I Have To Draw The Line!! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 11-07-2005, 01:04 PM - Thread Starter
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I've complained about this before (and gotten flamed for it, so hopefully none of that here ). MIL and Mom are buying fanatics. They have gotten to the point where they cannot enter our home without a bag of stuff for the kids, usually toys, clothes and other junk. The thing is they are both here 5 days out of the week! I can't handle it anymore. I've complained to no avail and while I'm grateful they are thoughtful enough to buy them things (since my grandparents never did that for me) it is just too much! It's gotten to the point I feel sick when they come and when MIL mentiones the Salvation Army, I sigh and roll my eyes. It's just too much stuff!!

DH and I have pack rat issues . We're the kind of people who hate to throw anything out, although we do. We seem to be giving away things hand over fist and we're learning to cut ties with sentimentality. As we speak, my living room is torn apart as I'm seperating things to give away. I try to do this regularly otherwise there wouldn't be room for us .

I want to address our mothers in a way that is clear and concise. I am thinking of emailing them the same letter together with links to why it's not good for kids to have so much stuff/to be given stuff as they are. (sorry, had to bold that so it would stand out ). I dont' know any sites or studies that talk of this so if you do, please share!!

Neither child has ever learned to enjoy just one toy and to be honest, they are more content playing with our video collection than any toy we have (except for trains, puzzles, computer and books). I am really dreading Christmas as it's been a fiasco in the past, grandparents subliminally fighting over who got them the most toys. I think I have mom buying them bedroom furnishings, which isn't too bad. I dont' know what to tell MIL if she asks what to get them.

I don't want them to become greedy or selfish and expect things all the time. I'd like to be able to buy the toys I think would benefit them most. I'd like to be able to buy them clothes without feeling guilty about all the clothes they have, even though I don't care a lot for them. I want most of all to walk into our apartment and not be so depressed about all the clutter.

OK, a lot of that is a vent but any suggestions are more than welcome . I need to get this under control!
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#2 of 9 Old 11-07-2005, 02:22 PM
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I have the same problem. My mom loves to buy for DS and DH and I are HUGE packrats. I saw a good Christmas gift tip on another MDC post somewhere - limit them to ONE toy. They can give as many clothes, art supplies, books, etc, that they want, but only one toy. It really does work! That way you get useful things that can either be shared or handed down instead of piles of toys everywhere.

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#3 of 9 Old 11-08-2005, 03:18 PM
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I'm going to have to deal with the same thing. MIL is already like this with SO! She has to give him something, buy him something, bring him something, and it drives me crazy. He's a packrat, and never wants to get rid of anything, and she brings more and more stuff.

It's gotten better since they live 4 hours away now. I appriciate that she thinks of us, but we don't need any more!! Something that I posted in that Christmas thread that you might enjoy-a tradtition that a mom started with her daughter of gathering all the toys and clothes to donate before christmas.

I'm going to start that, I've got enoguh already!
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#4 of 9 Old 11-08-2005, 03:24 PM
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when my mom asked me last year what i wanted for MY birthday I sheepishly asked for a zoo membership and then went on about how it was too expensive, therfore it should be a birthday gift for ds3 and our family christmas gift as well. it was what we really wanted. then when this year came around I mentioned for months how much we have been enjoying that membership and made a point of thanking her and having the kids thank her. We therefore got the same gift this year and avoided some of the bulky stuff grandmas seem to love.

the year my parents divorced and ds1 was 9 months old they each got hima 50 dollar elmo's radio controlled roadway/railroad....i HAD to take one back, seriously HUGE things. i think it's your call, but ask for non-cluttery non-material useful stuff ages ahead and thank profusely and you just MIGHT get it. hope that helps.
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#5 of 9 Old 11-08-2005, 09:20 PM
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We also hint towards family experience-type gifts. We have a family membership to the aquarium that my MIL & FIL got us for Christmas and renew each year. We love it! Gives us something to do when we need to get out of the house and money is a little tight and it's great for the kids.
This year another family member is giving us tickets for a train ride (day out with Thomas) as a gift. These things are great because they don't take up space and help us to build lasting memories

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#6 of 9 Old 11-09-2005, 12:32 AM
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I have a grandma who's really into thrift shopping, she's always bringing stuff over, clothes, shoes, toys...I have to admit that most of it goes into a box to donate somewhere else...
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#7 of 9 Old 11-09-2005, 12:47 AM
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I would def. ask her to buy a membership, or pay for some classes or special trip for the family/kids.

Early intervention specialist and parent consultant since 2002.
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#8 of 9 Old 11-09-2005, 10:19 AM
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Since you've already tried to stop them from spending so much money, just keep ruthlessly removing the extra or inappropriate things from your house and donate the items to charity.

YOU get to decide what your children play with and what is in YOUR home!
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#9 of 9 Old 11-09-2005, 01:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the suggestions.

Day before yesterday, mom popped in unepectedly when I was going through the toys. There literally was not a bare spot on the floor between toys, books and other things. I could tell mom was dying to critisize the mess so I said "I just can't handle all the toys. I'm going through everything and getting rid of the things they don't play with and anything that is broken. They don't need so many toys!". She threw her hands up and said "That's it! I'm not buying them anymore toys. I spend half the day going through the things I have home for them. THey never play with them so I don't know why I have so much stuff." I hope she stands by it!

Now for MIL. Thing is MIL's not fazed by mess and chaos as it's the story of her life, lol! She's probably the worse offender, especially for clothes.

I'm not feeling bad anymore for passing things on. I've told them many times we don't want or need all this stuff. I just hate how consuming the stuff is; time wise, space wise and sanity wise!
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