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Cheap Grandma!

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
I'm wondering if I am the one with problem here, if I am being too materialistic, or if I am unfairly comparing my mom to my own grandmas, OR if she needs to get a clue about being a grandma.

Here is the deal. She's sooooo cheap. She's married to the biggest cheap skate on the planet and his ways have finally gotten to her I guess. She lives in my town so she sees ds and dd fairly often and they have a mutual loving relationship, she just doesn't ... spoil them they way I thought grandmas are supposed to.

I could understand if she had no money, but she has plenty.
For ds 1st b-day she got him a mylar balloon and a cupcake. Now, I know he was too young to know what was going on, but my father (not married to mom) who does not have any money started ds a coin collection from his personal collection. Very meaningfull and cool.
For 2nd b-day, she gave him a very used, tattered dinosaur blanket that had been left behind by one of her husband's tenants. GROSS. Ds liked it just fine b/c he was still too little to know better, but I was floored.
For 3rd b-day, another mylar balloon.
For Christmas this year she leaves me a voice mail saying that she found the kids a bunch of great stuff at a garage sale and she's going to save if for Christmas presents. Now, don't get me wrong I LOVE garage sales. I just wish she would give them things from garage sales during the year for no reason, just because she feels like it, and get them nicer things for Christmas.

Also, she makes comments like "these children have more toys than any other kids I know..." Which is rediculous. Also, she has said "well, they don't really need anything"... Well they aren't in need, but I have lots of wonderful memories of my grandmas giving me dolls and clothes and things I really cherished. I just wish my mom would step up to the plate.

Also, her house is so unfun for the kids, but she hints all the time that she wants them to come over more. My friends MIL has a whole guest room devoted to grandkids with toys and books. Most of it is from garage sales and thrift stores which is great and the kids love going over there.

I'm tempted to get her the book "the complete idiots guide to grandparenting", but I know she would be offended. Can anyone relate to this? or is it just me?
post #2 of 29
Personally, I think the problem is yours. My mom gets the kids lots of stuff (albeit cheap), but I would prefer her to have a relationship. When your child is grown, he may have wonderful memories of the beautiful mylar baloons and homemade cupcakes that his grandma gave him- just like your memories of the dolls. He doesn't need things, and maybe she was raised in such a fashion that excess is a bad thing. If she was raised during the dperession, as many grandparents were, her view of money and how to spend it may be very different from yours. Being a grandmother is not about what things you give your grandchild, but about the love and relationship you share. She hasn't missed a birthday or holiday, you just don't like the way that she celebrates them, and I think that this is your problem rather than hers.
post #3 of 29
It sounds like you have special memories of your own grandma I really loved mine, but she died when I was 7. I don't remember if she gave me gifts or not, but I do remember bits and pieces of the time we spent together, and that is what I consider special. Now that I'm a mom, I wish my own mom were alive to know and love her only grandchild.
post #4 of 29
mamadejose, I do see where your coming from... I know my grandparents spoiled me as much as they were able (neither of them had a *lot* but they made me feel special with what they could). But I also agree with khrisday, its the *time* that counts. The things I remember about my grandma who lived close to me is spending time cooking, and gardening and just being with her...

I would be weirded out by given tattered gifts just picked up anywhere though... I was worried when my MIL told me she bought a bassinette at a garage sale. She tried to give us a VERY worn out carseat, thats why I was concerned. Turned out to be very very nice though! I wouldn't be worried or concerned if your son's grandma is buying garage sale presents if they are safe and not falling apart though. At least she cares enough to think of him...

Maybe you can ask her to find some of her garage sale finds for her home so your son can spend time with her and not be bored?

But I understand being frustrated by people being cheap. My MIL told me she just *had* to buy this bassinette, even though she swore she wouldn't buy anything. That bothered me a LOT. This is her first grandchild and while I do NOT expect to be showered with presents and 'things' I would expect she would want to buy at least a cute outfit, or a recieving blanket! Oh well, she has since changed her mind Sorry didn't mean to go on about me there!
post #5 of 29
Is the problem that your are unhappy with the amount she spends or that you feel she did not put enough thought into the gift? You saw the special quality of the gift your father gave your son even though it did not cost him anything money wise. Maybe you could look at it from another side. I thought the cupcake and balloon was cute.
My parents live 1500 miles away and can't see my kids alot they are the gift buyers in the family. My inlaws live 5 minutes away and do not spend alot of money on my kids but visit often and babysit and come to dance recitals. My MIL heard my ds loves turtles and she bought him a bag of plastic turtles from the dollar store. That is something my mom can't do because she lives so far away and does not see what my children are into. I would trade the gifts my parents send the kids for the time my inlaws are able to spend with my kidsa hundred times more. Also about your moms home not being kid friendly what I did was bring some toys from our house that the kids did not play with as often over to my inlaws. I bought some dollar store plastic chairs, crayons and coloring books. I am now going to bring story books over and am taking over a shelf on the book case for the kids. Ask your mom if you could bring somethings over and set up a little corner of the house, they don't need a whole room. I do understand where you are coming from, we have these expectations and want to recreate happy memories for our kids that we had. it is only natural you want them to have good memories of your mom as thier grandma.
post #6 of 29
okay, i guess i am the odd mama out here, but i'd be pissed as hell if my mom gave my baby some nasty blanket a tenant had left behind. i'm all for buying used stuff, i love consignment stores, but come on! that was trash, period.
the balloon and cupcake for the first birthday was cute, i agree. but it really seems like your mom is putting little to no effort into her gifts. when we give a gift, we send a message about our feelings for that person, and about ourselves. it's not how much you spend, at all, but that you take the time to select or make a gift from your heart to theirs.
post #7 of 29
I understand you're not trying to put an emphasis on material goods, and I don't either, but the situation would bug me as well. What is funny in our situation is that at each birthday and christmas, all 4 grandparents (5 including stepmom) each say "Oh, he's going to get tons of presents", so they don't get him much if anything, and then he ends up getting almost nothing! And yes, I know the relationship is really what is special and what he will remember, and he has a great relationship with all of them, but presents are fun! And all grandparents (except my mom - who buys the most stuff, ironically) have quite a bit of money. I kept hoping that someone would give ds something "heirloom", like the coin thing you said your dad did. Either a great wooden wagon or horse, or a special hand knit blanket, a special doll, something from their childhood, or something like that. But none of that has materialized.

My grandmother sent ds a box of toys last year for christmas, and it was all used, dirty, not age appropriate, and there were even some dirty dog toys in there! (She later said that that was a mistake.) That was downright offensive, I thought. I would rather she have just sent a card with a nice letter or something.

I remember my grandparents giving us special, if not expensive, things: my paternal grandmother always sewed clothes for us, my maternal grandfather always took us to a special "fancy" restaurant for our birthday - just us and him. And he sent a check for us to do something fun with. And while I still treasure most the time I spent with each of them, these things were fun and made me feel special as a kid.

Anyway, just wanted to say that I agree that I would be a little put off too. I agree with what Shoshanna's Mom said.
post #8 of 29
It would bother me a lot!! I would be so angry I probably would drastically reduce contact with grandma... giving a used blanket that a tenant had left behind as a gift is just outrageous, imo. Like other people said, it's not the amount the gift costs, but just the fact of putting no thought into it. and the grandma who gave theri grandchild dirty dog toys... omg! well, that is just me though.
post #9 of 29
It would bug me. My mil hasn't gotten the girls anything and I don't mind that at all (actually I prefer it to my mom who is trying to outspend me!), but I would rather not get used stuff that isn't in good condition.
post #10 of 29
I kinda know what you mean. dd's grandparents buy her gifts occasionally but not much. I was really surprised at Christmas especially. I just assumed since dh and I aren't in a position to buy her a lot of things that they would chip in more. Both grandparents are really well off. With my mom I think she's just cheap. The funny thing is that dh's bio mom who makes significantly less than the other grandparents bought her the most and the nicest gifts.
I'm not really irritated by their behavior just confused. Like you my grandparents bought us really nice gifts for holidays and Christmas and the occasional gifts for no reason.
post #11 of 29
post #12 of 29
I can commisserate to a certain extent. My mom is constantly buying inappropriate/plastic crap/poorly made things, and is spending a fortune doing it. She doesn't get that DS likes to interact as opposed to being passively entertained. Of course she might realize that if she spent more time around him! On the other hand, MIL is great. She lives twice as far away, yet has been to visit twice as much. She mainly only gives at Christmas/birthdays, but she always asks me for a gift list and gets items from that!

I even encourage the both of them to get items (like books) secondhand. It's much cheaper that way. In fact, 90% of DS' clothes have been used. Toys have been pretty much new, but that's because I can't seem to find quality stuff used.
post #13 of 29
I would have to say I would be thoroughly offended, and it isn't about the money. A gift is a representation of how you feel for someone. When I was totally broke this year, I burned special CD's for my parents, that were a compilation of songs representing their lives. It cost me 50 cents for the CD, but it had a huge amount of time and thought, and was greatly appreciated. A used tattered blanket left behind by a tenant is an insult. If she found something special or thoughtful at a garage sale, that would be great, but to give crap is not right. Gifts don't have to cost anything to be special, but they should show that you care for someone.
post #14 of 29
I would be bummed too. It isn't that she isn't giving expensive gifts it is that she is giving inappropriate thoughtless gifts. why bother. it would be one thing if she found somthing at a rummage sale that your ds would love (and it was in usable condition) but it soundds more like she happened upon a cheap garage sale and said "this will do - it is a toy, kids like toys"
post #15 of 29

Re: Cheap Grandma!

Originally posted by mamadejose
I'm tempted to get her the book "the complete idiots guide to grandparenting", but I know she would be offended. Can anyone relate to this? or is it just me?
If you find this book I need a copy of it for MIL. She doesn't even acknowledge Cathlin or Jason. I am glad she lives in the upstate.
post #16 of 29
I read this thread last night and totally comiserated, but couldnt relpy because my husband was online with me. My MIL was the cheapest person Id ever heard of, until I read your post. We are very poor, my mother is middle of the road, and my inlaws are rich. So, it bums me out that my mom and I go out of our way to make sure we get the kids nice stuff (not nesc. expensive) not something that will fall apart or never get used. THe only thing my MIL bought for Dylan (her FIRST grandchild- my girls have diff. dads) was an outfit from KMart then she had to brag about how it was marked down to $4.95. THat was not thoughtful IMO, it was weird, you don't tell people how cheap their gifts were. So, I just wanted to reassure you that I don't think you are being materialistic at all. If she was poor, it would be a totally different story, although the blanket would still be out of line. Since she is your mother, though, you may be able to say something about her bad gifts next time you receive one. Good luck. Emily
post #17 of 29
To mamadejose:

I understand your concern about the gifts your mother buying or reusing old crap from garage sales or old tenants. Health hazard!

I just want to share that my MIL, may she RIP, did the same thing, but she was an alcoholic and everything retail seemed way too expensive to her, so this was her way of buying gifts for me and my children.

My own mom told me she did not have to buy me anything for my children; she told me that they were my children and that she was under no obligation to buy anything for them. She also says that she is too young to be a grandmother (70?), so this is not her job.

My children are grown now, and do not even know what she looks like.

NOR do they care b/c they know what a Grandmother is supposed to be based on their personal observations of their friends' grandparent relationships, and she ain't it.
post #18 of 29
I would be offended not in the cheapness, but the lack of thought. My mom has made several blankets for Goo. They are cheap (in terms of cost), but we are planning to keep them for her when she's older because of the heart that went into it.

Money is a funny thing and some people really do think "It's the thought that counts" meaning thinking of getting something rather than being thoughtful in what you give.
post #19 of 29

that is terrible!

my parents are POOR but manage new presents.

it wouldn't even have to be a "Toy".

a nice Savings Bond, Zoo Membership, Magazine subscription...etc

even books or book clubs.

that is pretty mean of her.
post #20 of 29
Here is what I think you should do. Start a 529 college savings account, or any type of college savings account for your child. Send your mom a letter telling her that you know your child has too many toys and you don't want her to spend any more money on great bargains for your child. Tell her that you'd prefer that she put the money she might have spent on presents in your child's college savings account. Write it as if she normally gives the most wonderful presents in the world.

I don't know what the results would be, but I'd rather have $5 in my kids college savings account than a tattered grungy blanket.
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