Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

Where am I going wrong? AM I going wrong?

(69 Posts)
Rowantree Sun 14-Feb-16 12:35:47

I am feeling so upset and tearful at the moment.

DD2has one little granddaughter aged 2 1/2 ; DD1 is expecting her first baby in early June. DD1 has asked me to source cheap and second hand stuff for them for their baby which I've really enjoyed doing. I've joined various local online groups of mums who sell their toys and things cheaply and today bought a beautiful wooden workbench for DGD who loves tools and helping daddy with DIY. Thought it'd be a lovely 3rd birthday present. Yes, I KNOW I should have asked DD2 first before I bought it, but I didn't, and I didn't want the toolbench to go. It was a risk, and...well, when I sent DD2 photos of it, she went up the wall and said I was undermining their wishes and 'swamping' DGD with presents (I buy the odd book from charity shops for her). They have a small house so I totally understand where they're coming from, but for Christmas DD2 bought DGD a tent/castle which takes up loads of space....and I've been forbidden to buy anything. I feel really hurt that DD2 has reacted in this way and said I am undermining them when I didn't intend to give it to DGD before her birthday anyway. I suggested we keep it at ours and she can borrow it now and then for a few days, but DD2 was still angry.
I know there's no 'solution' as such: I have to abide by their rules, I KNOW that, and it was my own fault. I just wanted to vent a bit; I feel upset and hurt, and wonder if anyone else has experienced anything similar and how they dealt with it?

Advice and comfort welcome....I've had enough bollocking from DD2 and DH already!

Judthepud2 Sun 14-Feb-16 12:52:40

What a thoughtful Gran! Buying a present that sounds exactly right for your little DGD. I would just keep it at your house and let her play with it if you are ever looking after her. She would then enjoy it occasionally without it cluttering up DD's home. You can keep what you like in your own house, surely. It is your house and your rules.

I keep a huge stash of toys, books and craft stuff at mine, which I produce whenever my grandchildren are visiting. My 6 DGCs range from 9 to 8 months so I have enough to keep them all well occupied.

I can understand DD being angry if you continuously bombard the little one with toys and sweets but not one birthday present. Has she explained why she has reacted like this? Sounds a little bit controlling.


Bellanonna Sun 14-Feb-16 12:56:57

I do feel sorry for you Rowantree. Is the background to this that she has discussed in the past that she definitely doesn't want big presents, and that at the time you agreed to this? So in that case maybe I understand her reaction. I think your compromise of keeping the tool bench at yours, if you have more space, is a good one. Presumably you see the 3-year-old often enough for her to enjoy it when she comes to you? I don't think it's unreasonable for you to keep a stash of toys anyway. Ive got lots of stuff here cluttering up in my dining room under a large throw. Don't be too upset. It's fun buying things for grandchildren and I understand you perfectly. However, if you had agreed with her " rule" then I think you just hold on to the present for now. Maybe in the summer they could keep it in their garden? I hope this resolves amicably.

rosesarered Sun 14-Feb-16 12:59:48

Only you can understand your own DD Rowantree ( I certainly don't understand it!)
However, that being the case, keep it in your spare room/garage so she can play with it along with you or her Grandad.
Keep all future presents small/buy clothes.?

Greyduster Sun 14-Feb-16 13:03:37

Y'know, your post upset me too. I know that we are expected to abide by 'rules' where grandchildren are concerned, but where are the rules which say that daughters and daughters in law are not supposed to vent their spleen on hapless grandparents for reasons as trivial as going a bit overboard and buying something they think may be unsuitable? Apart from anything else, it's sheer bloody bad manners and she should know better. Let her. Know how hurt you feel and tell her to get a grip! I can't be the only one who gets sick of treading on egg shells! Sorry, that's not very comforting, and not particularly helpful, but it just made me angry for you. sad

milkflake Sun 14-Feb-16 13:09:16

You shouldn't have to ask before you buy your GD a gift! If she helps her Dad with DIY could the bench not be in the garage or shed or wherever he works?

I feel so sad for you, part of being a Grandma is spoiling our GC (within reason) I love buying bits and pieces for mine and loved it when my Mum bought things for my children.

I would be devastated if my children treated me like that sad

As for advice probably keeping it at your house and letting GD play with it when she visits, your house your rules.

I hope your Daughter calms down, is this normal behaviour for her? Why is your OH angry with you? Go out and buy yourself a big bar of chocolate sit back and watch film and forget about them for a while.

NanaandGrampy Sun 14-Feb-16 13:16:31

I'm so sorry you're upset. I don't think you're being unreasonable at all and if you're happy to keep it at your house then I don't see the problem.

My Dd2 has a small house and we swap toys with them. I am known for buying big gifts so if I buy one for Christmas ( this year it was a McManus tent and tool trolley ) then I expect to get last years gift as mine ( sweet shop) . The boys then feel they have something new when they visit.

I wouldn't have dreamt of telling my mum what to buy or not buy . It seems that 'the rules' have changed , especially with so many children using their children as weapons .

Don't be upset, you aren't alone sadly.

Eloethan Sun 14-Feb-16 13:25:17

Rowantree What a shame when you'd gone to so much trouble to buy something you felt sure your grand daughter would enjoy. I wouldn't have thought it would take up that much room either.

My son also doesn't like us buying too many presents or ad hoc things we find in charity shops - but he wouldn't fly off the handle like that - just have a gentle grumble. As the children come here a lot, we tend to keep the things we buy for them at our house - even though his house is bigger.

I have to say I think your daughter is being unreasonable and unkind. Perhaps she's feeling stressed about something else at the moment but I really don't think that's an excuse for such an outburst.

obieone Sun 14-Feb-16 13:28:30

I sort of understand a bit<ducks>
If your DD has a small house, then she wouldnt really want such a big item?
It is a very nice thought and gesture, but not really practical for them.

If there is previous history to this then that is why she kicked off?

pollyparrot Sun 14-Feb-16 13:37:42

I understand why you are upset, I would be. Sending a virtual hug and flowers flowers {{{ }}}

Rowantree Sun 14-Feb-16 13:40:23

Thank you all so much - your responses were very comforting. I feel so guilty and that I've let DD2 down somehow :-( and at the same time, angry and hurt.

OH thinks I should have asked her first before buying it and says I always go OTT (he never buys anything at all, so anything to him is OTT!)
I do now and then, but I really don't visit armed with sweets, gifts etc. Honestly!
I love books and really think they're an essential part of childhood so admit to buying those, but they don't take up much room. She has a 'nursery' with big toys in it, some of which she doesn't play with much now - but I know it's THEIR house and not my place to comment on that at all.

This response is very much par for the course with DD2. She has suffered a lot of mental health problems in the past and still battles with anxiety and depression, though she copes brilliantly with it thanks to the excellent therapy she finally had, and her own efforts. We've always been as supportive and loving as we possibly could but it's sometimes been a rough ride and treading on eggshells was a part of our lives from toddlerhood onwards. I became pretty much the emotional punchbag for her pain and distress (she has a congential physical disability too) and I got used to her taking things out on me - it wasn't pleasant but I understood why. We've talked about it a great deal and she regrets how she treated us when she was ill, but there are still flashpoints and I have to be careful not to appear to undermine in any way - something I am working on constantly. I often get it wrong, sadly.

DGD will be their only child and so just as they want to make the most of their daughter's childhood, so do we - though DH isn't as emotionally affected as I seem to be about things. At one stage I didn't think I would ever be a grandma and I cherish every moment we spend with her. I am also really looking forward to the birth of DD1's baby - who will also be their one and only, for other reasons.

I know my hurt and sadness is my problem and I don't want to make it DD2's. I like the ideas of swapping toys. Once the dust has settled and DD2 is less angry, I might suggest that, but right now I feel too undermined, humiliated and sad myself to discuss it with her.

WilmaKnickersfit Sun 14-Feb-16 13:42:16

Could the problem be that you give more expensive gifts than her parents? I know you bought this one 2nd hand, but perhaps your daughter feels you are undermining her by buying gifts she can't afford herself? I only mention this because she said you were undermining her.

Some parents feel the biggest gift should come from them. I mean biggest in terms of price, not size although big can look better to a child.

WilmaKnickersfit Sun 14-Feb-16 13:45:16

Sorry Rowantree we crossed posted.

NanSue Sun 14-Feb-16 13:46:45

I keep lots of toys at our house for DGC, in fact they probably fill a third of our dining room, so I would keep it at yours.
I do sympathise though. The DC can be very tiresome sometimes can't they? Not to mention ungrateful when our intentions come from kindness. Another one of those times you have to bite your tongue, unless you feel strongly enough to have it out with her.

Rowantree Sun 14-Feb-16 13:52:59

You might have a point, Wilma. I don't know. It's not that they can't afford things though, I know that.

sigh When my DDs were children we were delighted with any gifts our parents give us. We didn't reject anything and were grateful and knew that giving gave them pleasure.

Oh well. It's life! :-/

Thanks to everyone for the support and virtual hugs!

Rowantree Sun 14-Feb-16 14:00:50

NanSue I can't have it out with her - it'd lead to WW3/a lot of bad feeling.So... my tongue is well and truly bitten through, as it has been on many occasions!

No, keeping it at ours, despite DH's grumbles, is the only solution. I do get irked at the ingratitude though, yes - there was no acknowledgement at all that I'd thought about DGD and what she might enjoy and benefit from.

Shestheone Sun 14-Feb-16 14:03:10

Rowantree how sad that such a lovely gesture on your part has backfired. All you have done 'wrong' is to see something you felt your GD would love....which only shows how much the little girl is always in your thoughts.

I can't tell you how much I feel for you and how pleased I am that you've got your virtual friends to turn to for comfort.

flowers and I hope things settle down quickly for you.

obieone Sun 14-Feb-16 14:20:43

I sort of understand your DD's point of view, because there was a problem with a relative of mine insisting on repeatedly giving bigger presents to my kids than I and DH did.
She was doing it for her own reasons, and not for ours or our children. I have ended up having to put up with it.

Lavande Sun 14-Feb-16 15:22:26

I wish us grandparents could claim diplomatic immunity if we sometimes get carried away and make a slip up. The dynamics between relationships are all so different, some more complex than others and what works for some will cause resentment for others.


The safest bet from my experience is to check in advance what you are thinking of buying for birthdays or Christmas or ask for ideas.

It doesn't stop the spontaneous purchase of those irresistable bargains if these could be kept at your own home if necessary. It's what I call the granny kit and includes spare clothes as well as play equipment of all shapes and sizes.

I hope that this makes you feel more supported if nothing else.

Rowantree Sun 14-Feb-16 15:25:18

I'd completely understand that too, obieone. It wasn't with any intention to 'buy' favour or upstage DD2 and her partner at all. I saw it on the site, and remembered how much DGD loves 'helping' her daddy with the DIY, holding screwdrivers and so on, and how interested she is in the processes. I just thought - that would be perfect for DGD - and was excited by it. I wouldn't even mind if DD2 gave it to DGD from them - wouldn't bother me at all. I can just see her loving playing with it, that's all, and being totally absorbed in it. But I did the Wrong Thing.

All I can do now is to wait for DD2 to break the silence - she's 'gone quiet' and that usually means she's seething with rage, despite my having reassured her that there are solutions and I was sorry she felt I was undermining her and that I really hadn't meant to do that....etc etc.

Stansgran Sun 14-Feb-16 15:27:44

I have despaired of two of my grandchildren every receiving presents from us. They live abroad and after finding that parcels were not picked up from the post office if they weren't in when delivered,only things which fitted in the slot of their box could be sent we have taken to opening an account with a local bookshop and getting them to send vouchers. Very dull ,in fact no fun at all as I got a picture last night( birthdays were last year) of the books they had bought. Strangely enough the boy had chosen the best ski runs in the world and oddly his father is a ski addict . The girl had chosen a lonely planet guide and mum travels widely.

mumofmadboys Sun 14-Feb-16 15:35:16

Perhaps your daughter was just having a bad day and took it out on you. Try not to take it to heart.

rosesarered Sun 14-Feb-16 15:35:57

I think Rowantree that you sadly already realise this is not your fault, but that your DD2 has mental health problems.She has become used to blaming you.You have my sympathy, it must be so difficult for you.?

NanaandGrampy Sun 14-Feb-16 15:36:07

What possible excuse could they have for not picking up gifts Stansgran??? I'm sorry but i'm cross on your behalf smile.

We all know its a pain to have to go to the post office , but to collect a gift for your child? Is it a 6 hour round trip from the middle of deepest darkest africa on an elephant ?

I'm sad for you. Its true that the most pleasure lies with the giver and you're not allowed that small pleasure.

WilmaKnickersfit Sun 14-Feb-16 15:45:29

I think grandparents get so much pleasure from buying things for their younger GC, especially if they didn't have a lot of money to buy things for their own children. And there's SO much more choice these days too.

When my niece and nephew were younger they got so many presents for Christmas and birthdays that my SiL used to put some away to bring out on a rainy day, etc. They were the first GC in the family and both sets of GPs had known hard times and couldn't help themselves from buying lots of things for the GC.

What happened though was that when the GC were older and developed their own set of likes and dislikes, the GPs no longer knew for sure what they would like and things settled down to the point where now they check with my SiL before buying Christmas and birthday presents to avoid duplication and also disappointment by buying the wrong things.