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MIL and presents - very mad!!!

post #1 of 90
Thread Starter 
I am ranting and advice seeking!
So my MIL keeps giving my 2 year old daughter a whole bunch of stuff that she bought in Good Will or yard sales as presents. She wraps these things up and gives them. While I understand that for a lot of people it's acceptable, it is not for me (I am a biggest jermaphobe and am used to nice things). I expressed my opinion about it to her. Well, she stopped giving her used clothes, but she still gives DD toys (as gifts) that she bought for $2 at the yard sale. What hurts my feelings the most is that for Christmas she gave my stepson (16 year old) and my niece $125 worth of presents (brand new with gift receipts). And my daughter got a box full of yard sale junk. She can afford to buy at least 1 nice thing (brand new) for DD. I don't know how to deal with it.
I am not trying to be a snub, but when I was growing up, I was used to having just 1 thing given to me at one time, but it was brand new, good quality, and lasted me forever.
post #2 of 90
She's your MIL so put it on your husband.

He can be honest with her and tell her, "Listen, it's not you, Mom; it's honeybun. She has issues with pre-used things because they harbor germs, dirt, mold, etc and it's too big of an issue for her to just ignore it. So if you want to buy dd a gift she can keep, please don't get something used since we'll just donate those things anyway."

Then every time after that when dd opens something used, have her put the item in a "special place" and immediately go and wash her hands. That'll get old to your MIL real quick.

Then again, she could just make a game of it with you.

(DISCLAIMER - I'm responding to you as though you truly are germaphobic as you say you are. If you're just picky for nice things and don't want pre-used for whatever other reasons, my answer would be different.)
post #3 of 90
I'm going to play devil's advocate. Does she think that it is better to see the little one open a pile of presents and that one present would be disappointing and she can't afford to buy the pile of presents new? (In that case she could have just cut down and maybe not buy a "big, expensive" present.) She could be a yard-sale junkie (I was before I met DH, then he refused to let me bring "pre-owned" stuff into the house unless I personally knew the former owner or was one person removed.) and sees stuff that she thinks your child would love.

ETA: She could be snubbing you if she bought your stepson and niece something nice and brand new. Did she prefer your husband's first wife? Was his divorce and remarriage to you/your pregnancy close enough that she feels he left previous wife for you--that you broke up his family--or she harbored the belief/hope that they'd get back together even if it had been years? And the niece--her daughter's child, right?
post #4 of 90
My MIL buys DS things from Goodwill, and while I am ok with Goodwill things, I am VERY picky about what I get from Goodwill and always wash everything first... I also draw the line at toys, and don't let her give DS anything he would put in his mouth... so when she gave him a nasty Whinny the Poo (ugg and I HATE character things) to chew on, I almost died. For real. I had DH talk to her about how we feel.

ETA: My Mom is a severe germaphobe, so when I get something from Goodwill for Ds or myself, I usually have to lie about its origin.
post #5 of 90
I've got 3 boys - the oldest is 10, the youngest is almost 2. Having had a 2 year old a couple of times already, I bought most of my little guy's presents at garage sales. Two year old's don't care where their presents come from. It's a great way to save money, better for the environment since there isn't all the packaging to deal with and, when he is not interested for more than a day in the new toys, I don't care much because I haven't invested much. Buying from garage sales doesn't mean that things are junk, unless, of course, your mil is not selective at all. It's definitely possible to get junk, but it's also possible to get some very nice things.

I also got a pair of L.L. Bean snowshoes for my 10 year old that were used once from Craig's List. They are awesome and he doesn't have a clue they are second hand. Even if he did, he wouldn't care.

But, I fully admit that I spent way more on my two older kids than I did on the little guy. The two older ones ask for specific things. The two year old doesn't. I think if I were focused on the money aspect of it, they would be too.

I think maybe your mil deserves the benefit of the doubt. Now, if the pattern repeats year after year and she continues to spend more on the other kids, then, maybe I would feel annoyed. But, maybe it's just that older kids and teens are harder to buy for, want and need specific things and she was trying to accomodate that.

I always feel a bit bad when my relatives spend a lot of money on new toys for the kids that never get played with (Leapfrog things for instance). This has happened lots, especially when the kids are small. It seems wasteful in so many ways.
post #6 of 90
Until I had a child, I didn't realize that it's fairly normal for a lot of people not to go all out for the very little ones because "they don't know the difference" -which is true, they don't. So there could be that. Also, it's a lot harder to find something for a 16 year old at a yard sale where as pretty good quality toys for two year olds are common (they outgrow them so fast and some kids get so many, they're hardly used).

Now, I'll totally admit I am not one for yard sales and Goodwill. I don't mean to be a snob and I know people find great deals, but I am a little freaky about germs, y'know? Logically, I know it doesn't make sense but I didn't grow up with a mom who was thrifty like that so I just am not quite there yet.

Another thing to consider - do these other grandkids have parents who don't buy as much for them as you do for your child? This is something I have noticed in my own family. My brother and SIL don't have as much to spend on their daughter as we do on ours (because we're nearly ten years older) so my mom tends to spend more on their daughter. I get it. Mine has plenty and my mom is trying to even things out. She also gets to spend more time with my daughter whereas my niece spends so much time with her other grandmother. I think my mom is trying to win her over a bit. And I get that, too. She and my daughter have a great realtionship and my kid has plenty of stuff. Is your MIL trying to even things out with the other grandkids in some way?

I agree with everyone else that this is something your husband should take up with her. I would leave out the bit about comparing what the other kids got because even though I totally get what you mean, it will make you sound petty - as if you sat around mentally adding up the cost while people were opening gifts. Have him concentrate on the part about a. either having too many things and not having enough space or b. the two of you being worried about germ exposure.
post #7 of 90
If the stuff your dd got is in good working order and not missing pieces/falling apart then I think you're over-reacting. Clean it if you're worried about germs. Why would you want someone to spend $125 on things if they could get the same things at the thrift store- as long as all the pieces are there and in working condition? Reduce, reuse, recycle and all that. Maybe she spent more for the older kids b/c they are more likely to notice than a small child and she's saving that for when your child is older. Maybe she bought for your kid at the thrift shop b/c at age 2, she isn't likely to care, but at age 16 she may be. I've given my kids and my nieces and nephews toys from the thrift shop. Luckily, none of my family are entitled germophobes, so it's worked out well.
post #8 of 90
We didn't buy a birthday present for our dd on her 2nd or 3rd birthdays because she was over the moon with a party and a cake with candles.

Has the credit crunch not hit your family or friends yet? 2 year olds have little idea about presents and as a pp said, 16yo kids are harder to buy cheap for - I have a 16yo and a 3yo so I can see that issue clearly.

I'd accept her gifts and wash them if that freaks you out but accept them with good grace.
post #9 of 90
I'll be honest - it seems you are overreacting and also it's insulting to say that used things are good enough for other people but not for you.

This is a board where we work on being natural, and that also means not wasteful (like PP said - reduce, reuse and recycle...). Most toys can be cleaned either in the washing machine or with some type of cleaner.

Also, it is a lot harder to find decent used things for teenagers than it is for little kids. A 2 year old is going to outgrow the stuff right away.
post #10 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hatteras Gal View Post
If the stuff your dd got is in good working order and not missing pieces/falling apart then I think you're over-reacting. Clean it if you're worried about germs. Why would you want someone to spend $125 on things if they could get the same things at the thrift store- as long as all the pieces are there and in working condition? Reduce, reuse, recycle and all that. Maybe she spent more for the older kids b/c they are more likely to notice than a small child and she's saving that for when your child is older. Maybe she bought for your kid at the thrift shop b/c at age 2, she isn't likely to care, but at age 16 she may be. I've given my kids and my nieces and nephews toys from the thrift shop. Luckily, none of my family are entitled germophobes, so it's worked out well.
Yeah, that.
post #11 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by karina5 View Post
I'll be honest - it seems you are overreacting and also it's insulting to say that used things are good enough for other people but not for you.

This is a board where we work on being natural, and that also means not wasteful (like PP said - reduce, reuse and recycle...). Most toys can be cleaned either in the washing machine or with some type of cleaner.

Also, it is a lot harder to find decent used things for teenagers than it is for little kids. A 2 year old is going to outgrow the stuff right away.
post #12 of 90
Another one chimiing in, I hope gently, that perhaps since you've not been there yet you don't realize how many times the $$ goes up for teens and older kids just because they're harder to buy for (unless you're lucky and they're bookworms!). Even the clothes are expensive.

I'd ask your husband what DSS got when he was two. I wouldn't assume she was dropping $100+ on him. And why do you keep count anyway? For all you know, she could have picked up that stuff on ebay, craigslist, black friday, ect. So if you KNOW she's a goodwill shopper and bargain biddie (include me in those ranks, at least for my own self/family) then why do you assume she didn't for the other kids?

Are you sure you're not making this into a DSS vs. your kid competition a little bit? Are you afraid that your child is not accepted? If so, you should ask first. You can even have DH (or you IF you two have a good relationship you can talk to MIL) suggest that you'd be happier with a $ limit for now rather than a bunch of different things. I actually would NOT disclose any OCD or genuine phobias to family members who you're not close to. It seems to me that that's only a way that could be used to marginalize you or backfire, unless they are genuinely compassionate folks.

So I dunno. This problem could be all your perception. Or it might not be. I do think that your reaction as stated says that there's something more going on than just keeping score of $$ amounts. (Or if there isn't, then stop doing that, really. It's only going to make you and everyone else around you miserable in the long run, and can be a hard habit to break. I've watched my mom struggle with that for years, and it can really ruin everyone's holiday. ) But I agree, let DH handle it. Or ask him what the history is. DON'T let him blame YOU for asking for a change if that's what needs to happen -- let him pitch the $ limit and ask for ONE thing rather than a ton.
post #13 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by karina5 View Post
I'll be honest - it seems you are overreacting and also it's insulting to say that used things are good enough for other people but not for you.

This is a board where we work on being natural, and that also means not wasteful (like PP said - reduce, reuse and recycle...). Most toys can be cleaned either in the washing machine or with some type of cleaner.

Also, it is a lot harder to find decent used things for teenagers than it is for little kids. A 2 year old is going to outgrow the stuff right away.
I was coming here to say much the same thing. At 2, the OP's daughter may still be losing or destroying toys. Why not get good used stuff?
post #14 of 90

I kind of understand where the OP is coming from...

I have sole custody of my little granddaughter...We don't have much but I refuse to put holey,smelly and stained up clothes on her..Her bio-mom's family doesn't care about that kind of stuff..They give me bags of broken nasty toys and stained,ripped nasty clothes several times a year and it usually all goes in the dumpster.They don't buy this stuff for her they get it from the free charities.They think I am a snob because I told them I wouldn't send L to daycare in clothes like that.On her birthday in September they got her some used board books(just fine) and some older child readers..The stack of readers were all the same book and there was probably 10 of them..The board books were a series of bambi and thumper..She also got a backyardigans flannel book for babies..Also just fine..Problem was when we left we accidentlly left 2 of the board books,the backyardigan book and one of the older child readers..Guess what she got for Christmas? They rewrapped those books and that is what she got for Christmas..

Now I am used to their strangness.But I even found this tacky.

OP...My little girls family also gifts used things...I also think it is fine as long as it in decent good condition...If it is not and your child is being given junk while the others are given new items I would have your husband take care of it since it is his family doing it..Good luck...These kind of Brewhaahaas are frequent for me as my idea of decent school clothes are different from her bio-mom and families..And I buy most of my childs clothing at Walmart.So I am not picky about children's clothes at all.

GL
post #15 of 90
With the information shared, I think this seems to be more of a preference issue than a germ issue. Regardless, I would recommend you not say anything to your MIL (nor do I think you should have your SO/DH/DW say something to your MIL), and I suggest you donate any unwanted toys.

I, personally, do not see this as your MIL's issue.
post #16 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mylie View Post
I have sole custody of my little granddaughter...We don't have much but I refuse to put holey,smelly and stained up clothes on her..Her bio-mom's family doesn't care about that kind of stuff..They give me bags of broken nasty toys and stained,ripped nasty clothes several times a year and it usually all goes in the dumpster.They don't buy this stuff for her they get it from the free charities.They think I am a snob because I told them I wouldn't send L to daycare in clothes like that.On her birthday in September they got her some used board books(just fine) and some older child readers..The stack of readers were all the same book and there was probably 10 of them..The board books were a series of bambi and thumper..She also got a backyardigans flannel book for babies..Also just fine..Problem was when we left we accidentlly left 2 of the board books,the backyardigan book and one of the older child readers..Guess what she got for Christmas? They rewrapped those books and that is what she got for Christmas..

Now I am used to their strangness.But I even found this tacky.

OP...My little girls family also gifts used things...I also think it is fine as long as it in decent good condition...If it is not and your child is being given junk while the others are given new items I would have your husband take care of it since it is his family doing it..Good luck...These kind of Brewhaahaas are frequent for me as my idea of decent school clothes are different from her bio-mom and families..And I buy most of my childs clothing at Walmart.So I am not picky about children's clothes at all.

GL
She didn't say smelly, holey, wrecked, or broken. She ONLY said "used".

To the OP, BTW......warehouses where toys are stored before they are sold.....have RATS. So new toys are just as nasty and germy as used toys. They should ALL be cleaned before played with.
post #17 of 90
maybe she figures that a 2 yr old is more likely to grow out of stuff faster. The older the child the easier it is to buy new stuff that they use for longer period of time.
post #18 of 90
Gifts are GIFTS. And, I'm with a bunch of others- there is a difference between really, truly "unwanted" and "nasty" items and others that were gently used and ended up in second hand shops.

If you don't like them, say "Thank you" then give them to Goodwill.

As for the germs, soap and water, bleach, or a trip through the dishwasher will do it to clean them.
post #19 of 90
I am curious to why you think that new things wouldnt have grems on them?
People do make them, package them, handle them in some way.

And new clothes are sewn, handled , tried on, etc. That is what washing is for.
post #20 of 90
I do think that the reason is probably because older children are much harder to please when it comes to gift-giving. Like a PP said, if it continues in years to come, then it could be a personal issue.

I think you should either let it go, or speak to your dh about it.
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