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About in laws buying stuff

50 replies

DanTheNeilDiamond · 11/08/2015 08:28


My inlaws like to buy ds1 and ds2 gifts, I'm happy for them to do so.

They go to America every 1.5/2 years and think we should let them buy all the boys clothes for the year while they're there.

I've told them if they see anything they like they can get them but they don't need to buy all their clothes.

They keep emailing me asking me to measure boys shoulder to shoulder, arm length, waist, leg length and in seam. I've emailed them back that the boys don't need much but if they really like something just get them a year up.

They're not getting tailored clothes, just target, Walmart etc, nothing wrong with those clothes just don't need exact measurements.

Aibu to be annoyed that they ask for their measurements, how many undies they need, pairs of socks, etc in every email after I've said they don't need them?

At Christmas and birthdays they ask me for a list of 5 presents each for the boys and to tell them where to buy them.

They also wanted to choose and pay for the health insurance they thought we should have, wanted to go with us to our broker to be sure we got the best mortgage.

Im grateful that they want to buy my sons things but aibu in thinking they're going overboard? Others have always just bought them something a size up.

OP posts:

superram · 11/08/2015 08:30

I would be over the moon but I am poor! My in laws buy lots of stuff but don't ask what we need it the size so we get lots of too small clothes. I would love it if I could give specific instructions to my mil-would save me lots of trips and credit notes from m and s.


Ohfourfoxache · 11/08/2015 08:34

God they sound horrendously overbearing Shock

Yanbu at all


Hellionandfriends · 11/08/2015 08:35

I would be pleased too as long as I could suggest the vague style of clothes to buy. We are skint though and have to source things senond hand or cheaply


ahbollocks · 11/08/2015 08:36

My ex mil was like this. Lovely but really over veering. They sound bored.


Hellionandfriends · 11/08/2015 08:36

Just to add though, I wouldn't mind at all but would hate for them to try and dictate how I parent


ahbollocks · 11/08/2015 08:36

And yep mine was really upset when I chose my own home insurance


Theycallmemellowjello · 11/08/2015 08:37

What does your dh think? He should be handling this.


Sparkletastic · 11/08/2015 08:38

Completely overstepping the boundaries and ignoring your wishes. Smacks of controlling behaviour rather than genuine heartfelt generosity. I start saying they don't need anything at all, or just one or two specific things that might be cheaper in the States - a Gap coat or a pair of Converse boots for e.g


DanTheNeilDiamond · 11/08/2015 08:39

Thanks for replies, no they want to choose all the boys clothes - the style inlaws like.

We are fortunate that we don't need their financial help, and I'm not ungrateful for a few things but as pp said they feel overbearing with this.

OP posts:

Hellionandfriends · 11/08/2015 08:40

It would have to be my style not theirs


fourtothedozen · 11/08/2015 08:40

Your in-laws sound very generous.

It must be hard for them to live such a distance from their grandchildren. I would cut them some slack. They are possible trying to over- compensate because they don't have day to day involvement wit the children.
If they lived half a mile away and were interfering constantly then I could see the issue. But they live a continent away- they are trying in their own way to be supportive.


EmeraldKitten · 11/08/2015 08:42

The insurance and mortgage stuff is very overbearing.

The clothes - I'd imagine that as they're buying from America they just want to treble check the sizing as it's not as if you can nip it back if it's wrong - I would just do it tbh, it will take a few minutes tops.

The Christmas presents sounds fabulous and I wish my parents and MIL would do this. Instead they're insistent on choosing (and in my mums case keeping it as a 'surprise') meaning we frequently get doubles or stuff that I know the dc won't use a lot. I always have a much bigger list of stuff that I know the dc will love (but too much for one Xmas just from FC/us) so to be able to give 5 items of that list to Family would be great!


DanTheNeilDiamond · 11/08/2015 08:42

One time when they were here they had ds1 and 2 step on a piece of paper and drew the outline of their feet so they could buy 'all the boys shoes from now on' Hmm

OP posts:

DanTheNeilDiamond · 11/08/2015 08:43

They don't live in the states they just visit there often, they live an hour away.

OP posts:

threenotfour · 11/08/2015 08:44

Yes I would be inclined to ask for a couple of specific things like two pairs of Converse or a winter coat. I would also be very upfront but kindly wording and state that I enjoy choosing my children's clothes and see it as a perk of motherhood so they understand not to buy loads of stuff.
My mil used to buy my DC a winter coat every year and it used to annoy me as I always wanted to choose their coat as you see it everyday all winter long. I ended up buying them one earlier and earlier to beat her to it!


fourtothedozen · 11/08/2015 08:44



shovetheholly · 11/08/2015 08:45

I have extremely overbearing in laws, so I feel your pain.

One thing I am learning (under the tutelage of BIL's partner, who is brilliant and copes effortlessly with them), is to nod, smile and accept a certain amount of behaviour, but then to draw clear and unambiguous boundaries where it really matters. So if they want to buy the kids clothes, send them the measurements. It's useful, and it lets them feel involved and presumably makes them happy, and it's got to be useful for you too, right?

But maybe draw a line at the financial stuff. 'It's very kind of you to offer, but we really don't need the help' is clear. If they push, you can add a reaction statement 'I feel a bit stressed by this coming up again: it's kind of you to offer, but we don't need the help and that's that.' And change the conversation to an intervention that is useful: 'That top you bought from the states for DS is brilliant! It washes really well'.

(In our case, PIL are always giving us junk that they can't bear to throw away. The last thing was a battery charger from 1982 with a broken lead and a load of batteries from the 1990s. We smile, thank them very much, then put them in the recycling when they are gone. It is MUCH easier than having a struggle over whether we accept them or not).


Theycallmemellowjello · 11/08/2015 08:45

Have you told them directly you don't want them to buy more than a few things because you like to choose and buy the boys' clothes yourself? Maybe the honest approach is best as they don't appear to be willing/able to take hints!


Rubygillis · 11/08/2015 08:48

My parents do the same with presents and I love it, but I am unsentimental and would prefer that my two just get things that they will need/use. My PILs are much more thoughtful in a way, but we often end up with things they have or aren't really played with because they don't ask.

My parents also buy some clothes but they know the styles I like. PILs buy things that I wouldn't put the boys in (lots of slogan t shirts and the like). But they are kind hearted so I make them wear them in the garden a few times so I can take a photo or two and then they remain at the back of the drawer until i can pass them on.


charlestonchaplin · 11/08/2015 08:50

What does your dh think? He should be handling this.

Why? Does the OP lack a mouth or a brain to direct it? Nothing wrong with her husband dealing with it, but no need for him to.


Momzilla82 · 11/08/2015 09:11

This isnt about clothes, or them "helping you out". Or about money. It's about control and them overstepping boundaries. If it were they would just give you a cheque and let you choose or jusy buy the items specified.

You know them best. Would subtle dig/ jokes work best "you're taking away all my joy in choosing to things for my children." Or "you'd think nanny would have got bored of buying children's clothes having had her turn with daddy." Or just be direct. It's very kind of you to offer but I would prefer to choose my own childrens clothes from now on. I have this with my parents and its very wearing.

I hope you don't have other nieces and nephews- otherwise it won't be long until they attempt the "Christmas coup" that happens in our family every year. I choose my kids a Christmas outfit. Every year they try and buy one which matches for all their grandchildren. It's dull.


PumpkinsMummy · 11/08/2015 09:28

If they won't listen then just accept the clothes and either give them away/sell them, or keep them but don't use them. If you do the latter, then a couple of times sending a message about how the boys didn't get a chance to wear a lot of the clothes they bought for them, and would they like them back to pass on to anyone should get the message through.

You can't stop them buying, but if it is unwanted and unreasonable intrusion (which it is after you have told them repeatedly to stop) then you can certainly just not put your children in the clothes they buy.


Longtalljosie · 11/08/2015 09:43

I have this too (the clothes) and haven't dared start a thread on MN about it for fear of being flamed! But choosing clothes for your children (excepting those in financial hardship, and I do accept this is a first world problem) is one of life's joys. My DDs have wardrobes stuffed with clothes which I don't like at all. I would have enjoyed choosing their wardrobes, but as money is tight DH gets a bit pissy when I buy them clothes, because of course it's completely unnecessary - MiL has done it all Sad. All I get to choose is knickers and nighties...


minipie · 11/08/2015 09:46

OP YANBU, it does seem like they want to control rather than simply being generous. I agree with shovetheholly's approach - smile and accept where it doesn't really matter to you, but draw the line on things where it does. And on those things just keep saying "that's very kind but we don't need help with x thanks" or "that's very kind but I'd really like to buy the boys clothes myself this time"

charleston I agree it's best for the OH to speak to his parents - not because the OP is in any way incapable, but because it's easier to be blunt with your own parents than with your in laws.


hackmum · 11/08/2015 09:50

How annoying. What about saying: "The boys already have plenty of trousers and t-shirts, but what they really need is a good winter coat. Here are the measurements."

Don't know if it would work but you could try.

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