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The Self Righteous Will Get Tossed Into Etiquette Hell

So recently my brother and his wife (who I will call SIL) called my partner and asked if starting next year we perhaps just exchange cards for our children’s birthday or phone calls (as they live interstate) with the exception of important birthdays, she suggested 1, 5, 13, 18 and 21. Their reasoning was that with my sister having another baby it is just getting too expensive to be spending $40 per child’s birthday, which is the previously agreed upon amount.

Now I think this is all my SIL’s influence, they have ONE child compared to my three and I think she’s being exceptionally greedy and selfish, she doesn’t want to spend $120 on my kids because she only gets a $40 present in return. Earlier this year after I sent her child’s birthday present (which totaled $20 including postage) I heard she was talking about it to my mother and she said that her son had more fun “playing with the box”, which was her telling us that what I sent her wasn’t good enough. She’s been trying to stop us from this for years always crying that they have a “strict budget” and that it’s getting so expensive, she even suggested that we take the money we would spend on her child and buy our kids extra presents, which is ridiculous! Anyone knows that $40 between three kids isn’t going to go very far, and their $120 would get their child so much more.

In addition to this, my kids don’t care about cards. They generally tear them trying to get the money that’s inside them. Last year she gave my son $40 in a pop up card she had made and then proceeded to sulk when my son tore the card trying to see if it contained more money. He’s only 9. These days she doesn’t even send a card, she just gets something shipped to our house from online and calls relentlessly to find out if they received it, even though she usually has a tracking number so she would know if they receive it. She even had the gall to call and ask why the kids don’t call to say thank you when they get their gifts!! Trying to tell me how to parent my children!!

I wish my brother would just divorce this materialistic woman, it’s her choice to only have one child, so I don’t see why my children have to suffer because she doesn’t want to spend more money on my kids than I spend on hers! It’s ridiculous!

Any advice on how to deal with this horrid woman? 0817-15

It’s tempting to believe this was written and submitted as a troll post.   The only person obsessed with dollar amounts is the OP whose greedy, ill mannered kids destroy cards in their frenzied attempt to get the money inside and don’t have any clue to thank the giver.   Meanwhile Mom is all huffy and put out that someone called her on her bad parenting and calculates to the penny how unfair it is that her greedy kids don’t get their fair share.



Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Anonymous October 14, 2015, 7:29 am

    Okay, we’ve established that the OP and her kids were rude, but what do yoy guys think of the mentality that single and childless people should always give gifts to their friends’ and relatives’ kids, while rarely (if ever) receiving anything in return?

    • Anna October 14, 2015, 9:59 am

      It’s totally a choice. I have no children, but I have 6 nephews and many of my friends have children. None of the parents have ever pressured me into buying presents, I choose to do that as and when I can.

      If your question is about feeling entitled to receiving presents if you have provided them, that’s a different issue. I understand you might feel put upon, but as I said IT’S A CHOICE. If I ever chose not to give a present and the parent chastised me (which has never happened) I would feel aggrieved, but would have no hesitation about removing that parent from my list of friends.

      That said, two of my nephews (who are now over 18) won’t tell me what they want for birthdays as they think they are too old for auntie-presents. I don’t listen to them 🙂

    • Amanda H. October 14, 2015, 2:49 pm

      As Anna said, it’s completely a choice. Anyone who has the mentality that single and childless people should always give gifts to their friends’ kids without receiving anything in return has their head in the wrong spot.

      I have a very close friend who might as well be a sister who has no children of her own, an actual sister who has no children, and two other sisters who only recently had children. I have never expected any of them to provide gifts to my kids, any more than I’ve expected my other sister who has had kids for a while to provide gifts. The only people I expect to give my kids gifts are my husband and myself. Anyone else who does is being nice, and my children duly send thank-you cards.

    • Lo October 15, 2015, 11:01 am

      I’m a childless woman in my 30s. It’s not about tit for tat. Why are childless people entitled to receive equal returns? We’re giving gifts to the younger generation. We give gifts because we love our family. Not because we’re banking on an investment.

    • Me October 16, 2015, 1:21 am

      I think a little consideration and reciprocity can go a very long way in situations like that.

      A lot of people are happy to give gifts to their friends’ or family’s kids, and don’t expect tit for tat. But sometimes it can tip over to having their life considered completely unimportant because it doesn’t involve kids, and that can cause a lot of frustration.

      If you’ve spent years buying shower gifts, wedding gifts, baby gifts, birthday, Christmas, baptism and graduation presents, have bought tons of junk to support various fundraisers, and are always the one who uses vacation time and money to visit family, and in return no-one is interested in acknowledging your life events, or puts thought into giving you a present you’d like, and it’s assumed that of course you’ll sleep on the couch or floor, leaving the beds to actual families – that can make you feel pretty crappy and turn what was generously given into an onerous chore.

    • LawGeek October 25, 2015, 7:59 pm

      I’m lucky to only have one “niece” to buy for, and mom and all the childless aunties and I made a pact one year to stop exchanging gifts except for the little one. It was completely voluntary, and we were relieved to end the pressure to buy for each other every year, especially as we are all now settled adults and need so much less stuff. Meanwhile, the little one needs new stuff every year.

      I see it as my one opportunity to influence the next generation. She always gets science books or the like. And . . . apparently she loves them. It’s working! Mwahahaha.

      I never really see it as an unequal situation though. Dad cooks me gourmet meals when I visit. Other auntie often comes to visit me and doesn’t complain that I can’t make it to her neighborhood as much. I get great advice from people who I trust. It’s a friendship. It all works out in the end. If it wasn’t a friendship, I wouldn’t bother.

  • Elizabeth October 14, 2015, 12:24 pm

    The ‘horrid’ label has been incorrectly applied to SIL.

    OP, stop keeping score. You don’t seem to understand the art of gift-giving and you are teaching your children the same bad lesson. Greed and entitlement send you to eHell.

  • acr October 14, 2015, 1:56 pm

    “Anonymous October 14, 2015 at 7:29 am

    Okay, we’ve established that the OP and her kids were rude, but what do yoy guys think of the mentality that single and childless people should always give gifts to their friends’ and relatives’ kids, while rarely (if ever) receiving anything in return?”

    I think it’s incredibly rude. My favorite aunt is childfree. When I was little, every Christmas we always helped my mom choose a gift for her. We liked doing this – it was an important Christmas tradition for us. Now that I am an adult, I still exchange gifts with this aunt. I think if a person without children is regularly gifting your child, you need to take the time to gift them back. Teaching your child to be a thoughtful and gracious gift giver is a good lifelong lesson for them as well.

    My sister married a man with 2 kids from his first marriage and after about 4 years of giving these boys birthday and Christmas gifts and receiving nothing in return, I stopped. If money is tight, some homemade cookies are lovely. Have the kids draw on a card or make some kind of simple home made craft. It’s not about monetary value, it’s about showing the other person that you appreciate and value you them.

  • Elisabeth October 14, 2015, 4:39 pm

    Could “he had more fun playing with the box” possibly mean “He is going through an artistic phase right now and made the box into a fun playhouse for his stuffed animals”, and not “He hated the toy so much that he would rather play in garbage”?

    • NicoleK October 15, 2015, 11:44 pm

      I think every parent I’ve met has laughed about their baby having more fun with the box. Or wrapping paper

  • don't blink October 15, 2015, 10:21 pm

    This can’t be real. This has to be a troll. Please – tell me this is a troll!!

  • Angel October 18, 2015, 1:15 pm

    My brother has 3 kids and I only have 2. It would never have even occurred to me to keep score on the presents. Wow, thank you OP for pointing out that we must go tit for tat in every situation. I must inform my other brother, who only has the 1 small child and has been purchasing gifts for 3 nieces and 2 nephews all these years. That will be an awesome way to stir up some crap lol.

    In case you can’t tell, that is sarcasm. The OP is looney tunes lol.