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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My MIL babysits DS2 two days a week while I'm at school. She's great with him and mostly supportive of my parenting ideals, so I can't complain much!

BUT! She keeps bringing plastic crap into my house. She and I went through his toys before his birthday this week and I pulled out a ton of plastic toys to donate. I explained the plastic issue, told her that I'm trying to go with natural toys (and he has plenty of those). But she still pulled some of the plastic toys out and insisted on keeping them to play with "just when I'm here." I was annoyed by that, because I am not pulling them out because I don't want to play with them myself, but because I don't want DS playing with them at all!

I came home the other day and she and DH were building a Cozy Coupe. We'd talked about her buying one second-hand if she wanted to get one, but she bought a new one. Our whole house smelled like off-gassing plastic all day. It's a huge plastic toy in our livingroom, and of course DS loves it and the minute we walk in the door he runs to it and "drives".

Then she brought a carpet sweeper. I have a carpet sweeper that is human powered, but hers has a motor. I don't want to store an extra carpet sweeper. I don't want an extra thing that takes electricity. We have hardwood floors and two rugs in the whole house; my human powered thing does the job just fine! She again said, "well I'll just use it when I'm here." I don't want it in my house!

Am I just being silly and ungrateful? It's been a few days and I'm still annoyed about the Cozy Coupe and carpet sweeper, both still in my livingroom, and box of plastic toys still in DS's bedroom.
 

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You aren't being silly at all. If it were me, I would tell MIL that if she insists on having them around, then they can stay at her house...otherwise they are going. And maybe you need to remind MIL that it is YOUR house and not hers.

Of course, I am pretty ruthless when it comes to things like that. My family knows better than to buy me things that I say we don't want or need because they usually end up gone the next day.
 

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I see this as two slightly different issues:

- The toys are absolutely none of her business. You have an absolute right to determine what toys your child plays with.

- The carpet sweeper might be slightly iffy. Is the manual one a bit harder to use? Does she have to use a carpet sweeper while she's taking care of your child? Is she taking care of your child as a favor, and is it a favor that's useful to you?

If (1) she's taking care of your child as a favor and (2) she really has to clean the floors or the house will become a disaster while she's there, I might be inclined to let her use her choice of tool for the cleaning. It's not her decision to make, it's yours, but it seems like a reasonable negotiated compromise.

On the other hand, if the favor is in the other direction, if you're paying her, or if she could really just leave the sweeping for you, then I don't see any weight at all behind her position.

Crayfish
 

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Can you put the coupe thing outside? Wooden riding toys would mold and rot outside...I know a lot small children adore that toy. Do you have a garage, maybe? Yk, where you can't smell it? Make it an outside you iof you have any outdoor space. As for the other plastic stuff...has she seen the really neat natural toy catalogues?

I would not say anything about the carpet sweeper. Put it in a closet when she leaves. It's probably easier for her to use the electric one. If she's helping you (and really helping you, not just annoying you, it's good to give and take a bit. So while she doesn't live with you, wonderful caretakers (if she is) can be cut a little slack, I think.

Simple living doesn't mean we put the small stuff before good relationships. There is absolutely nothing simple about carrying anger.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks, you guys.

I may pack up some of the toys she likes for her to take to her house. That's a great idea. He's not there super frequently, but she doesn't have many toys there for when he is. She's in love with the Fisher Price Little People animals and sounded so disappointed that I was getting rid of them. We're making wooden animals for DS for Christmas, so he'll have animals to play with.

She is doing me a great favor by watching DS, but I do pay her. She is not required to do housework, but she frequently does it anyway to be nice. She said that my sweeper one doesn't work as well, but I find it very effective. I told her she could leave sweeping and I can do it when I get home. I'm gone from 9-3 two days a week, and the sweeping can be done by me another time easily (and is done by me otherwise!)

We don't have a garage and our outside area isn't kid-friendly, so it really isn't an option to store the Cozy Coupe outside. DS is getting a big kick out of it, though, and playing with it a ton these past few days, so I think this is going to be the compromise one.
 

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I would say let it go for a reasonable amount of little stuff (although if there's a pleasant way to get her to keep it at her place, all the better) but if anything is actually taking up too much space, be firm--just say it's taking up too much space! "Off-gassing" might be something some people don't understand, but space is space.
 
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