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Please, oh please tell me; how can I get my MIL to stop buying CRAP?

My mother-in-law loves to buy and send gifts to my two children. I think it's so sweet and I love her for it, but it's ALWAYS junk. I mean, pencil packs from the dollar store, big huge coloring books with stickers that you can't get off w/out ripping and pages that tear when you color them, random weird toys with small peices (which I hate because I have a baby who loves to put things in her mouth), big boxes of foam stickers to do heaven-knows-what with, and so much more of the like. Every time we get something from her, I have to take a heavy sigh and prepare myself. I am very anti-clutter and we just don't ever play with and use what she sends, it just sits around for awhile and ends up getting thrown out because I get mad at these inanimate objects! She does buy them clothes (they aren't my favorite, but we use them and I am grateful for them), but all this other stuff is so annoying. How can I discourage this?

Answer Question

Asked by AngelPuff1012 at 5:24 PM on Oct. 5, 2010 in General Parenting

Level 2 (8 Credits)
Answers (16)
  • Ask her to stop. It's not mean. My MIL did the same thing and we asked her to stop. We tell her we have enough things and we don't want small objects around when we have baby. We told her if she wants to get the kids things to save her money and buy them an outfit every once in a while.

    Answer by mommy_of_two388 at 5:27 PM on Oct. 5, 2010

  • You cant just throw it away whenthe kids are sleeping. My mom is sometimes a junk buyer too. She buys stuff because its only a dollar not because we need it but because she thinks my dd will smile when she gets it. Just let her be and dont feel bad when you pitch it!

    Answer by ria7 at 5:28 PM on Oct. 5, 2010

  • Smile and donate it somewhere someone would be grateful for it.

    Answer by pinkdragon36 at 5:28 PM on Oct. 5, 2010

  • I meant you cant stop it but DO throw it away!!

    Answer by ria7 at 5:29 PM on Oct. 5, 2010

  • mommy of two has the right idea. Nicely ask her & explain to her that you love the fact that she loves sending things to your children, but at the same time, it would be to put her money to use on something else. Like savings accounts for the children or what not. YOU LOVE her & love the meaning behind the gifts, but its just getting to much.

    Answer by lilmoosesmom at 5:29 PM on Oct. 5, 2010

  • You could do what I did. Point out the problems with the toys at least. I used to get all kinda of crap from my son's grandmother. I'd just say it wasn't the right toy for his age and give it back. But then I wasn't exactly nice about it because she doesnt speak english.. no way for me to be nice about it really in that situation. You could always have a nice conversation though. Tell her you LOVE how much she likes spoiling youre kids, but youd like it alot more if she could keep in mind their ages. Say that with a baby, its impossible to have small toys around the house. That it isnt safe. Just explain your reasoning on the little toys at least. I think youre stuck with the coloring books and stickers though :P lol

    Answer by Kayere at 5:29 PM on Oct. 5, 2010

  • I think its your husband that needs to be the one to talk to her! I think that as a rule of thumb when it comes to stuff like this, it has to be the one whose family is getting talked to - i.e., you'd talk to your mom/dad/brother/sister and he needs to do the same. Then he just needs to be really sweet and tell her that while you all love her generosity, some of the stuff is not age appropriate for the younger one and its really hard to keep that stuff away from her and you'd like to figure out a way she can spoil the kids w/o putting the little one in danger.

    Answer by Mom_2_cuties at 5:31 PM on Oct. 5, 2010

  • This sounds exactly like my aunt. Who loves to buy stuff for my son and will always buy stuff if its on sale, no matter if she needs it or not. I have gotten better at telling her/explaining that we are also very anticlutter and do not need this but thank you for "this".

    Just explain politely that you don't need/like certain things like mommy of two said...and if she continues, set up a box to put unwanted/unused items in and donate them to a local school/organization instead of tossing it(unless it really warrants a toss in the garbage).

    Answer by tntmom1027 at 5:32 PM on Oct. 5, 2010

  • Is she on a budget? The coloring books and stickers and small toys may be all she can afford so she does that because she wants to be able to shower them with gifts. Or maybe she just isnt sure what to get for the children and she knows most kids like to color or play with stickers so she gets them.
    Do you live close enough to your Mother in law so that some of those things can be left at grandma's and encourage them to play with them there?
    Or for the stickers, since you like things that dont clutter, perhaps you can make or buy the kids their own sticker books. They can put the stickers in those books and no other places.
    Or maybe you could tell her how much you appreciate the gifts she sends the kids but what they actually enjoy is: or they would really like:
    Final option. Thank her for them, then box them up and give them to a preschool , nursery, or kindergarten teacher. They'd love them.

    Answer by duckigrrl at 5:34 PM on Oct. 5, 2010

  • Talk to her. She's not going to know how you feel until you tell her. Be honest and let her know that you'd just rather her not send those things.

    Answer by JazzlikeMraz at 5:35 PM on Oct. 5, 2010

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