she had bought, how horrible it felt having to tell his nanny that her lovely birthday present had just been given to DS so hers was no longer needed.

Cry, I tells ya!

Then tell her that she either winds her neck in or you will not allow any presents, toys, sweeties etc, from anyone, at any time other than birthday and Christmas one per person. CRY and tell her she is spoiling your joy in your son... actually if DH can tear up a bit that might work better. If you could both weep copiously you might scare her off smile

OK, a bit OTT, but I am sure you get the gist grin

scarlets Tue 14-Jul-15 11:17:20

What a waste. You need to get tougher. I know it's hard not to offend though.

Or start returning /ebaying things. She probably wouldn't notice if he's not wearing/ using the item, having bought him so much.

cestlavielife Tue 14-Jul-15 11:18:58

tell her about the very special childrens bonds

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