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birthday approaching - very annoyed by colleagues assumptions

(20 Posts)
wigglewiggle Mon 11-Apr-05 12:01:22


I would like to share this to see if anyone else has been in the same situation.

I am literally a lone parent. I have no extended family (they are abroad and not that close)or close friends (but things are improving). Anyway, I am getting annoyed by colleagues at work saying things like, make sure you do not open all her presents on the same day as she will get overwhelmed or my kids had so many presents that we do not know where to put them and so on.... they know I have had a hard time with ex husband and I am on my own etc. why are they so so so shallow and assume that everyone is so fortunate? I keep dropping hints to remind them but they do not get it!. who else is going to buy her presents apart from me (well just my ex sil-one other person) and certainly I cannot compete (not that I want to) with kids who have both parents extended families giving presents. I am just annoyed at the fact that people are so wrapped up in their comfortable world that they take it for granted for everyone.

Tissy Mon 11-Apr-05 12:23:44

ww, it sounds to me as if your colleagues are just trying to give you some free advice, and are not deliberately trying to rub your nose in the fact that your daughter will not get many presents.

You could stop mentioning things that go on at home, so they haven't got anything to pass comment about, or you could have a few throw-away lines up your sleeve for such occasions:

"it's quality not quantity that counts"

" she's just getting a little present so I can save for a trip to Disney when she's 5"

"She's too young to know the value of presents, so I'm putting money into a Trust Fund for her"

that sort of thing. I'm sure others will come up with better examples!

dinosaur Mon 11-Apr-05 12:25:20

Anyone who talks about their children at work is going to hear lots of rubbish spouted, particularly by non-parents! Don't let it get to you. As Tissy says, I'm sure they're not doing it on purpose.

kama Mon 11-Apr-05 12:25:46

Message withdrawn

nailpolish Mon 11-Apr-05 12:28:45

whats wrong with just saying 'she will only get presents from me and my SIL, we dont have a big family'

it doesnt mean you little girl is missing out on anything! well i dont think so anyway

im sure maybe they havent realised, they are just assuming everyone is the same as them. who cares anyway? they are only people you work with

you never know, maybe they admire you for doing it so well on your own

Listmaker Mon 11-Apr-05 12:33:33

I agree with the other wigglewiggle that your colleagues probably don't mean any harm and would just assume that there would be family to give presents.

I am a lone parent too and my exp has nothing to do with us and nor do his family so my dds get fewer presents than lots of children but to be honest I'm glad about it! They seem to have lots of things to me as it is let alone if there were loads more people buying things they don't really want/need.

Don't tell your colleagues that much about it if you are sensitive about it.

My friend goes on and on about all the presents here dds get from everyone under the sun and I sometimes think she should be more sensitive to the fact that mine don't get nearly as much but I know she doesn't do it deliberately and would be mortified if I was upset about it.

My dds play with the oddest things all the time and ignore some of the more expensive things I've bought them anyway!

wigglewiggle Mon 11-Apr-05 16:46:07

thank you to you all for reading my message and taking the time to answer. and thank you for being so honest and some great answers

My colleagues are lovely people sorry if I have given the impression that I do not think that. In fact I do not remortely think that the comments were malicious, sorry if I havent made that clear in my post.

However, imo they should be a little bit more careful not just with me andnot everyone around is the same.they are mostly from well off/'good/normal' (whatever that mean) families. I try to be careful talking about dd and avoid shawing off. but it is difficult as other mums talk about it all the time and I have to be sociable. also I am proud of my situation so I am not going to take a back seat. I have said in a nice way that she is only getting a few good presents from me as it is just me and Monica. I am not ashamed and I know that they have a good opinion of me.

but yes I am very sensitive but it can also make me quite considerate? maybe not thinking about some recent postings of mine.

Blu Mon 11-Apr-05 16:50:50

I think they are being a bit unimaginative and insensitive, tbh, Wiggle, I'm sure they don't mean it, but they just haven't stopped and thought.

The main thing is, it's all irrelevant because your DD will be as excited as anyhting with anything she gets from you, and her day will be as special as any other child's birthday.

When is it?

KBear Mon 11-Apr-05 16:56:21

May I ask.... what kind of parents don't let their kids open all their presents on their birthday in case they are overwhelmed? Imagine saying to your kids, yes it's your birthday, no you can't open your presents until it's not your birthday. Just an observation!

Your colleagues sound like the usual bossy lot you get in all workplaces trying to give you the benefit of their experience. They are probably secretly thinking their children are over-indulged and wish they weren't.

lunavix Mon 11-Apr-05 17:00:04

I've heard a lot of this 'they can't open all their presents at once' malarky.

WHY????? It's not YOUR presents it's THEIRS!!!!

It makes sense with easter eggs obviously - a child eating 6+ easter eggs (just a generalisation here, not refering to your dd obviously wigglewiggle) will not be a pretty sight, but what is it with presents? They get overexcited? They're spoilt? It's their birthday!!!

dinosaur Mon 11-Apr-05 17:00:44 DH, for one

wigglewiggle Tue 12-Apr-05 08:59:39

being italian I thought it was probably an english thing not to let children opens all their presents on their birthday, and I made this film in my head of these children receiving 30 presents, I don't know what the average number of present is. Being sarcastic here.

my dd will 2 next sunday. she will have a birthday celebration organised by the nursery (they are good at these things) and I will be there with a cake which I will make (panicing about that already)to sing happy birthday to her. Again, I do not have an any family to invite so I am not having another party. this is also frequently assumed in conversations but I gently remind them. I have learned not to be ashamed but proud although at the beginning I felt a little bit sorry for us. DD knows about birthday cake and the song but she has not got the concept of presents yet because I have not introoduced that to her. she just get new toys during the year when I find good bargains or I think she will benefit from a toy or a book etc. but compared to some house I have been, I have not got near as many. not that I wish any different. she has enough staff. my colleague is often proudly remaring that her dd (1 month older than mine) always says 'more present more presents' at christmas/birthday etc. well done your dd is clever, am I suuposed to think?

Tissy Tue 12-Apr-05 09:05:17

ww, I'm very glad that so far my dd has had all her birthdays at nursery, so I've avoided having to organise a party! I send in a cake and some candles, and the kids sing happy birthday and play some games and that's all! Unfortunately dd has now been to her first "proper" birthday party, and there are more to come, so I suspect I won't be able to avoid it next year. Make the most of it while you can!

albert Tue 12-Apr-05 09:30:12

WW are you in Italy? I am and I too was panicking about the birthday cake for my DS but Bila sell packets by Butoni which you just pour into the tin and bake. I cut the cake into the number of his age (5 in my case) iced it and passed it off as my own work All the kids here seem to have huge parties with billions of presents but like you, we have no family here and not really any friends but DS was so happy with the very few pressies he got and 3 of his friends from asilo came to tea. At 2 yo your DD won't really understand the party idea even if you did have one so don't worry about that. You sound to be in a very similar situation to us regarding the presents and TBH I would rather that my DS appreciates and plays with what he's got rather than spouting 'more presents, more presents' which frankly I think is rather sad.

wigglewiggle Tue 12-Apr-05 09:47:37

HI albert, I am italina but I live in London. Nice to hear from italy. re: cake I have though of cheating similarly here to. I have seen a ready roll out white icing in tesco, which was very tempting.

But i think I am opting for a chocolate cake with choc icing. I need to find ready made colour icing to write on Happy birthday Monica. where can I get something like it in UK? Anyone? or can I make this at home? I have icing sugar and food colouring already

purpleturtle Tue 12-Apr-05 09:55:04

you'll get coloured writing icing in the baking section of most supermarkets. Comes in a tube with a selection of nozzles for different designs.

Eeek Tue 12-Apr-05 09:58:02

you can hire number cake tins if you want to be clever and then a bit of easy butter icing in a fancy colour does the job. I did a bright green one for ds when he was 2 at Xmas and he still talks about it. I imagine a dd would love bright pink? Then put new toys on top (diggers for my ds) Jane Asher do icing pens and ready roll icing in various colours. You can find them on the web and they do mail order if you can't get to the shop. You can then put fancy candles on top. I found that none of the kids really ate the cake, they just loved looking at it and blowing out the candles.

Bugsy2 Tue 12-Apr-05 12:01:41

wigglewiggle, I am ashamed to say I would probably spout some of the rubbish your colleagues are saying - just to be chatty & share in the "oh, I've got children too" thing.
I certainly wouldn't mean it inconsiderately or be trying to rub your nose in anything - I'd just be trying to share your excitement about your daughters birthday.
Not sure if that helps, or just shows that I'm a muppet!!!!

wigglewiggle Tue 12-Apr-05 13:49:27

oh Bugsy, your comment cheered me up. I am sure they are all just trying to be nice to me and I got all wound up about it. but i never thought they were rubbing my nose in it intentionally.

I am not that annoyed anymore now about what they have said after this therapeutic session with mumsnet. my strategy is to be honest and nicely say that my situation is different.

nowadays we all need to be aware that not averyone have a nice family around them or enough money etc etc

wigglewiggle Tue 12-Apr-05 16:23:12

eek i like the idea of the bright coloured icing!!! I think I am to late to order anything now or finding the icing pens. I will try tesco online for icing pens, I cannot get to my nearest tesco in time, I am working and the cake has to be ready by thursday eve.

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