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FIL transferring 'wife work' to us

(342 Posts)
burntwine Thu 14-Dec-17 22:27:42

MIL has always been the one to handle buying presents for the grandchildren. Probably quite a typical situation as present buying often falls to the wife in my experience, though not in my own relationship. A few years ago, however, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and it's now got to the stage where she can no longer do this. Obviously the situation has been terribly difficult for the whole family and FIL in particular.

Instead of taking over present-buying duties himself, FIL has told us to buy Christmas presents for our 2 children and he'll pay us back and those will be the presents from their grandparents.

I'm unsure of whether this is reasonable behaviour or not. On the one hand it is a truly horrible situation and FIL has an lot on his plate and has been increasingly stressed. And they have a lot of grandchildren, not just our 2. On the other hand it's not really a present from them at all if we choose it and deal with the logistics of buying it. We could easily afford to buy our children an extra present each if we wanted so him paying for it doesn't make a lot of difference in my opinion. Children are too young to want to receive a simple cash gift (baby and 2 year old).

We're going along with it for this year anyway and went along with it when he did the same thing for a present 'from them' to our newborn earlier this year. But a part of me is a bit sad he doesn't want to buy something himself for his grandchildren.

What do you think?

OlennasWimple Thu 14-Dec-17 22:29:38

In this scenario, I would go along with it to ease the load for your FIL and ensure that your DC get a present that is suitable (and I'd say the same if FIL had always been the present buyer and was now seriously ill and MIL wasn't able to step up to the plate)

MyBrilliantDisguise Thu 14-Dec-17 22:29:53

I think he's an elderly man with a hell of a lot on his place. His marriage, as he knew it, has ended. His wife has a terrible illness. I don't think he wants to even think about buying Christmas presents and I think you're being really unrealistic and actually unkind to expect him to do it.

zzzzz Thu 14-Dec-17 22:30:11

I think you should help him he is facing my worst nightmare.

ElleDubloo Thu 14-Dec-17 22:30:32

You’re being unreasonable. Poor FIL. He wants to buy something for your children but doesn’t know what. This is what my dad does every Christmas and birthday. It’s fine. Just go along with it.

Battleax Thu 14-Dec-17 22:30:37

I don't think it's unusual once illness etc kicks in. Maybe he admired her knack for it and it's too poignant for him to flounder about trying to master it ATM. It's a fairly painless way for you to support him ag a horrible time. I wouldn't think twice about the gender politics given the circumstances.

ChocolateIsAFoodGroup Thu 14-Dec-17 22:30:53

You have just described our relationship with my in-laws! For the 16 years I've known them, I have had to either buy the presents directly myself, wrap them and present them to the children as if from the in laws, or I send my mother-in-law the direct link to the exact Amazon product, which then ships to us, and I then wrap. They can't even remember to hit the gift wrap option. The Sims me completely insane. And yes, I'm the wife in this relationship and I do it even though it's DHS family :-(I think it's f**** unreasonable, but the only other option would literally be no presents from the grandparents.

Ropsleybunny Thu 14-Dec-17 22:30:54

I honestly think you should go along with this. If he’s never done it he’s probably scared of getting in a mess with it. On top of that he has all on with his wife. At least your children will get something appropriate.

AnaWinter Thu 14-Dec-17 22:32:00

Yabu. He is elderly and as you say stressed out at the moment. He has lots of grandkids and probably does not have a clue what to buy. He is very reasonable to give you money so you can choose something your children will like. You are waaaaay overthinking this and I actually feel sorry for the man.

LivininaBox Thu 14-Dec-17 22:32:02

My grandparents always did this, they gave my mum the money and she bought presents for us. Not everyone enjoys buying presents or knows what to get for children at different ages. In the circs I think you should just accept it.

itsbetterthanabox Thu 14-Dec-17 22:32:09

Has he asked both you and dh to do it? Or Just you?

ChocolateIsAFoodGroup Thu 14-Dec-17 22:32:13

Sorry for typos! I think I should add, that they are both able-bodied, and I have no health issues at all.

BelleandBeast Thu 14-Dec-17 22:32:27

Give him a break, poor man is facing the long goodbye...he is grieving already. Have a heart.

Appuskidu Thu 14-Dec-17 22:32:35

I would totally do what he’s asking-poor bloke, things must be pretty shite for him at the moment.

Neolara Thu 14-Dec-17 22:32:35

In the nicest possible way, i think your being ridiculous. Sorry. Your fil is probably having a really, really shitty time. He's trying to do the decent thing by ensuring your docs get presents they like. He almost certainly has absolutely no idea what is suitable for them. Very sensibly, he is asking for advice and help from you.

Battleax Thu 14-Dec-17 22:33:37

Looks like a consensus OP smile

FrancisCrawford Thu 14-Dec-17 22:34:03

It is a very small ask from a man who is under incredible stress and heartache.

It must be terrible for your DH too.

And your children are too young to have knowledge of who has bought them a present.

Please open up your heart to the awful time your FIL and DH are going through and don’t stress about inconsequential things like this.

He wants to give his GC a present, but his whole world is falling apart.

It is a very small thing to ask.

acquiescence Thu 14-Dec-17 22:34:16

Wow, you are being very unreasonable. A lot of relatives give money. You expect him to take on a job he has never done before, as he is getting older and has so much else to deal with?

JustCallMeJanet Thu 14-Dec-17 22:34:19

In my admittedly limited experience, supporting a partner with Alzheimer's is highly challenging. I'd say cut him some slack.

ANiceSliceOfCake Thu 14-Dec-17 22:35:04

I thought you were going to say he was asking you to do his housework or something. I'd totally just buy them. Makes his life easier and that's what he needs right now. The poor man. Remember he will also be grieving, in some form, for his wife. Alzheimer's is very cruel.

FadedRed Thu 14-Dec-17 22:35:37

Of course it is a reasonable ask in the circumstance you describe.
Surprised you need to ask tbh.

firawla Thu 14-Dec-17 22:35:47

Oh ffs!!! Of course yabu. He’s asking you to choose a gift for your child, not take over all his domestic duties. From the title I really thought he was going to be asking a lot more from you. Cut him a bit of slack on this, he’s not done anything wrong here. If he just gave nothing I’m sure you wouldn’t be happy with that either?

Fitbitironic Thu 14-Dec-17 22:36:02

I was prepared to say YANBU, but reading the situation, I think it's completely reasonable for fil to have suggested this. He probably struggles to even think of appropriate presents anyway (my parents do, as have I this year to some extent) so this way he knows his money is being used on something the DC would enjoy (not just yours, I'm assuming some grandkids are older). Sorry, but this makes you sound a bit selfish. DC don't care (or even know) he didn't traipse round the shops personally (with wife in tow?!?) to lovingly choose the perfect gift. hmm

StopHammerTime Thu 14-Dec-17 22:36:05

I think it is far nicer that your FIL wants to ensure that your children have gifts they really want rather than him inevitably buying something that won't be appreciated. I think you are being a bit unfair.

Fruitbat1980 Thu 14-Dec-17 22:37:10

Seriously? Yabvu. For goodness sakes. He's going through hell. He wants to make sure the kids get something they want.
have a word with yourself.

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