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To not continue to buy my exH's family presents?

(255 Posts)
GlummyMcGlummerson Tue 05-May-20 20:06:55

ExH and I have been split up for nearly a year. We’re leading separate lives in separate cities whilst trying to co-parent our 7yo and 3yo.

When we were together I did ALL the “life admin”, even in regard to his family - bought all presents, RSVPd to weddings and organised hotels, outfits etc, sorted us going to family parties, everything. I did it begrudgingly because I always loved (most of) his family and otherwise nothing would get done.

The kids came back from a week at his on Sunday, the same day as their cousin’s (exSIL’s son) 7th birthday. I commented on her Facebook post saying happy birthday Harry, but I didn’t check if the kids had spoken to him as, by then time they got home at 5.30pm, it had gone from my mind. May or may not be relevant - “Harry” is very spoilt and indulged, to a ridiculous degree, Ex and I used to refer to him between ourselves as Little Lord Fauntleroy. There would be an expectation from everyone to make a big deal about his birthday.

Yesterday I got a text from exSIL saying that Harry is very upset as he feels his cousins forgot his birthday - they didn’t get a call, a card or a present, and she “expected better of me” hmm. She knows they came home in the evening and Harry was expecting a call when they got back. Now since Ex and I split up, I’ve maintained a good relationship with his family - mainly because I always got on with them, especially his mum and dad, and there really was no need for any animosity. But his siblings were always hard work and I wasn’t sorry to see the back of them. So I simply replied “speak to your brother” and thanked my lucky stars I didn’t have to please her any more.

Anyway today I got a text fro exMIL - who BTW I adore and she’s been amazingly supportive since the split. She said exSIL is obviously upset because Harry’s birthday was a bit naff in isolation and that was compounded by no contact from his favourite cousins - which she acknowledges is exH’s fault entirely. However she’s basically gone on to ask if I could carry on getting presents for their family members - on behalf on the DC and/or me rather than from ex - as she feels that otherwise there’s gonna be no presents at all and a lot of upset.

My first thought was “no fucking way”. Aside from the fact that I don’t want to continue to facilitate exH’s goal of being the biggest manchild in existence, I’m a single mum now and this could cost a fortune! His family is huge and even if I spent just £10 each on cousins, aunties, uncles and grandparents, for Xmas and birthdays that would be £400 a year!

However, she’s right about one thing - if I said no, there’d be no presents for them ever again. ExH has the unfortunate affliction of being lazy, selfish and tight fisted all at the same time. He’s not hapless or forgetful - but buying presents means taking more than 4 seconds to do something for someone else, whilst parting with his money, and he won’t do it. And he wouldn’t be ashamed about it either (you can see why he’s an Ex). His mum and dad especially deserve better than that. I’m not exaggerating when I say I’ll be amazed if DD gets anything from him for her birthday in a couple of weeks. So if I do say no, then my in laws will get nothing and my DC will be in the horrible position of being the only grandkids not to buy granny, grandad etc presents at Christmas - something they scarcely notice now but will do before long.

Good people of MN - what should I do?!

bridgetreilly Tue 05-May-20 20:08:51

Nope. It's not on you. It's your ex's responsibility and if your ex-MIL can't make him do that, then she's the one who needs to step up in his place, not you.

Windyatthebeach Tue 05-May-20 20:09:16

Tell mil if ex transfers you the money in advance you are happy to do so... Then it's on him that is doesn't happen and they get nowt..
Cfers imo..

QQQQQQ123 Tue 05-May-20 20:10:44

don't set it on, its not your responsibility anymore.

bridgetreilly Tue 05-May-20 20:10:58

Also, at the point your children start to notice and care, point them in their father's direction.

Cloverforever Tue 05-May-20 20:11:18

I would get something for granny and grandad from you and the kids but tell mil she can buy things for her relies if it’s so important to her.

Jupiters Tue 05-May-20 20:11:26

I wouldn't continue to buy then gifts. It is his responsibility, which clearly he's not going to do.
You've divorced... He doesn't get you to go his life admin anymore.
As you have a good relationship with his parents explain it to them, that you can't afford to facilitate gift buying now that you are not together.

HollowTalk Tue 05-May-20 20:12:54

It's really tough, isn't it. They need to realise that the norm wasn't when you were with him, it was before, when they got nothing at all. There was an historical blip when you were with him and they were all treated well, but that's not normal. He's their relative and they didn't get anything from him before (because you were paying for it) and they're not getting anything now.

I think I'd say that it would cost a minimum of £400 and that you are flat broke trying to manage as it is. And do all those relatives independently buy you a present on your birthday, eh?

OhioOhioOhio Tue 05-May-20 20:13:33

Yabu to think that your xh is the world's biggest man child. Mine is.

Do not start that present project. If you say yes to this then what next?

GlummyMcGlummerson Tue 05-May-20 20:13:34

Oh and just to say, I got Xmas presents for all his family (at my expense) - but that's because, in our freshly-split efforts to have a bit of normality, I spent Christmas Day with him and his family. And obviously didn't want to go empty handed. But it won't happen again, trying to do the "let's carry on as normal for the sake of the kids" was stressful AF.

Headbangersandmash Tue 05-May-20 20:13:43

You shouldn't have to pay and organize gifts for his family. If my kids were attending Harry's party then I'd send them with a gift.

If exMIL wants the kids to send gifts then she needs to do it on their behalf as their Dad clearly cba

AnPo Tue 05-May-20 20:14:02

Do NOT do this! They are horrendously cheeky to even ask considering what their useless son put you through.

Your MIL should be phoning her son up and telling him off. It's NOT your problem anymore.

You can encourage your DC to write cards/make homemade gifts while they're young and/or use their pocket money to buy gifts for their grandparents as they get older if you remember to do so, but I wouldn't stress about it or add it to your mental load. You no doubt have more than enough to be thinking about!

chillipopcorn1 Tue 05-May-20 20:14:12

I agree with the others - it's not on for MIL to ask you to do this. If it matters to her, which understandably it does, then she can sort out presents from the kids herself. Just like loads of mums buy themselves presents from the kids for their bdays or mothers days and pretend to be surprised when they open them! Not your DH, not your life admin.

Scarydinosaurs Tue 05-May-20 20:15:22

No fucking way.

This is not your job.

Your ex-MIL needs to tell her son this, not you.

GlummyMcGlummerson Tue 05-May-20 20:15:29

I suppose my biggest fear is that the kids turn out like their dad and don't think that present giving is important or the "done thing".

I don't think exMIL will think badly of me if I say no. And I don't blame her for asking - must be awful to see your child turn out to be such a selfish shit

overweightcat Tue 05-May-20 20:16:28

Don't do it op unless your MIL wants to fork out for it. Point out to her that you're a single parent now with less income than previously and it's just not viable for you to do. Point her to her son.

I would carry on acknowledging just the very immediate family (basically just grandparents and/or any family member your particularly close to and in regular contact with) if you wish for your DCs which should significantly reduce that bill.

Pheasantplucker2 Tue 05-May-20 20:16:33

I’d just say to MIL that her son doesn’t pay enough maintenance for you to be able to afford this, but you’re happy to (if you are) encourage the kids to exchange cards on birthdays and Christmas.

I would say to SIL “ the children have been with your brother for a week and you are his family. Why are you ringing me to have a go?”

Will this mean they won’t buy for your kids and will your kids therefore feel like they’re missing out. That would be the only reason I’d even contemplate this. But then I would be adamant it was for kids under 16 only.

It’s hard isn’t it. If we ever split up we would have a similar issue. I buy for the kids (cousins) as I don’t want them to miss out but the adults in his family are his responsibility. They haven’t had a card since I stopped doing it.

ilikebigbuttsandicannotlie Tue 05-May-20 20:16:50

Your ex sounds like an arse. Speak to mil and explain that as you’re now on a single income, you can’t buy for the whole extended family but your plan is for the dc to buy for them as they are the grandparents. Explain it’s down to their son and maybe she should speak to him about stepping up to the plate now as the situation has changed.

lynzpynz Tue 05-May-20 20:17:34

I'd buy for gran and grandpa, wouldn't for anyone else. If I was on really good terms I'd send cards to others but I definately wouldn't be buying gifts for anyone outwith grandparents!

Areallthenamestaken Tue 05-May-20 20:17:45

Don't do it. It's his family and his responsibility. Not your problem.

GlummyMcGlummerson Tue 05-May-20 20:18:20

Honestly if MIL asked exH to buck up and start buying gifts he'd probably tell her to fuck off. That's what he's like (don't ask why I married him I don't know the answer I think someone maybe hit me over the head or something)

No doubt before long he'll find some other poor victim to do his life admin for him!

ZombieFan Tue 05-May-20 20:18:24

Sending a homemade card to grandparents would be the most I would manage.
No way would I be buying them all presents, you have your own children to look after. It would put a massive burden on you and where would it end?

BobbinThreadbare123 Tue 05-May-20 20:18:53

Say no. End of.

FromTheAllotment Tue 05-May-20 20:20:38

“MIL I love you very much despite having split with Ex, but it’s hugely unfair of you to try and make this my responsibility. It isn’t my job to do his parenting or to compensate for his shortcomings. Those shouldn’t have been my team’s when we were together and they DEFINITELY aren’t now that we’ve split up. I really don’t want you and your family to be sad about not getting presents that Ex should be buying, but it really really isn’t on me to sort this out.”

JKScot4 Tue 05-May-20 20:20:40

Buying adults birthday gifts endlessly is silly, children yes but it has to stop somewhere.

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