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To be sad about bday gift from mum

67 replies

Volumous · 21/02/2023 11:31

It's my 36th birthday and my mum (62) has sent me a tacky sparkly Happy Birthday candle. It was delivered directly from Etsy. I do like candles but it has no scent, looks unsafe, and no thought has gone into it at all. I wouldn't care if it was anyone else, but it's my mum and I'm find the lack of thought a bit sad. Aibu?

She's always been a bit disinterested in my birthday, hasn't made any effort for years now. Last year she gave me some standard shampoo and conditioner. Useful but not really a gift? To note, my parents are not struggling with money, although the cost doesnt matter to me, I'd be happy with something small and cheap that I'd actually like. But she never asks what I'd like and never listens to me if I ask. For her birthday I get her something nice that she wants and take her for a day out, lunch or afternoon tea or something. She has anxiety and doesn't get out much.

DP's parents and grandparents have clubbed together and given me a voucher for a sports massage because I'm currently training for the marathon. Really thoughtful of them and makes me sad.

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?


You have one vote. All votes are anonymous.

JackiePlace · 21/02/2023 13:50

Morechocmorechoc · 21/02/2023 11:40

Have you ever told her how it makes you feel? Nothing to lose! Sorry it is a bit rubbish

It sounds like she's been doing this for a while so I'm not sure why you had expectations that this year would be any different. It's a shame but stop putting the effort in for her birthday and if she asks why, you can tell her exactly how you feel.

This is good advice from @Cigarettesaftersex1 but it can be hard to put into practice. I keep telling myself this when, after 30 years with OH he has not once got me a birthday cake! Except for one year when he hastily ran to the petrol station after I complained. Yet he always expects a home-made trifle. I just can't bring myself not to make it. It seems mean...


diddl · 21/02/2023 14:24

Tbh I'd rather not exchange presents than be constantly disappointed.

After time it just seems like a waste of effort & money!


Mary46 · 21/02/2023 15:27

Hi op mine is really mean nothing for my 50th. I bought her nothing from hols lol. As you say its hurtful.


ReformedWaywardTeen · 21/02/2023 15:50

Isheabastard · 21/02/2023 12:06

I used to get upset about my mums birthday gifts to me. One time many years ago she sent me a mini cafetière for one cup. It wasn’t a bad gift until I realised she had got it practically free by collecting coupons.

I knew I equated her love by the amount of care she took in selecting my gifts. I had never felt much love from her as I was growing up and this became more of an issue the older I got and especially so after I had a child.

As I’ve got older I care less about the presents I get. In truth present buying has become more of a chore than fun, but I make an effort for my DDs birthday because I know it’s important to her.

Some people are just rubbish present givers (eg my husband). We started emailing links to things we liked to save the bother.

If you can rationalise your mother loves you but for various reasons is just rubbish at presents, I think that’s liveable with.

But if it’s for other reasons then, as suggested lower your expectations, or cut back on your presents to her so it feels more equal, or have a word with her or your dad.

Happy Birthday OP!

@ReformedWaywardTeen that is so rubbish and unfair.

Well in the long run she did me a favour, made me cut ties along with other shitty things throughout growing up.

Now, the sister who got impressive gifts complains bitterly to mutual friends that she is stuck with our mum, who is now elderly and expected to do everything for her, all the time. She is not impressed at all. And she is a very selfish person and entitled beyond belief, whereas Im the opposite. It all goes round in the end.


pussycatinfluffyslippers · 21/02/2023 15:56

It was delivered directly from Etsy. I do like candles but it has no scent, looks unsafe

Have you told your mum how shit it is?
Leave a review if nothing else.

Oh, and yeah, mine gave few shits for me, so crap gifts all the way.🤷‍♀️ I buy my own now.


Flowersarepink · 21/02/2023 15:57

Firstly happy birthday!

That doesn’t sound great to be honest. Do you think she needs ideas perhaps for what to get you? I know the candle is not what you wanted.

Not that it is a race to the bottom but my own DM didn’t even remember my birthday even though I visited her that day. No card, no gift, not even saying happy birthday. I have learned not to expect even happy birthday being said to me from her.


Armychefbethebest · 21/02/2023 16:08

I'll raise you on a sparkly candle and throw in a weight loss book at 7 months pregnant for my 29th x


VainAbigail · 21/02/2023 16:24

Can we see said candle?


Johnisafckface · 21/02/2023 16:28

Cigarettesaftersex1 · 21/02/2023 11:40

It sounds like she's been doing this for a while so I'm not sure why you had expectations that this year would be any different. It's a shame but stop putting the effort in for her birthday and if she asks why, you can tell her exactly how you feel.

Happy birthday

Yeah, this.


Milky4 · 21/02/2023 16:44

Stop doing nice things for her birthday.


Wexone · 21/02/2023 16:48

@Volumous you are fully entitled to feel like this. Parents are one of the few people in your life that should know you well enough to buy or do something that you will appreciate ( and it doesn't have to cost money) My own mother is the same, it will be either tat or a voucher that is no use to me. She once bought me a voucher for shopping center 2 and a half hours drive away that was for 20e- Petrol and parking would have cost more. It went in the bin. I would rise above it. you cant change her but you can change how she makes you feel. My friends make a joke of it now- like text me happy birthday am sure your famly will spoil you rotton - Rise above it do something you will enjoy and love instead , remember how she treats you when it comes to her birthday


CheekyHobson · 21/02/2023 17:15

It sounds to me like she is just a bit crap at buying gifts. My mother always buys me things that I wonder why she thought I would like them. Her tastes are quite different to mine and although I think she tries to buy me things that are more “modern” than she would like, she never hits the mark.

If your mum consistently manages to buy lovely things for your brother then maybe there’s more to it but if she’s a bit hit and miss there too, then you may be focusing on something she once got right for him and ignoring the times she got it wrong (after all, it sounds like the puppy wasn’t a good choice for your brother).


MillenialAvocado · 21/02/2023 17:28

Some people really are genuinely crap at buying gifts. One of my best friends bought me a massive soft toy plushie for my last birthday. I'm 35. I gave it to my 1 year old son. The thing was, I know she'd spent a load of money on it as well, so I don't think she thought it was a crap gift, there was just literally no thought process gone into it whatsoever. I used to get a bit offended by her rubbish gifts but now just accept it as a quirk. You have to lower your expectations with some people.


Fluffleupagus · 21/02/2023 18:53

I feel you OP. I gave up with my DM years ago and now she just gives me money for birthdays and Christmas. She is very generous in terms of £, which I am grateful for, and I know she wants me to have something I like / want. If left to her own devices she buys random stuff fron the local garden centre that is to her own tastes and is just a waste of money. If I ask for anything specific then she frets about where she's going to get it from, whether the shop is inconvenient for her to get to (refuses to shop online) will they have it in stock etc etc.

Conversely she always wants 'a surprise" for her special occasions as 'you go to so much effort and buy me such nice things', or otherwise asks for something really awkwardly specific that I have to make an effort to locate and buy!

It upset me a lot when I was younger as I always felt she never bothered to get to know me well enough to know what I would like, and wouldn't go out of her way to actually go shopping for something specific I asked for. I'm over it now though, and happily take the cold hard cash and accept this is just how she is!


BellePeppa · 19/03/2023 09:04

At your age I wouldn’t expect any present from a parent other than a card (I wouldn’t ‘expect’ that but I know one would be posted). At what age are you going to stop expecting any present at all?


zingally · 19/03/2023 10:48

Have you tried talking to her about how it makes you feel?

My mum is similar with gifts. I always try really hard with her presents, to get her something really meaningful. A couple of times, she's literally cried with joy at what I've got for her. I also always get her a personalised card from Moonpig or similar as well, as I know she loves them.
But it doesn't work the same in reverse. She'll literally get me exactly what I ask for, ie: this book, that top, that piece of kitchenware, but that's it. Since becoming an adult, I can't think of a single time she's bought me something in a "I saw this and thought of you" way. And if I don't suggest anything, she'll just transfer £100 to my bank account.

BUT, in every other way, she's a great mum, like REALLY great. So I've just had to accept that although gift giving is something I love and take really seriously, it isn't one of her priorities.


girlfriend44 · 19/03/2023 13:36

Morechocmorechoc · 21/02/2023 11:40

Have you ever told her how it makes you feel? Nothing to lose! Sorry it is a bit rubbish

It will no doubt backfire and she'll be accused of being ungrateful

Just smile, say thanks mum and don't make such an effort for her birthday. People don't like being challenged. Been there and done it.

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