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Do You Covet Certain “Firsts” with your Kids or Let Relatives Do Whatever?

(31 Posts)
FixItUpChappie Fri 25-Oct-13 18:52:22

I have a bit of a tangled relationship with my mum so I sometimes question whether I am being fair and reasonable with her. In short I find her competitive with me - I’d describe her as a “one-upmanship” type. Since having kids, I feel that she is always trying to prove herself the best parent etc. Its a bit overbearing.

My two are young so are in the realm of “firsts”. I feel like I’m in competition with her to try and do things before she gets to them IYKWIM? Last year she asked to have my eldest over then dressed him up in a special Christmas outfit and took him to Santa before we did for example. Had professional photos taken and posted them everywhere and sent them to all our family. She buys them Easter baskets and Christmas stockings and is always trying to do first things with them.

We usually try to step in and say, no, wait till we can all go together – we don’t exclude grandparents from anything but she seems to mostly enjoy things if she can get the kids on their own and then go on about how she has already done a, b and c with them….as if perhaps we wouldn’t have thought of it.

So Halloween is on Thursday – my husband has taken the afternoon off so we can do some family crafts, carve pumpkins etc before taking our eldest on his first trick or treating outing. My mum has rung to ask if she can have him the day before – she has bought him a pumpkin to decorate and wants to do Halloween baking and crafts with him. Basically, what we are planning for the next day. I want to say no. She only wants him to relive her parenting days IMO.

I know it must seem petty to some – “oh she bought things for them the horror!” I just have trouble expressing the competitive feel of it. I wonder if I just project it on her sometimes. I don’t know…does this resonate with anyone else? Is it too precious for words to say no to the Wednesday thing?

DoItTooJulia Fri 25-Oct-13 18:57:26

You know, I do get what you're saying, but in one respect if you so say no I think it fans the flames.

If you are nonchalant about it, she may get bored. Also if you can try and are a bit less it won't wind you up so much.

At the end of the day she is doing something nice with your LO. Some people would kill for that. Try and embrace it, see how that makes you feel for a while. If you still don't like it, then it's time to change what's going on.

Also, your ds gets to do loads of fun stuff, which they will love!

Pagwatch Fri 25-Oct-13 19:01:27

It all sounds a bit forced.
I would back off massively in terms of dressing up/crafty/celebrating organised fun. If for no other reason than for fear of ending a holiday camp entertainer in a year or two

Mapleissweet Fri 25-Oct-13 19:03:02

I understand what you are saying. Some things are reserved for parents only and I think 'firsts' are one if those things. You do all the hard work with parenting and so rightly should expect to enjoy certain things.

I think parents forget that they have had their turn and now it's your turn. My mil us the same, she took my dd bra shopping without my knowledge ((dd is 13 and was mortified). That was my job.
If I find a special place to take dd (a certain cafe for waffles etc off the beaten track) mil will take her too.
When we go to the iant

Mapleissweet Fri 25-Oct-13 19:04:22

When we go to the panto at Xmas, mil wants to sit in the middle surrounded by my dc. I think no, I paid for tickets, organised the event. I get to sit next to dc and not be pushed out.
Trivial but irritating.

mammadiggingdeep Fri 25-Oct-13 19:06:31

I get what you're saying...but really if they're really young the kids will just enjoy two lots of fun. If its good for then then maybe you should try to rise above??

Could you tell her you're busy on Wednesday but Friday is perfect?? That way your dc get to spend a great day with their gp but you get to do the 'first' thing.

FixItUpChappie Fri 25-Oct-13 19:10:42

When we go to the panto at Xmas, mil wants to sit in the middle surrounded by my dc.

Yes, that would describe my mum to a tee. We always invite them to join us to things - they are fabulous grandparents. Yet she'll spend the day herding the kids away from us, trying to get them on her own. Its all very trivial as you say, just SO irritating.

CeliaFate Fri 25-Oct-13 19:15:04

My sil was like this. Bought ds his first bike, bought dd her first school bag. Silly things really but I wanted to do that. I don't think it's malicious at all, but it can be seen as a bit of a competition.
I try to step back and think she must feel very insecure if she needs to try and prove that dd/ds could love her more than they love me.
Why don't you tell her Friday is better for you. That way they get to do it with you first, but she doesn't miss out.

glenthebattleostrich Fri 25-Oct-13 19:16:29

I do know what you mean.

My mil has done the firsts with her children and sil's children and was very cross to find out we wouldn't be driving 200 miles for her to do the firsts with dd. We offer compromises but these are often deemed unsuitable.

Put your foot down (nicely) and say no, that doesn't work for us.

FixItUpChappie Fri 25-Oct-13 19:25:20

I would back off massively in terms of dressing up/crafty/celebrating organised fun. If for no other reason than for fear of ending a holiday camp entertainer in a year or two

grin yes, yes well, I am a bit my mothers daughter. In my family holidays were sacred family time - done to the nines. Lets just say I fit in well over on the Christmas board.

FixItUpChappie Fri 25-Oct-13 20:05:31

Well I'm going to tell her we are busy on the day she suggests but they are welcome to join us on Halloween if she'd like. If she asks I'm just going to tell her that we have our own Halloween activities planned - doing similar two consecutive days in a row stills our thunder a bit.

Jengnr Fri 25-Oct-13 21:57:54

Celia is right. Get them to do Friday and say they can stay over.

Then you can go out and have a lie in smile

SlimJimBra Fri 25-Oct-13 22:04:47

I feel your pain, mil can be like this, she signed ds up for rugby classes on the one day a week she looks after him when I know dh would have loved to take ds to sunday rugby when he's old enough (annoyingly rugby tots starts younger than proper club juniors) It seems so small / petty but it totally grates on me. She does stuff like that all the time, little things that would make me look pathetic for calling her up on but that all put together make me feel like she is trying to be the parent not the grandparent.

cloudskitchen Fri 25-Oct-13 22:07:28

I think you're right actually. I would have been annoyed about father Christmas especially. I would be inclined to say very sorry but you have plans for dc already that day but she could have him the day after Halloween instead envy

Anomaly Fri 25-Oct-13 22:10:00

You know what my mum has at times tried to do 'firsts'. Not actually as one-upmanship but just because she wanted to do something with dc's. I just told her no because I want to do that as a first. Could you not do that or would she not understand?

ImagineJL Fri 25-Oct-13 22:14:35

I can understand how you feel. My Mum insisted on coming to school with me for DS2's first day at school. She wanted to come into the classroom with me and him, but I wouldn't let her. I work so I only do 2 school runs per week, and it was important to me to have day 1 for myself. She didn't get it at all and thought I was being very unreasonable. I'm really grateful for her involvement with my kids, and I'm thrilled she loves them so much, but I can't help but get a bit precious about a few things.

PoppyScarer Fri 25-Oct-13 22:14:58

Resonates with me too...MIL took my PFB to see Father Christmas for the first time behind our backs. Luckily DC1 was too young to remember and MIL can't use her camera phone, so the whole episode has been wiped from memory more-or-less.

Also stupid stuff like first haircuts. I ended up taking MIL with us to share the "experience". Why the feck should I feel the need to do that?! She had her chance to do the firsts with her own DCs. Now it's my turn!

skyeskyeskye Fri 25-Oct-13 22:47:17

I wasn't bothered that my brother bought DD her first bike, as he could afford it at the time and we couldn't.

But I did hate it that XH took DD on her first cinema trip. I would have loved to have seen her face when she saw the big screen and the film and everything sad

Ohwhatwitcheryisthis Fri 25-Oct-13 22:51:40

My fil took my son for his first haircut when I was in hospital having my twin ds.angry THEN our nanny took them for their first cut 18 months later. I cried both times. angry sad angry

FixItUpChappie Fri 25-Oct-13 23:57:50

I just told her no because I want to do that as a first. Could you not do that or would she not understand?

Well, I told her outright that the Christmas thing was inappropriate and something for parents to do first. She told me that it was her business what she does with the kids when she has them....which went down like a lead balloon. Despite that confrontation she seems really clueless about it.

I was shopping with her yesterday and told her we are going to put a first Disney DVD in DS1s stocking. She suggested one and said she would buy it - watch it with him at her house and then send it home with him. I told her not to bother - the whole point was we would want to watch it with him. It was such a petty thing to pull her up on...but she just doesn't get it.

gigglestar Sat 26-Oct-13 00:15:37

i have a feeling she does 'get it'.....she's just choosing to act clueless and being quite passive aggressive about the whole thing. No point trying to explain things or confronting her, you won't get far grin I'd do as others have suggested and just say you're busy on that day-but she can have them after! smile

And plan ahead for any future firsts as she will cotton to what you're doing and pre-empt you! (seen it happen too many times with friends and their parents/in laws)

kmc1111 Sat 26-Oct-13 01:51:07

If I think the persons aim is to get in first, then yes it bothers me. My MIL sounds like your mum. If we tell her we plan on doing something with the DC, she'll try to do it first. I don't even really care about 'firsts' (I've done quite a few with the DC without even registering it at the time), it's more that she's just so blatantly obvious about trying to steal our thunder.

If whatever the 'first' was just happened organically eg. BIL taking DD to the cinema not realizing she'd never been before, my mum taking DS to see Santa for the first time because they unwittingly saw him at her local shopping centre and mum didn't have the heart to say no after seeing DS's face light up, that doesn't faze me at all.

I wouldn't get too worked up over crafty stuff, the DC's enthusiasm won't dim because they've done it once before. Bigger stuff I'd tell her to back off. And don't tell her about anything you plan on doing with the DC's until it's done.

ColderThanAWitchsTitty Sat 26-Oct-13 02:59:46

Yanbu, and its not trivial. She's taking these away from you knowing as a mother how important they are. Just tell her how you feel if she can't do these things a day after you do them.. there is a reason for it

NeedlesCuties Sat 26-Oct-13 07:14:22

I covet for in-laws/parents to give enough of a feck to want to do any firsts (or seconds, thirds etc).

I can see why you're annoyed OP, but in a few years time when the kids aren't so cute and innocent doing firsts of everything the excitement your mum feels might wear off and she might well leave you to it.

What does your DH say about it?

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Sat 26-Oct-13 07:35:56

What, indeed, do all the DHs/DPs say about this sort of thing?

What I did when DM, the Devil rest her, showed the first glimmering of this sort of thing was to cough quietly and say "kitchen".

Which was where she gave me my last ever beating. She took the hint, and apart from a few comments about smacking she made an excellent DGM.

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