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#1 of 17 Old 03-13-2006, 03:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't know what to do about my mom. She won't stop buying things for the baby. (I know some would say this isn't really a problem, but for me it is.....) At my baby shower, literally more than half of the gifts were just from her. She has also bought us the crib, glider, etc. and we are very greatful for all of the stuff, but she is going way overboard with baby clothes. This I guess is where the real issue is. She has singlehandedly purchased the child's entire 0-6 month wardrobe. I have had to return just about everything else bought by anyone other than her. (I can't return any of the stuff she has bought because she gets it all off of ebay). Not to mention the fact that DH and I would like the chance to buy our own baby some clothes, and most of the stuff that she has bought is downright ugly (tons of disney characters, etc) or impractical. I am a big fan of just one piece outfits for simplicities sake and she keeps buying these 2 and 3 piece outfits. I just spent yet another hour trying to organize all these clothes (she gave me boxes more yesterday) I don't have the space for this stuff and it is causing me to get really upset. I really don't think I should end up frustrated and in tears trying to put away baby clothes.....She has no idea how to respect boundaries and I don't know what to do. I wrote her the following email, I am hoping it will do something, but we will see. It is such a fine line, I do appreciate what she is doing, but she has gone sooooo overboard.....

This is the email I am sending her as soon as the gmail server is back up....
I am glad that you are so excited about having a grandchild. That said, I need to ask you to please stop buying baby clothes. It is one thing to buy a few outfits. You have already purchased the child's entire wardrobe for 0-6 months. I have yet to buy one outfit for my own child yet because you keep purchasing so much stuff. I also had to return almost all of the clothes that I got from other people at my showers because you bought so much stuff. Believe me, I do very much appreciate everything that you have been doing and I am very thankful for all of the things that you have given us, the crib, the glider, all the registry stuff, but it is too much. It is overwhelming and instead of being excited, it gets me upset. I have no place to store all of these clothes. I can't even imagine how many of these outfits will go to waste because the baby will outgrow them before he or she gets a chance to wear them or because they are for the wrong season, and I can't return any of them because you bought them all off of ebay. I have over 50 0-3 month outfits, more than 25 3-6 month outfits and I am easily approaching 100 bibs. It is too much and you need to stop. You need to realize that you are not the only person who is excited about this baby. There are other grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. who are buying stuff as well and I feel horrible always having to return the things from them because you keep buying things that I can't return, not to mention the fact that I would like some say in what my child is wearing since I will be the one dressing them, taking care of them, etc. I am sorry if this email makes you upset, but you need to understand that I have been struggling with this issue ever since the shower. I hoped that you would stop buying clothes after that, but I guess I was wrong. I understand that you want to provide for your grandchild and there will be plenty of opportunities for you to do that in the future, but for now I need to stop buying clothes.

Mom to Morgan 4-3-06 and announcing Baby Kelsey 4-11-10
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#2 of 17 Old 03-13-2006, 03:54 PM
 
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I don't know what to say... I understand your frustration, and yet we have NO support AT ALL, whatsoever. OH how blessed we would be for such help! LOL! Maybe you could share the wealth with others in your area like me? I really do think this will hurt her~I guess you just decide whether this is "the mountain you wanna die on" or not....

I hope I haven't further upset ya! I don't mean to discredit or devalue your feelings at all. ((((Snoopy))))) I just have a very different perspective having family that really doesn't care to know me or my children or have anything to do with us, and at present our financial situation is much less than optimal to meed some of our new baby needs. Keep us posted! (((((HUGS))))) sandi
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#3 of 17 Old 03-13-2006, 05:25 PM
 
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I understand you are frustrated, but your mom is obviously doing this because she loves you and your baby and is just incredibly excited. I don't think that email will make her feel very good after everything she has been doing for you...so maybe you could talk to her in a round about way in person? That way she doesn't get her feelings hurt but still gets the point? You do need to set up boundaries with your mom if something is bothering you, or in 6 months you will be stressed out about the mountains of toys your dc has Good luck in working things out with her!

~Rebecca~
mama to a sweet girl , & 4 silly boys

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#4 of 17 Old 03-13-2006, 05:36 PM
 
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Wow! One hundred bibs? No way! That is crazy. Your mother is going way overboard. My god! She needs to get a grip.

First of all, I WOULD NOT return or take back stuff that other people bought you just because you can't return the stuff your mom bought you. Just because your mother is going nuts with the clothes buying, does not mean that others can't buy for the babe. Remember that just because someone gives you something, doesn't mean you have to use it. You don't like the style or the fabric? Don't put it on the babe. You are the parent, so you get to decide what he or she will wear during the first few years (then they form their own opinions, lol). You can graciously accept the clothes, maybe even warn your mother that they won't get worn, and then give them away. If she asks why isn't baby wearing such and such, just say you had too many! Maybe she will get the hint if she sees you are not dressing the baby in them (yeah right - maybe not, lol).

That might not work because of the boundary issue. I think you do need to talk to your mother about curbing the purchasing. I don't know your mother, so I don't know if her feelings would be hurt, but even if they get hurt a little bit, you need to draw the line. Eventually, your baby will get older and grow to expect all the presents from Grandma and it could wreak havoc on the values you are trying to teach. Is there a reason why your mother feels the need to go overboard? Is she trying to make it up to you somehow for not having enough during your own childhood (this is the kind of thing my mother would do)? I think you need to talk to her before you send an email.

Good luck! Find a shelter for those clothes. Or sell them back on eBay.
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#5 of 17 Old 03-13-2006, 05:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks for all of the advice. I have tried to talk to her in a round about way and it hasn't worked...jokingly asked her to stop and her response is she just can't?? I think we are at the point of direct confrontation. I know we should be greatful considering the alternative, no support at all, but there has to be a stopping point. Maybe knowing I should be so greatful is why I feel so bad and so guilty.....

Mom to Morgan 4-3-06 and announcing Baby Kelsey 4-11-10
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#6 of 17 Old 03-13-2006, 05:44 PM
 
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Maybe you could speak to her rather than writing an email. Even though I really think your email is kind, she might take the tone wrong.

With that said, I just want to give you some food for thought. DH's mother has passed away. My mother is severely mentally ill and not capable of being part of my DDs life. I guess I am saying that I see you as lucky and am envious that you have a mom to be so excited about the birth.

ETA: oops, you posted while I was writing.
You say you've talked to her "jokingly". Talk to her seriously and directly instead of jokingly.
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#7 of 17 Old 03-13-2006, 05:48 PM
 
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I SO understand where you are coming from. My family did the same thing yours is doing. Dh's family bought EVERYTHING for our dd. I really am not an ungrateful person, really I'm not, but I would like to at least have been involved in picking some stuff out. We had the money to buy everything we needed but never got the chance to. MIL bought a crib that we HATED. She asked me what kind of crib we would be buying, I said that I was getting a white one with a rail that slides down so that we could put in next to the bed. So, the next week she goes out and buys us a brown one with a rail that doesn't slide. And we couldn't not accept it because it was close to my birthday so she said that it was my birthday present and that it cost her over $300. I would have felt too bad telling her we didn't want it. I realize now that she did it on purpose and I have grown a backbone since then. And that is just one thing. Then there are the mountains of clothes, most of which have never been worn because, like you mentioned, they are complicated and I like one piece things. Also the swing, the walker (which has never been used), the johnny jump (which has never been used), a bouncy seat (which has never been used), a bath seat (which has never been used), a basinette (which we didn't use), soooooooooo many toys, books, etc. We were happy in our 1 bedroom apt., but we had to move when dd was 3 months old into a 2 bedroom apt. just to have an extra room to put all her stuff that we didn't use. We literally had no more space to stuff everything that was being bought for her. It was terribly stressful. I understand that some would love to be in our situation, but I really think that for my family (and maybe yours too), this is about control and not necessarily love for the baby. We actually have distanced ourselves from our families because they seem to think that they are entitled to have a say in how our dd is raised. I really wish I would have put a stop to it before she was born instead of waiting until now. And the pp's are right about passing things along to other people. I have huge piles of things that have never been used waiting to be donated/given away. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I understand, and I think you are doing the right thing by sending her the email.
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#8 of 17 Old 03-13-2006, 06:10 PM
 
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I just reread my post and hope I didn't come accross as it sounds~that you should give your excess to *me*~LOL! I meant others near you with similar circimstances to mine. A battered women's shelter or a church or maybe even LLL if you don't know anyone person. (((((HUGS))))) sandi
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#9 of 17 Old 03-13-2006, 06:21 PM
 
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I can understand her excitement, and baby clothes are super cute...but maybe you could suggest that a college fund or savings bond would be something your child won't ever outgrow and that it would be an amazing way to show her affection. When your child is grown he/she won't remember 100 bibs, but a semester of tuition, how great would that be?!
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#10 of 17 Old 03-13-2006, 06:51 PM
 
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I totally sympathize! I have my own set of boundary issues with my mom. She hasn't gone overboard on the clothes at all but the ones she does buy are totally tacky and never get worn. I always wonder when she babysits over here if she picks up on the fact that the outfits still hanging on their original hangers w/tags are from her. Anyway, I think you need to be firm with your mom. With my mom I had to eventually confront her (I did this in person) and it was really hard for me b/c I'm the type who's scared to death of hurting someone else's feelings (never mind that my own are being trampled all over in the meantime). So I told her I needed to talk to her about something and basically said that she was going way overboard - always at our house, always knowing best, she never put down the camera - I felt like dd's life was a reality show or something. Honestly I can't even remember all that was going on at that time (it was over 5 years ago now) but dh & I really used to talk about how we wouldn't be surprised (and actually feared it) if she stole our baby. She was just so proud and excited. I can't blame her for those feelings, but come on! It's OUR turn to be the parents!

ETA: I just remembered that one of the things she did that drove me crazy was to print out wallet size photos of our new baby and hand them to me when we had family visiting and tell me to pass them out to everybody! She didn't even ask my permission let alone allow me the courtesy of doing this very special task. I never did get into handing out pics to family which probably drives her crazy but I think that's b/c I have an extremely nice and comprehensive webpage for my kids for my family to see. She still, to this day, gives the gift to my in-laws and to us of a photo calendar of our kids (we have nowhere to put this up and they must know this b/c they're here all the time and never see one displayed).

Things are better then they used to be but they're not the best. In our case, we've decided to follow an unconventional educational route (Waldorf, and homeschooling at this time at that) but my mom is a Kindergarten teacher in a regular public school system. As it is she can't leave her teacher hat at work - she's a teacher 24/7 with EVERYONE and it's really very annoying. But now we're trying to raise our kids with a very different approach and she just can't seem to respect that. I've tried talking to her about it but nothing seems to stick. I know I should be more firm cuz clearly I'm not getting the message through to her (like I asked her to stop playing school with them, which she does all the time, and she hasn't stopped at all). The only thing she's gotten better at is toy gifts (she asks for approval now!). Anyway, I feel for what you're going through. I know some people have been down on you b/c they're in the reverse situation but this is one of those "grass is always greener" scenarios. Both ways are unfair to us parents. Just beware after the birth - your mom might turn into psycho-grandma like mine. I have yet to allow my kids to spend the night at their house, despite the fact that she begs and lives only 5 minutes away. I have more reasons than those mentioned above (like, I'd never want to subject my kids to the parenting style my parents used on me) but that's part of it. She KNOWS I'm the boss and I can't say she cares too much for that, but oh well! Hope it helps to know you aren't alone.

Mama to four remarkable kiddos, all born at home.
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#11 of 17 Old 03-13-2006, 07:00 PM
 
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I know it's probably hard for people with little money or family support to hear, but your mom's behavior is completely over the line and you are right to try to stop it now. It does sound like you are going to have to be blunt and hurt her feelings a little bit in order to get the message through to her. My mom is similar.

I agree with pp's in the following respects: give the Disney crap you don't like to charity if you can afford to, ask her to switch over to a college savings account (great idea!), and talk to your mom in person instead of email. In person is harder emotionally but it's easier to adjust the message as you go along and make sure she is hearing you.

I'd focus on the following points:
- waaaaaaaaaaaaay too much clothes - no baby needs that much
- you should get to choose at least some of what your child wears, because how often in your life will you get to do that?
- having to return stuff from other gift-givers
- if she's having a compulsion problem (as she says, she can't stop), she needs to recognize it as a problem and either curb it or direct it away from your baby. You don't want your child to be suffocating under mountains of toys in a couple of years.
- Your feelings of being overwhelmed and not having enough storage are not going to help your case - I'd leave them out. You don't want her buying you dressers!

It does sound like she probably doesn't realize yet that it really bothers you. That's where the blunt part comes in. Don't be afraid to really make sure to drive the message home - this is disturbing behavior.

But if you stick with your email as written, I'd add something like "I appreciate your generosity but..." at the beginning. Makes it less shocking.
Good luck!
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#12 of 17 Old 03-13-2006, 08:41 PM
 
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I *totally* understand, but I do think you're going about it in what can be perceived as a rather harsh manner, and I disagree that you have to resort to being mean to get the point across.

My mom is/was the same way as yours except she has a problem when it comes to shopping, period. This grandchild became a huge excuse for her to go completely batshit nuts with buying clothing and so I can sympathize with your frustration, but I think you can get what you need/want and not hurt your mom's feelings at the same time.

Here's what I did (after getting some good advice when I was in the same boat a while back):

I told her I couldn't handle the added burden of laundry for one. I was too far along and too tired to wash more clothes the baby would likely only wear once. It was too much work for me (I spent days doing first time wash laundry -- the closet is packed up to 24 months and the dresser is full. Believe me when I say I understand you feeling overwhelmed.) I told her that if it's this bad now I can't imagine the added burden after the baby comes. She said she'd come help me do laundry. I printed up laundering instructions and they are mounted to the wall above the washer. I'm totally taking her up on her offer. But that's a response to the already huge amount of clothes she'd bought. I needed a preventative for more!

So then I said that any ADDITIONAL clothing items she wished to purchase while the child's an infant were to remain at HER house. FOREVER. That way she can buy what she wants but she has to agree to wash them a certain way with a certain detergent, and then the clothes have to remain at her house. Period. She can show them to me when I am over there but she can't bring them to me, nor can she send the baby back to our house wearing any of them.

I also printed out a copy of our registry and told her she wasn't allowed to buy anything else for us unless it was from the registry. That it was truly precious of her to want to do so much for her grandchild but I pointed out (because she didn't realize it) that while it gave her great joy, it was distressing me and causing more work for me in the process and that was unfair and ultimately not healthy for her daughter nor her grandchild.

So I second the suggestion that you talk to her instead of emailing if you haven't already. Your email sounded pretty harsh and it would totally crush my mom if I sent her something like that. You can be firm without being mean. I don't mean to downplay nor dismiss your frustration -- believe me, I spent time crying over this with my mom, but in the end the It stays at your house! rule seemed to satisfy her.

Try that. Oh and stop returning the stuff to the stores too, btw. Give it back to HER for her to return or find a new home for (that's what I did). You don't need the hassle of returning nor donating. There are bound to be other babes in the world she's aware of who could use the goodies. But the Your House rule is a great idea and since we established it, it's worked.

Sorry you're so frustrated -- I'm not trying to make you feel worse -- just don't want you to muck up a relationship with your mom over material goods is all. It's not worth it. Trust me, I know.

Hope that helps. Good luck and you're not alone.

SAHM to Guinevere (04/05/06) and Eowyn (02/13/09)
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#13 of 17 Old 03-13-2006, 08:55 PM
 
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Sorry to hear you're going through this!

We are bracing ourselves for the inevitable onslaught of large, battery-operated toys from DH's parents (we've seen what they did "for" our nephew and niece) and have set very strict rules with them, and so far, so good.

Of course, baby's not born yet...but we've decided that www.freecycle.org is our best friend and we plan to use it frequently for all of the junk toys we expect from the in-laws. In my area, at least, there are always people looking for baby stuff -- and people giving away garbage bags of it. This is an easy option, because people who need it will just come pick it up from you (you don't even have to take it anywhere!)

I agree that your mom needs a serious talk, though. Look into Freecycle for your area, if you haven't already. It's a godsend, IMO!

Mary
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#14 of 17 Old 03-14-2006, 04:10 PM
 
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Not in your ddc but when ever I get a box/bags of stuff I go through it pick what I like/need and offer the rest back to the giver with much thanks and appreciation to give them the option of disposing of it if not I take to our local thrift shop. I haven't been in the same situation no one has laid guilt on me for refusal ever and it has slowed a ton now I am on #4. I like the store it at your house solution. Good luck I do know how it is to dress a kid in an obligatory ugly outfit hate that.

Mom to 6 with #7 on the way Sept 2014
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#15 of 17 Old 03-14-2006, 05:59 PM
 
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I also have a crazy shopping addicted mom. I had to confront her about it too. With her, it was like a PP said, the baby was another excuse to go batshit shopping crazy. My grandma is her partner in crime and they just fuel each other's insanity. At the shower for my first baby, they bought so many outfits that they were embarrassed and held some of them back to give me later. Plus they were mostly frou frou lacey frocks that I didn't want. Another thing that really really distressed me was that my mom and grandma are not in the financial situation to do this. It's an addiction and it's messed up! So all the clothes they would give me would cause me to worry more about their debt. They only buy "fun stuff". Never things we really need or have asked for...because they are buying the stuff for fun for themselves.

I give the stuff back if I don't want/need it and tell my mom to return it. I also told her that I only have 2-3 outfits I've actually picked out for my own child and I don't really like that. I finally told her no more clothes because I have tubs filling my garage of clothes to fit my daughter until she's 5. One day my mom came over with 2 coats for each size from 24 months to 4T. It is sweet, and I appreciate the thought, but I told her she's not allowed to buy more. She had also started bringing over toys and stuff before she was even at the age to play with anything, so I quickly had to put a stop to that unless I wanted our house to be a sea of toys. She wanted to buy her a nice wooden play kitchen last year though, and I let her because she had stopped with all the clothes and I knew my daughter would really like it. Still, I feel like it's excessive and we're making a little attempt to live simply.

Now my grandma has been getting me magazine subscriptions I didn't ask for. I know she thinks she's being nice, but I hate it. She just should ask me first. Once she sent a magazine I already receive, another one is one I don't want to read anyway so it just gets recycled...such a waste. She recently started sending Highlights for Kids for my daughter who just turned 3. It's way too advanced for her age, and I told her that. She said, "well you'll just have to pack it away then until she can read it." My grandma is the queen of all packrats so I guess she thinks that is normal.

Anyway, my point is that you need to talk to your mom, but I agree that the email will probably seem harsh to her. I think keeping the stuff at her house, giving it away, or giving it back to her are all good things to start.
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#16 of 17 Old 03-14-2006, 06:23 PM
 
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Btw these are stories and I hope it doesn't happen to me. My mom is always complaining about her finances and how she will be depending on us financially in the future, and yet she always manages to spend a lot on non-essential things. Also my mom and MIL have very different taste in clothes than we do. I really hope my mom will stick to her usual specialty, which is food. I wish we could put stuff on the registry that's not in the baby store, like my Ergo, mommy & me yoga classes, baby music and sign language classes, etc.
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#17 of 17 Old 03-14-2006, 10:40 PM
 
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I hear ya!!! My mom is bipolar and when she's manic she shops and shops and there's no stopping her. I make her immediately take back anything I don't want or can't use. If she protests, I tell her I'm going to give it away if she won't take it back. She shops at thrift stores too, and even the non-returnable items I make her take away. She has very poor boundaries so I have to police them for the both of us.
Last time she came to visit, she just kept carrying stuff into the house. It was like a clown car...all this stuff just kept coming out of it. (Some of it she had tried to give me more than once.) And that car was nearly as full when she left.
I don't worry so much anymore about offending or hurting her feelings because this has been going on for years and years. I'm nice and appreciative about the stuff I do want. I personally feel much better to tell her what I really think rather than humoring her and saying nothing. Having an honest relationship is more important to me.

Dawn, mom to 3 great kids and fishnoodles cloth diapers
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