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#1 of 29 Old 03-10-2003, 06:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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?
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#2 of 29 Old 03-10-2003, 07:26 PM
 
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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.
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#3 of 29 Old 03-10-2003, 07:27 PM
 
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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.
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#4 of 29 Old 03-10-2003, 08:20 PM
 
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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!

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#5 of 29 Old 03-10-2003, 08:28 PM
 
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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.
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#6 of 29 Old 03-10-2003, 08:54 PM
 
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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.
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#7 of 29 Old 03-10-2003, 09:04 PM
 
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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.
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#8 of 29 Old 03-11-2003, 12:41 PM
 
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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.
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#9 of 29 Old 03-11-2003, 01:35 PM
 
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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.
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#10 of 29 Old 03-11-2003, 02:00 PM
 
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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.

Mom of a 7 yr old, 4 yr old, and 1 yr old. Wow. How did that happen?
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#11 of 29 Old 03-11-2003, 05:18 PM
 
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#12 of 29 Old 03-11-2003, 06:01 PM
 
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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.
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#13 of 29 Old 03-11-2003, 08:30 PM
 
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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.
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#14 of 29 Old 03-11-2003, 11:29 PM
 
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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"

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#15 of 29 Old 03-12-2003, 02:11 AM
 
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Quote:
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.
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#16 of 29 Old 03-12-2003, 10:42 AM
 
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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

Evergreen- Loving my girls Dylan dust.gifage8, Ava energy.gifage 4 and baby Georgia baby.gif (6/3/11).

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#17 of 29 Old 03-12-2003, 11:04 AM
 
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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.

"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."
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#18 of 29 Old 03-12-2003, 11:13 AM
 
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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.
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#19 of 29 Old 03-12-2003, 12:41 PM
 
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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.
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#20 of 29 Old 03-12-2003, 02:10 PM
 
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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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#21 of 29 Old 03-13-2003, 06:06 AM
 
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I understand your feelings and would feel the same way in your situation. It is not about the $ spent (or not spent), it is about the message that is being sent about her lack of thought, effort, etc. into getting something that your child would like or would be special (to celebrate a special day - his birth) or at least sanitary for god's sake! (the blanket....)

You can't fight thriftiness (my MIL grew up through the Depression and cannot believe what stuff costs these days) but maybe you could suggest some stuff for upcoming birthdays and Xmas? I was thinking of one of those "gramma remembers" books - kind of like a baby book format but for gramma to fill out with info about her life. We got one for MIL and it will be neat for the kids to have someday. Or ask her to write him a letter each year for his birthday and you could keep them in a binder? Or have her buy a book that she or you loved as a child and write a note re: the significance on the inside front cover? I have my old copy of Little Women as well as a new one just waiting for the girls to get old enough to read it. I also am not above dropping very obvious hints a month or so before the birthday - "oh, the other day we were at so and so's house and dd just LOVED this glitter glue that her friend had" - or book or music cd or doll or whatever.

I would assume that little kids think a balloon and a cupcake are fun but they both get tossed - nothing special to keep (like the coin collection or a beloved book or special doll or whatever). I don't think you are being silly at all - no need for her to spend thousands on the kid but a balloon, a cupcake, a ratty/dirty blanket are not exactly what I would dream a gramma would give her grandchild....

It is just so not about the money! I remember a fancy coloring book my gramma gave us (it was Victorian dolls and on very nice paper - my sister and I felt very special). I have seen similar things today for about $10. Yes, a lot for a coloring book but it said to us that we were not little kids anymore (our other coloring books were Sesame Street, etc.) and we knew it was something special to be taken care of. If thought is put into it, it doesn't matter the money spent. It seems she is not putting any thought/love into these gifts she has given so far. I hope she improves.

And if she wants your child to come play at her house, I would think she would have a cabinet (or box in the closet or whatever) of toys, books, art supplies for him to use. My MIL has a three bedroom house (one bedroom hers, one ours and one for the kids). We go down to visit (6 hour roundtrip) once every month or two. To keep at her house, she buys lots of toys at garage sales - which is fine - but also buys them new stuff as gifts. When my MIL buys something for my kids that I don't particularly care for, I just leave it at her house for them to play with while there. It has worked so far.

I'm sorry your mom is like this. It would bother me too - it really would.
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#22 of 29 Old 03-13-2003, 01:47 PM
 
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It's a difficult question.

My parents are overly generous with us, buy virtually all the kids new clothes & toys, magazines for them (Click, that sort of stuff) and books ... the works.

DH's parents aren't alive, so not an issue. His aunt, however, is nearby and we see her often. She lives very simply, barely spends on herself. Anyway, she buys a book for the birthdays, usually something like "MoMA's ABC's" or something very nice but not the easiest for children to ... digest, let's say.

Anyway, the kids love their great-aunt, and are always happy to see her, very enthusiastic with her.

But DH is very sensitive about what she does/doesn't buy for the children, or that my parents buying so much makes her "look bad."

You know what? The kids are so happy to see her, just as they are my parents. The gifts don't matter to them so much ... (though their greedy reaction when they do get gifts is very disturbing, I'm told they grow out of that when they hit around 6 or so ... I hope ...) it's the relationship they have that matters.

I believe it's the parents who have to learn to deal with it.

And it's not easy, is it.
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#23 of 29 Old 03-13-2003, 04:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the feed back. I think what bothers me most is the total lack of thought and the "this'll due" attitude, rather than taking the time to make or find something special.

I really like the 529 plan idea and I've been meaning to start one anyway. I think I will also just tell her ahead of time when she tells me what she is going to give them that they won't like it, or that it isn't appropriate. I won't give her a suggestion though unless she asks.

We did get some use out of that blanket when we moved. We used it to wrap around our furniture in the truck!
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#24 of 29 Old 03-13-2003, 05:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh and the book is real. You can get it on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...463482-9900824
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#25 of 29 Old 03-18-2003, 05:28 PM
 
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I deleted my previous reply because it was sooooooo hurtful. I re-read it today and realized how awful I really am.

I know that if my family were to have read that post (and I am sure someone probably did) their hearts would have been broken.

I have been doing some soul searching, and by golly, my mom is kinda cheap. She will drive all over creation looking for a deal. She does this out of habit and out of frugalness. What's wrong with that?

My FIL, well, he shops at the flea market every week. Ya know what he does? He finds the cutest toys and buys them for my son. They may be kinda dirty when he gets them here, but they wash. Sometimes, the toys aren't age appropriate, but they can be saved or turned into age app. toys. Eveything that our parents get for DS is totally 100% out of love.

My FIL actually thinks about DS before he buys things. He thinks about things that will be fun for him, things that he might remember later, things that most kids would love! He's a big kid himself and his gifts rock because of that!

Yes, it's nice to get brand new things, but that's not the important thing. I was VERY VERY wrong to ever be upset by anyone's obvious affection. Maybe there's something that I haven't dealt with from my childhood, or maybe I just have issues with snobbery.

Now, I won't say that everyone should feel as I do. My family (mom, dad, mil, fil) all spend hours upon hours driving to and from my house to visit my son. They spend hours playing on the floor and carrying him around as we shop. For their undying love and support, I am eternally grateful.

In reality, I want him to have toys to play with, but I'd much rather him have playmates, grandparents, friends. The people in my life are amazing. They deserve better than me judging them for what/how they do things for us. They deserve better than me running off at the fingertips like a spoiled, ungrateful brat.

I don't want to be petty. I don't want to be unloving. I don't want to teach my son how to be greedy, unthankful, petty, selfish or judgemental. My first post was all of those, and for that I will be eternally sorry. All I can do is try to look for the good in each gift, visit, card.

I hope that my negativity in no way encouraged anyone here to feel anger at me for being selfish or toward a family member or friend for not spending oodles of $ on your child/children. I hope that I didn't inspire other negative posts.

Love will conquer all. Please, be thankful for the gifts you recieve, for every second you get to spend with family, for every moment (as long as the moments are healthy) that your child(ren) gets with his/her loved ones. Teach them humility, graciousness, thankfulness, selflessness, charity, kindness and above all love.

Again, I apologize for my negative post before. I have deleted it as I know just how horrid I sounded. I am trying to be the kind of person I'd want as a friend, DIL, daughter, wife and mother! I want my son to grow up happy. I never want him to look at me and say, "Gawd, mom was soooooo stingey, and she was selfish and I can't believe all the stupid little things she got mad about."

With love, I have written this post. With hope I pass on my wish to be a better person.
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#26 of 29 Old 03-19-2003, 03:16 AM
 
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MaMadeJose

I totally agree and understand where you are coming.

This is so wierd because I was just talking about this today with my husband and my best friend. My dh's parents do not do much for ds. It is there 4th grandchild and only grandson. It is also the only grandchild who lives near them. They are retired and hardly EVER come to see him. When they do see him... I would expect them to go nuts over him. He is 8 months old and adorable! They just hold him a few minutes and that is it. No big interest. I remember my grandparents and how I was treated and the other grandchildren and greatgrandchildren. None of us ever felt like they treated the others differently either. We were all loved, loved, loved. My grandparents did not have much money at all either...yet there was always a little something for us that was very thought about. The love that poured out was so warm and enveloping too.

I dont know. I am in the same situation and it makes me seeth!! I wish I had the guts to just tell them that they dont have to bother to see their gs...but I dont want to do that to him...and I dont have the guts either. They do not seem to cherish the time at all.

No easy answers from me...because I am angry a lot about almost the same sit.
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#27 of 29 Old 03-19-2003, 06:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Since I started this thread I have been thinking about it a lot trying to put my finger on exactly what I am angry about. It's definately not about money. My dad has been keeping ds on Tuesdays and Thursdays lately and taking him to a swim lesson. When I went to pick him up yesterday he wanted me to see something Grandpa gave him. It was an old tackle box that my dad wrote ds's name on with a marker. Ds was so proud of how he could open it by himself and inside my dad had filled it with crayons, markers & little scissors. Ds was beaming. My dad is a cool Grandpa and I'm pretty sure he has spent little to no money on ds.

I'm really glad that my mom comes over and plays on the floor with them and reads to them and I know they love it, so I'm going to try real hard to let go of my desire for her to give them things.

I guess I will just have to come to terms with my mom's weirdness and her bizarre ideas about what is a good gift. It's actually not just ds and dd she does this to, once for Christmas she gave dh (then my boyfriend) an extension cord. A cheap one that you can get at the grocery store. She thought it would be usefull in his new apartment, which it was, but COME ON, IF YOU THINK SOMEONE NEEDS AN EXTENSION CORD, JUST GET THEM ONE, BUT DON'T CALL IT A CHRISTMAS PRESENT.
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#28 of 29 Old 03-19-2003, 09:28 PM
 
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I agree with you. It is not really about the money, but the thought into it. My grandma always, always, always had freshly baked molasses cookies for me in her big Boston Baked Bean cookie jar. This was such a treat for me. She would walk with me out back in her raspberry bushes and we would eat all those raspberries and talk. Sometimes we would get out two fine bone china tea cups and have a tea party. It is just the thought that goes into showing a child one loves them.
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#29 of 29 Old 03-19-2003, 09:48 PM
 
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So the last couple posts have been making me tear up.

((kater07)),
and the tackle box,
and the cookies (my grandma still makes my favorite cookies and has them in the cookie jar for me)

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