My mom is playing favorites - AGAIN!

kim_BDecember 11, 2001

A while back I posted "when grandparents have favorites" and was surprised that I wasn't in the boat alone. Well, here it is Christmas, and once again I'm having a problem. My mom will have my niece on 12/15 and wants to make it Christmas for her and my son. Well, why should my son have to celebrate that early? I'm just aggravated. My mom bought my DH and I a nice gift and said it was to all of us (my son included) - it is a dvd/vcr combo which is what I had mentioned that I'd like to have. When I saw the price I told her it was way too much, but she got it anyway (with help from my brother and grandma) and we will all use it. Well, my son has 2 movies to open at her house, while my niece has a VCR, a fish tank with fake fish (which my son will die for) and who knows what else.

Don't get me wrong - it isn't gifts that I'm concerned about, it just hurts that once again a difference has been made. I dread even talking about it with my hubby because he'll get all bent out of shape as well. Now I have to listen to my mom if I don't go, and listen to him too. Gee whiz.

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Are you sure that the gifts don't all add up to the same price? Maybe she bought other things and didn't tell you? I really don't think it's the number of gift that matters. If you see that your niece is getting tons and tons of expensive things and your son is getting two or three cheapy things, that may be different. My SIL nit picks and checks to see who bought our son what and wants to make sure her kids got more and it's annoying! Sometimes her kids get things that our son doesnt' but she just notices when he gets one or two things more! Does your niece live away from here and your Mom doesn't see her as much? In that case does she buy your son things all year and only those few holidays during the year does she pick up thinsg for your niece? We get tired of the nit picking and questioning and we no longer open presents at any of the families houses at the same time they are there to avoid all this. It's horrible when you have to lie about something your MIL bought your child just so she doesn't call her up and ask where her kids present is. It's all even when you add it up but she doens't see that. Just the other night MIL watched our son while we went Christmas shopping for Shane. SIL called and thought she heard our son and then had her 6 year old call grandma's and ask for me and his uncle and ask Grandma who else was there! Is it their business that we went to visit? A few minutes later SIL calls and asks MIL to watch her kids the next night so she can go shopping. She always calls or drives by when we stop to visit and then they come over after we leave. She's so full of jealousy that she even calls her step father and whines about the things he bought her sister, which is his real daughter until her step father sends her money. Sometimes I think people think there is favortism going on and there isn't.

You can't love every child the same way you know. There are different things you like about each of them and sometimes people take that as favortism. We hear it all the time that my fiance' is his parents favorite or that our son is. It's not true! They're all loved.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2001 at 11:35AM
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My mom gets my niece every other week and keeps her over night. My son has never been invited to stay all night. Like I said, it isn't the gifts, it is the fact that the whole family is supposed to halt the norm for my niece. There are other issues, my brother was 16 when my niece was born, and of course I know that my mom thinks she won't have some of the opportunities that my son will, but how do you explain that to a child?

    Bookmark   December 11, 2001 at 11:50AM
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Is your niece alot older than your son? That might explain things as well. I have family members who think a five year old should get the same amount of cash for a birthday present as a 14 year old. I generally give more the older they are (when it comes to cash) 14 year old niece got the same amount of money as my 5 year old nephew when she was 5, but, people tend to forget that.
On the other hand your family did get the dvd/vcr combo and your niece is getting a regular vcr. Sounds like it was your family and your son who got the "bigger" of the two. I think like someone else said it might actually be that the same dollar amount was spent on both.
As for celebrating on the 15th...could it just be that your Mom *thought* it would be nice to have her Grandson there as well? You could always just say, "no" and explain that your son will celebrate with your mom closer to Christmas.
I don't know, it's hard for me to form a fair opinion with the info you've given, but, this part of it just doesn't sound so bad to me, only because your family has already been given part of your Christmas gifts. If your son goes to Grandma's on the 15th maybe just remind him ahead of time that he had already received part of his gifts and that his cousin has not. Best of luck ~Pam

    Bookmark   December 11, 2001 at 12:54PM
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Thanks everyone - my son is 3 and my niece is 5. The thing is that I really want to see my niece, but I don't want to be forced into my son having to do all of his celebrating also. Last year he had a few small cars to open when she opened her stuff, and then had the regular stuff on Christmas, but for some reason my mom isn't seeing it that way this year.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2001 at 1:05PM
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I think after hearing more that you do have a reason to be upset. Your mother really shouldn't baby your niece just because her parents were young when they had her. She should be loved the same as your son. Why not ask her about having your son stay over some night? Tell her he asked about staying with Grandma and Grandpa or something. Did your mom watch your niece at this age or did she wait until she was older? Like was she potty trained or something like that?

Also, try telling her that it would be okay for your son to open a few small things so he's not wondering why his cousin got all these presents and he got nothing. It's hard when they are little. Tell your Mom maybe that you don't want to confuse your son because he believe santa brings the toys and he won't understand why santa brought toys to grandmas on a different day? Or tell her you don't want him thinking Christmas happens more than one day a year? Really kids at that age aren't jealous of each other. (my son is almost 3) They don't notice that so and so got more or a bigger present than me. That's something they learn later on from hearing it from others. Kids are just happy and excited about the day and don't care.


    Bookmark   December 11, 2001 at 1:46PM
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I hear you loud and clear. My MIL is the same way. This is what I am doing this year for Christmas crapola. My son is 3 and my daughter is 17 mos. My ILs get a whole bunch of stuff for all of the other grandchildren too. She takes them places, goes to sporting events for them, and has them over night as well. She has never had either of my kids overnight. She rarely visits. She never invites us over unless the whole family is there, and doesn't pay as much attention to my kids as she does the others. I learned my lesson last year. I bought some "spare" gifts for my daughter and son this year. I got a Crayola Color Wonder set (the markers only write on the special paper), a pre-school playhouse from Walmart (with little people and swings, it's really neat and it was 15.00), and Bob the Builder play dough molds (5.00). I wrapped them up, and when we have to go to "the family" Christmas party, my kids will have neat stuff to open too. Last year they got a tee-shirt and a small stuffed animal. (She tells us not to bring their toys, they will have new toys to play with) The other kids wouldn't let them play with their gifts. They were bored and sad. Where was their cool stuff? Whose gonna know who gave these gifts to them? They could have got them from an aunt/uncle. Anyway, this time, I am coming prepared. If they prove me wrong, I'll stick them under the tree on Christmas Eve, if I am right, my kids won't be disappointed. I can't make my ILs love my kids the same aws they love the others, but I can make them feel just as loved.
Good luck.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2001 at 2:07PM
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Janie, You have a heart of gold....your kids are so lucky!

    Bookmark   December 11, 2001 at 4:09PM
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What is it with this? I think if the MIL doesnt like the DIL she takes it out on the kids. Thats the impression i get so there

    Bookmark   December 11, 2001 at 8:29PM
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That theory doesn't work here . .. the poster is having problems with her MOTHER not her MIL. My MIL doesn't like my one SIL but won't take it out on the kids. Some may say it's that way but really she doesn't like the kids because they're spoiled rotten brats that nobody can put up with. They're just like their mother and she allows them to do whatever they want. I'm learning a lot about MIL and DIL realtionships from my MIL. In most cases someone really is in the wrong when there are problems. You can't be totally innocent and she just hates you for no reason. MIL tells SIL why she doesn't like her, she just doens't care.


    Bookmark   December 11, 2001 at 8:42PM
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I didn't read your previous post and I will go back and look for it. I just have a question... Are the little girl's parents together or does your mom get your niece every other weekend for a visitation? My mom gets my nephew every other Friday night until Sat. afternoon and my brother is now divorced from my nephews mother. Had they still been together and my mom could see him more by stopping at their home she wouldn't keep him all night every other Weekend like she does. She does this because this is the only time she gets to see him where as with my kids she stops and sees them everyday. I was just wondering if this was the same situation with you.

My mom is having her Christmas on Dec. 21 because her ex dil is allowing her to keep him that night but if she wouldn't have left her my mom was going to do it on Dec. 7 (yikes) just because she wants her family together for a Christmas celebration and it doesn't really matter to her when that date is. I don't understand your problem with celebrating on the 15th? (I know that I should go back and read your first post before responding to this) It sounds like your mom wants to have a wonderful Christmas celebration with both of her grandchildren and doesn't want to divide it up and maybe she can't get the granddaugter any later than the 15th?

Have you asked her why she doesn't keep him all night? What I would probably do if I was you(since your mom allready spent so much money on a gift for your whole family) is to buy one of those small fake fish tanks and give it to your mom to give to him to open and maybe a few dollar store stuff if you can afford it. I do see your point about the amount of presents and your son not understanding why the girl got more gifts (you can't tell a 3 year old that he got a combined gift of the dvd/vcr combo.) but then again that is not your moms fault either so that is why I suggest maybe you buying the fish tank and letting him open it at her house.

I am so sorry if your son is feeling left out by her. Have you talked to her about it? Maybe she will start keeping him when he gets a little older? Now I am off to try and find your previous post.. I hope that this all work out for you and remember that it doesn't really matter when you celebrate Christmas but just that you do it as a family and it is a loving and happy time. :) In a way it may be nice rather than doing it all in one or 2 days (visiting family and then him opening at your house etc. ) Good luck!!!

    Bookmark   December 12, 2001 at 9:27AM
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I know you are only trying to prevent your son from what could become a hurtful situation, but please try not to develop a pattern of teaching him that Christmas is primarily celebrated to be materialistic. Love is not measured by the dollar figure a person spends on you. If this were true then I could only surmise that there isn't a member of my family that truely loves one another, because we don't really give gifts at all. We use the holidays to spend more time together. Remember, life is too short to worry about who gave what to whom. Think about what messages you want to teach your son about Christmas . . . any gift no matter how large or how small is a gift given out of love not out of obligation . . . or Christmas is a time for members to measure up love in the dollar amount spent on them. Christmas is a time to celebrate with family and spend time together. . . or Christmas is a time to compare who bought what for whom and keep tabs who loves whom more and petty jealousy. Christmas is a day of thanksgiving for the gift of salvation. . . or Christmas is a time to become stressed out from greed. This might be a nice topic of conversation when your family gathers together this year: If the person whose birthday we celebrate on December 25th were a guest in the flesh at your Christmas celebration this year, would you be embarassed by your spending? Afterall, the guest of honor taught that there were far more important things than material items.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2001 at 9:31AM
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IT ISN'T A MATTER OF GIFTS!! But in the past, there has always been a difference in gifts on different occasions, not just Christmas. For example, we were all in Wal Mart one day and she told my niece to pick out a game boy game, told my son to pick out a movie (and yes my son plays video games). Sometimes it just happens to be material items, and when you see the difference made right before your eyes, it is hard to handle. Another example, we had their pictures made together in the spring. I paid for my son's part, she paid for my niece's part (never even asked my brother to pay). When it came time to buy the enlargements, she picked the ones of my niece.

Believe me, I understand the true meaning of Christmas and can't stand all this commercial stuff. I have been telling my son this whole season that it is Jesus' birthday, and we will even bake a cake in honor of that. The issues go deeper. It is the point that it is very obvious that my son is not her favorite and not equal to my niece, and yes, it hurts like heck. I'm not the only one who has noticed either.

It is a visitation arrangement, however, she still sees my niece more than she does my son. Another example, when mom takes vacation time and doesn't go anywhere - just hangs around the house, she has NEVER offered to keep him for the day.

I was upset all day yesterday just thinking here it is Christmas and controversy already, knowing it shouldn't be that way. If I sounded material in my first post, I didn't mean to, was just using an example. I am not a material person.


    Bookmark   December 12, 2001 at 9:56AM
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You said that your parents think your niece will have less opportunities than your son will, so I am going to assume that your niece's family isn't doing as well financially as yours, or that in some other way her situation is less than ideal. Perhaps your parents are just trying to provide her with things that they know you will provide for your son, but that your niece might otherwise not have? When I was a single mother and didn't have a whole lot of money, my children's paternal grandparents did buy them a lot of stuff, and spent more time with them than their other grandchildren. It wasn't that they loved my kids more or favored them, it was just that at that point, my kids needed them more. Now that I am no longer a single mother, and our financial situation has greatly improved, they buy my children the same amount of things as the other grandchildren, and they don't see my kids as often either- they know I am now able to buy things for my kids myself, and they don't feel the need to have my kids over as often because we now have a better home life than when I was a single mom and always tired and stressed from working all the time. Maybe your mother feels you just don't need her help as much as your brother does.
I suggest you talk to her about it, I am sure she would feel very badly if she knew that you feel she favors your niece, and once she is aware you feel this way my guess is she will take steps to make sure your son knows he is loved just as much as your niece. Good Luck!

    Bookmark   December 12, 2001 at 10:50AM
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(((HUGS)))) Have you talked to your mom about it and told her how you felt? She may just not think that a three year old would play with a gameboy game (does he have one or a nintendo?) She might have thought he would have enjoyed the movie better. My point is that if you sat down and talked to her about it it might be like a lightbulb moment for her.

I would just tell my mom that my son was going to start to feel like she cared more for the granddaughter and that when he got a little older he would wonder why he didn't get to stay all night? I know that it seems that she should know all of this but she just might not. You could say it nicely and just tell her that you wanted to get it off your chest.

My mom doesn't show favoritism but I do notice that she does (because she only sees my nephew every other Friday)sort overly show him attention, doesn't discipline him etc when she does have him. I really think that you should talk to her about it because she may just not realize it and it can save hurt feelings (on your part and your sons.. and even hers) if you get it out in the open when they are still young. Does she get your niece more through the week or does she not come around very much to visit your son? My mom is the type of grandmother that wants to see her grandkids everyday.. keep them all overnight (once they hit the age of 2 lol) etc but I do know grandmothers that say.. hey I raised my kids, I am not keeping grandkids all night etc. I couldn't find your previous post so I don't know what else is going on.

My grandmother always showed favoritism to me over my brother in big ways. (this would have been like your mother buying your niece a game and your son nothing) and it did effect and hurt him and to this day he is not close to her so you will be doing your mom and your son a favor if you get it out in the open.

Good luck and I hope that it all works out. Just try and go with the flow as far as the day that your mom wants to give her grandkids the gifts.. that's not really important.. what is important is your sons feelings. She just may be having a hard time as to what to buy a boy vs. a boy or the age difference... feeling he won't enjoy things that she does because he is younger and not realizing that it could cause your son to feel hurt.

If your mom is spending one on one time with your granddaughter but not her grandson then she really needs to be talked to about it now while there is still time to fix things (before kids get older and notice it) Good luck!!!

    Bookmark   December 12, 2001 at 10:51AM
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People and their lives can be complicated beyond what observers can see and that can be the case for everyone. I don't know why your mother for instance would want to or need to have her 'family' celebration on the 15th. I do know that most people who do celebrate usually would want to opt for some time closer to the 25th. When this sort of 'request' is made for a date that far off, it might help to focus on the way that date allows more of the whole family to be together. (It's not just the niece for example, that is making everything change. It's because to have everyone together for the grandmother, it has to be the 15th this year.)

Another kind of alternate view is that this 15th thing, and learning how to be gracious and perhaps merciful towards others could be a good teaching/learning opportunity. Being able to adapt to the request of a family 'elder' say, is in itself a gift you can give which will benefit the whole family and your son.

It's normal for 3 year olds to want and be more interested in what other children get (even siblings who'd be closer in age and who have parents who really worked to get them close to similar gifts to avoid problems). It is a matter of learning, both social skills and in general about how things are different for different people. Grandmothers usually do try the best they can and with what they have, to get things they think will please the people they give them to. Like anyone else though, sometimes they can misjudge or otherwise end up off the mark. How does one respond to another person's attempts to get a good gift, even if they were off the mark? (It's a good thing children have a while as children because this sort of thing isn't an easy skill to learn.) Feelings of jealousy, or of wanting things 'more equal' are normal. It's important to understand that whatever is happening, the perceptions of different people are different.

Older parents, from the start really are a huge advantage for a child. They usually have more general life experience and have more confidence and awareness of different resources and how to use them. They can convey this knowledge and ability to their children quite naturally. Younger parents are not a disadvantage in and of themselves, and will have their own relative strengths. Some people who might be trying to make up for any relative 'disadvantage' they see may try to give 'more.' That's predictable, and it won't change the relative disadvantage but it might help the child a bit in a transient way if they feel disadvantaged or upset.

Try to frame the situation in different ways so that she is not playing favourites so much as taking care of her own internal perceptions/needs. She may feel a 'need' about this or like what she does will be most helpful. She may not intend to be malicious, use your best judgement. When you go, if you go, make sure to let your son take a few of his favourite toys (you can make a little deal about letting him choose). You can take a backup one or two in case you think he missed one that might go over well (as a surprise for him later, if the need arises). The reciprocal part of a relationship is important too... how to receive people's 'best intentions' even if we might judge them lacking. It is a gift to her that you both go.

The thing is, unless you feel that she is a dangerous person, or that she is acting maliciously... she might just be struggling to to her best, as much as anyone else.

P.S. You can teach your son how to notice feelings of jealousy or of wanting to have what other people have (or seem to get). He can probably understand some of the basics, and how if his friend saw him get something that friend might feel left out and it is important to consider how others feel. He can probably see how people can't always be treated the same, at least in a 3 year old way (he probably notices girls can wear dresses, and boys usually don't). Minor easy to see differences which can lead to people getting different gifts (older/younger is another strong contrast a 3 year old can probably 'get'). If he knows different people and interacts a little differently with them, he can kind of begin to get an idea about how that can be normal. The more complicated leap is how that kind of different manner with different people thing can affect how and what gifts are given by a person. (It doesn't have to be presented as 'playing favourites.')

    Bookmark   December 12, 2001 at 11:38AM
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Could you & your son go visit mom & neice AFTER neice has opened her gifts? Ask grandma to save your son's gifts for Christmas, and go over after Grandma & neice open gifts together.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2001 at 2:54PM
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o, the same old story. My MIL did this. She favored the girl over the boy. She would not even speak to my nephew, deliberately ignored him. Cheap gifts, tokens. Just would tell him to sit still, be quiet, stay out of her way. So hurtful. She was a mean, bitter woman who yelled at my son for picking a leaf off of a plant.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2001 at 7:55PM
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I wasn't trying to imply you were materialistic, I was simply trying to explain that even though your son is only 3 he is certainly picking up on the anger, resentment and hurt you are feeling toward his grandmother at this time of year when the most prevelant emotions expressed are love, kindness and caring for one another. You might be teaching him with words one thing and teaching him through your own emotions quite a different message. Don't mistake that I am saying your emotions are wrong. Just be aware of the mixed signals you might be sending out to your son. Also, another point that I don't believe anyone else mentioned is that maybe your mother be going through a period in her life where she needs more than ever to have a little girl around her. Maybe to remind her that she still has some of her youth left in her. Someone who she might be able to share her same interests with and that maybe she can one day pass on a family recipe or 2. No matter how much you try, your son will never be totally equal with your niece. Just the fact that he is a boy and she is a girl or that she is 2 years older makes quite a difference at this age. If you think about this honestly, I'm SURE you wouldn't REALLY always want your mother to treat them totally equal, would you? By the way can I ask you to be totally honest with yourself? Is it possible that maybe you are jealous of your brother and some advantages he seems to be being handed out to him without having to work as hard as you do to achieve? You don't need to answer to me, but the honest answer you give to that voice inside you will reveal a lot.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2001 at 8:14PM
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If your Mom insists that you go over, is it possible for you to go out and buy the same gifts that she is giving your neice for your son? Explain to her that children need to have things kept even, and always want what the other has. Since she went out and got a family gift for your family, your son is too young to understand that. I think the 2 kids can have a visit, open some of the "same" gifts, anything extra that your son is not getting she should hold until you leave.

As for the game boy game vs. a video tape, maybe you should tell her your son would like that too. If she insists on the movie, you can always return it for a game. I don't know which game boy your son has, but you can get some inexpensive games for the same price as the tape. Keep returning her items, when she visits and wonders where her gift to Johnny is, tell her the truth. She will catch on (or get an attitude).
I think what it comes down to also is your son is a boy, and the old thinking is, boys are tuff. She is also unaware of how smart kids are these days. Guess she feels she needs to treat the girl with extra TLC because she is a girl, which can also be related to the old way of thinking.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2001 at 11:01AM
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I think your focus on how much money your mother spends on your son vs your neice is unhealthy. The measure of how much she loves them is NOT how much money she spends on them. There are reasons to spend more or less on one child with respect to another that have nothing to do with how much she loves them.


    Bookmark   December 13, 2001 at 11:56AM
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I have a SIL who was always comparing the gifts my MIL gave to all the grandchildren. If she felt slighted - ever - she let everyone know. Now my poor MIL is so afraid to do anything she just gives all her grandchildren the exact same amount of $$ on every occassion. It is really sad, because she enjoyed picking out things that she thought each child would like and its hard to always keep to the exact same amount of money. I'm sure that over the years it would have all equaled out anyway, and I really believe it ruined Christmas for her. She had begun buying a pearl for each of the girls and having it put on a chain so they would have a full necklace when they grew up, now all the girls only have a chain with 5 pearls :(

    Bookmark   December 13, 2001 at 12:08PM
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kim B:

all i want to say is that i too was surprised at your last post to see HOW MANY parents (now grandparents) still play favorites and to let you know that my pil's play favorites all the time (mine parents have the fine art of fairness mastered to a tee!), in fact, we go through it EVERY weekend, until my dh gets so fed up that we stay clear for a while, then we start missing them.... blah blah blah!

i hear ya sister!

    Bookmark   December 13, 2001 at 12:33PM
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I agree with mommabear. I find it hard to believe that a 3 year old can understand the dollar value of a gift and if he catches wind of your feelings it will be teaching him that Christmas is all about the presents and the way you show your love is through the price of your gift. Whether or not he likes his cousin's gift better than his is just one of those things that happens in life. It's a difficult lesson when young but it's one we all learn eventually. The gifts will be opened and played with or watched for awhile and then the cousins will probably end up playing together and having fun and any initial disappointment will vanish and be forgotten unless you bring it up again. Maybe you could suggest that your DS open the DVD/VCR when his cousing opens her VCR and then things will be nicely balanced.

Why should your son have to celebrate that early? It sounds like it could be a special, fun visit with his grandmother and cousin and I'm sure he will still have ample presents for Christmas morning. I don't see anything wrong with an early celebration but if you did maybe you could have nicely requested that it be a little later. REally, though, what' wrong with it?

    Bookmark   December 13, 2001 at 12:42PM
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I know exactly what you are talking about! My MIL has to worry about what she buys for our son and for SIL's kids. Now we don't even open gifts together so we don't worry about it. Once in a while my other MIL and FIL will give an extra gift to one of the kids~like a few years ago they knew we needed a microwave and bought us one~so we have to sneak the item out of the house to not tick the others off. Is that fair? Kids really don't notice these things only the parents. I know my brother got a lot of things when I left the house that I didn't when I was his age but we also had a different step father at that point. Whining and complaning would only make me look bad. I didn't even care. Now the same SIL will call and bawl if her sister who is 10 and she's 27 gets something. Gay thinks she deserves what her little sister gets, too.

Jealousy is a horrible thing.


    Bookmark   December 13, 2001 at 1:17PM
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One more suggestion, You could always say that you don't like for the kids to open gifts before Christmas day and accept the gift to put under the tree.
If they want to be there when it is opened, you can tell them that they are more than welcome to join you and your family on christmas day or afterward.
When I was younger, we didn't open gifts until christmas day or after christmas. We always recorded who the gift was from so that we sent a thank you note or give a special call. Sometimes my grandparents were there when we opened. I had alot of cousins so they weren't always there, they spread themselves around. I don't make my kids do this, but I did it. Just another option. I do agree that the kids should never see the anger or hurt. My kids get left out alot with my inlaws, but, we don't talk about it in front of them, and they are always happy to see them. I figure that one day the kids will ask why they don't come around as much as the other kids, and why they don't spend the night, but for now, ignorance is bliss. Just remember what Christmas is all about, 1st of all, it's the birth of Christ, second of all it's loving and sharing, and third of all it's a great way to see all of the people you know and love (and really good food). If you keep the positive in perspective, everything else kinda flows. One thing to keep in mind is, if you can prevent a problem, do so. If you can't then you did the best you could and made the best of it. Keep your chin up, and Merry Christmas.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2001 at 2:15PM
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I can see all sides of the story here. I think you need to be the bigger person and just let it go on by. It'll make your life easier and happier in the long run.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2001 at 2:58PM
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Thanks for all of the replies. For now the issue is resolved and we will be going on the 15th. My son will not open his "big" gifts then and will have some little cars to open.

However, I do agree that I need to discuss my feelings with my mother. But, I've always kind of been of the opinion that if I have to ask someone to show me love, then what is it worth?

Again, I think some of you misunderstood why I mentioned gifts. It is just an example of differences that are made. I do not keep a running total in my head of what everyone gets and how much it costs. I don't want you all to think it is about money - trust me - I am not a material person. My son was 9 mos old on his first Christmas and my mother in law insisted on spending the same amount on him as the other grandkids who were all at least 5 years older. I told her it was ridiculous, he had no clue as to what was going on, but she did it any way. My hubby and I stood and opened clothes that made a pile almost as high as us (no kidding), some of which were never worn. And someone asked why the 15th was an issue. Well, like I said, it just seems like we are expected to halt the norm. I do want to celebrate with my niece and understand that she may not be available to us on the 24th or 25th, and it is o.k. with me to do it early, but I do think we should be entitled to carry on our traditions on the actual holiday. Any way, I agree, jealousy is not good, and I strive to improve as a person and as a christian daily. However, sometimes the battle gets a little difficult.


Kim B.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2001 at 8:54AM
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Your solution sounds like a good way of easing your concerns that your son might feel bad with less gifts. That is an understadable concern, as you wouldn't want the festivities to be marred by feelings of slightedness.

But there are two things that concern me.

You say that you agree that you need to share your feelings with your mother, but that if you have to ask someone to show love, then what is it worth?

How is your mother NOT showing love? You seem to be so caught up in comparison that you are not seeing the net gain. Most people try the best they can to express their love, but people come from different places (emotionally) and react to things differently. They can't neccesarily see the way their well intentioned behavior is interpreted by others. Sharing that kind of information with someone is not asking them for love, it is just giving them the feedback they need to know HOW to best meet everyone's needs.

In fact, you may be doing your mother an injustice by not letting her know how it makes you feel. She probably has no way of knowing that you feel like she loves your son less, and she probably has no intention of making you feel that way. You are building up resentment about it that she can't even counteract. When you talk to her, you don't need to accuse her of loving you less, you just want to let her know that sometimes her actions on behalf of her granddaughter leave you feeling a little unimportant. Maybe all it would take to make you feel better is her reassurance that you are not any less important.

As for your mother "favoring" your niece... Take a step back. Try not to be jealous of a poor little five year old girl whose family life is so fractured that she needs to have official *visitation* with her grandmother. SHE has to celebrate Chrismas with your mother on the 15th, or she doesn't get to at all! It seems annoying to change all sorts of plans around her, but isn't your mother just trying to make this little girl feel like an important part of this extended family? People have all sorts of Christmas celebrations on days other than Christmas. Your neice didn't do any of this, and she's got the way shorter end of the stick than your son. Be grateful for the wonderful gifts of love, family, and stability that your son has that this girl may never know.

I don't mean to bash you here. We are all trying to better ourselves, and with emotions it can be pretty darn hard! I just think that you would be alot happier if you looked at the big picture, and looked at your relationships on their own, not in comparison to others'.

May you enjoy *all* of your Christmas celebrations!

    Bookmark   December 14, 2001 at 1:51PM
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Kim I couldn't find your first post. ARe there other issues that I am missing. Does your mother not show you or your son love? Unless I am missing something it doesn't seem like it is your mom's or your niece's fault on the day that she wants to have her Christmas.

Like I said in a previous post, my mother gets my nephew every other Friday night and so when I plan my kids birthday party I always (so to include him) make sure to have them on a weekend that my mother will have him. It's not his fault that his mother is being this way and doesn't give him up any extra :( I am only saying this because you were upset that you had to halt the norm but it's not your niece or your mom's fault. I think I would be more upset if my mom had Christmas with my nephew and my kids on different days.

My traditions of Christmas with my kids is on Christmas day but whenever anyone else chooses to give them a Christmas present I don't care if it is 2 weeks before or 2 weeks after.

You said that if you have to ask her to show love then it is not worth it.. what does she do? It sounds like she spent a lot on you for Christmas by getting you something that you really wanted.. even though you told her that it was too expensive. Does she do other things that are making you feel this way?

I think it would bother me more if my mom didn't care if she had all of her grandkids together... meaning if she cared more for your niece she could have just did Christmas Day with your son and not included him she could have had just her granddaughter on the 15th.. but she obviously wanted both of them together.

Anyway.. let me know if I am missing something. The fact that your mom is keeping her all night and not your son would probably bother me but from the way that you talk your mom works full time and from what I can understand she doesn't get this little girl except during this time so she probably feels that she has to get her then if she wants a relationship with her whereas you are not holding him from her. Has she always kept her all night or has this just started?

    Bookmark   December 14, 2001 at 3:19PM
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Amy - maybe I can get the point across to everyone now that it isn't a money issue by replying to your post. I would much rather her spend a big fat zero on me for Christmas and spend a little more time with me during the year. I am fine with celebrating on the 15th with my niece, but that doesn't mean mom has to say "okay I'm done celebrating the holidays and I won't be to your house on Christmas Eve because we did it all on the 15th."


    Bookmark   December 14, 2001 at 3:25PM
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Well I would be upset if she didn't come by on Christmas Eve either. Did you invite her over and she said no? Tell her you would like for to have her over for Christmas Eve. It's probably hard for me to give advice to you when I only see this issue and I am sure that there are many more.

I hope that you didn't think that I was implying that since she spent so much on you that meant you shouldn't have a problem with her... I was just sort of thinking outloud that it didn't seem that she was scimping as far as money went.

I am sorry if I offended you. :( This obvious goes deeper than just this Christmas issue so It isn't fair for me to draw assumptions based on this one problem as compared to the overall issue. I don't know the whole story but all you can do is talk to her about it. For the most part if this is just the way she is (showing more attention to your siblings or other relatives) then it probably won't change it but if she doesn't realize that she is doing it it just may change it. Sometimes people just get involved in their lives and don't think about how they are affecting others. ((((HUGS)))) Good luck and I hope that you have fun tommorrow night. :)

    Bookmark   December 14, 2001 at 3:50PM
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Kim -
Just wanted to let you know that I feel that Mommabear's response and ones liek it are way out of line. I understand what you mean by the favoritism - my sister and I always felt like losers in the eyse of our grandparents because of our cousin - it was always "your cousin did this," and "your cousin did that," with no acknowledgement to our accomplishments (cousin was a model as a young kid and danced, i was a musician, straight A student, girl scout, very active at church, sis was a musician, cheerleader, A+ student, active in scouting....). They took her on vacations, bought her expensive things, and talked/bragged about her incessantly. And let me tell you, we noticed this ourselves from a very early age (kindergarten and before....) without our parents having EVER said anything about it. It hurt, and I have just as an adult been able to handle being around thses grandparents.
The pointof all of this is you have a very valid concern, and you are not money hungry, vindictive, or anything else that you may have been/ may become accused of.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2001 at 4:38PM
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I simply said that the focus on money is unhealthy.

I am a regular participant on this board and I try to respond in ways that I think will be helpful, or to give opinions that add something to the conversation. That does not always mean that I will agree with the participants on the board. However, please know that I did not ACCUSE ANYONE OF ANYTHING. Those are your words, not mine.


    Bookmark   December 14, 2001 at 6:18PM
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If you re-read my post, it wasn't just to you - you may not have accused of anything, but others (and you know who you are) did. Your response was not, however, at all constructive to the issue at hand.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2001 at 6:33PM
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Then why mention ME SPECIFICALLY?

    Bookmark   December 14, 2001 at 7:19PM
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The issue of having to ask someone to 'show love' is complicated. It's actually worth a whole lot and may be beyond priceless. The thing is different people have different life experiences, and different ways of thinking and interpreting events.

You may feel that some things are loving gestures, and some things are not. In fact in this sort of area, usually people have very strong feelings about what is or is not 'love.' And, those distinctions feel clear and obvious to the person who has them.

The problem is, other people can be equally well-intentioned, and _want_ desperately to make a loving gesture and even think/feel they are doing that. But, if your interpretation of what constitues a 'loving gesture' is different (and having a different brain and life, it may well be different) then there can be bad misunderstandings.

You wouldn't be asking for love or loving gestures. You'd simply be asking for what you think will help your son to feel good. (Try to leave all mention of your niece, and comparasins out of discussion). If he gets overexcited when everyone's opening gifts, he's young and that's predictable. Maybe it would be a good idea to put off opening gifts.

(If your mother doesn't see herself as playing favourites, going in with that assumption will probably have her reacting as if she were attacked or insulted or misunderstood. Also, it can create friction for your niece who may not feel at all favoured and might be able to make a good case for how she is not in face 'favored.' But, you can probably make a good case for fostering your son's enjoyment of his visit, and how his age and developmental stage might require some adult and older children concessions to avoid making problems for him.)

    Bookmark   December 15, 2001 at 2:46AM
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Because your message jumps out - it's nothing but harsh with no constructive comments at all!
Do ya'll realize that by not getting the fact that this was NOT ABOUT MONEY to kim, she has left? Why was it so hard to understand that she just wants her mom not to play favorites? Money was never the issue; love was ALWAYS the issue. Yet some of you had to tell her how all she was after was the monetary aspect and how that was wrong.... You should all be ashamed for chasing away a good person.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2001 at 9:55AM
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I understand that Kim mentioned that her issue was not about money. And I beleive her. However, the focus of the conversation always turns back to money. I beleive it is this FOCUS on money that is unhealthy because it clouds the real issue. I think Kim has to take the FOCUS on money away from the conversation. Because if it's NOT about money, then she can't use money as an example of the problem. If she continues to focus on money the real root of her problem will never get addressed.

The first comments relate to material items (son gets movies, niece gets VCR/fish tank). Only later does she say it's not about gifts. In later comments there are references to son getting video and niece getting gameboy game. So-even though the real issue is how much grandma loves each kid, the conversation turns back to money. If Kim hopes to get to the bottom of the real issue (which is NOT MONEY) she needs to take the FOCUS off of money and try to address the real problem with her mother.

I was hoping that most people would be smart enough to take that out of my rather pithy first comments. I guess I was wrong.


    Bookmark   December 15, 2001 at 11:49AM
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