It is not uncommon for any man or woman to not always see eye-to-eye with their mother-in-law. It is a conflict that can go on for years. Someone lets a hostile comment slip out, an argument ensues, the two settle it over a drink, and everyone lives on. However, if the mother-in-law intends to make it more interesting by involving the grandchildren, that is where things can turn really sour, especially around the holidays or on a child's birthday.
There are more than enough stories to be found on Quora of parents whose mother-in-law gave their children a gift that sent them spiraling. These are some of the funniest, most embarrassing, and even distressing stories that fall under such a topic.
The Gift That Keeps On Stinking
“My ex-mother-in-law made it a point to buy my daughter heavily-scented perfumes knowing full well I was allergic to them. Despite providing lists of perfumes I was NOT allergic to that my daughter also loved AND requested, this practice continued up until my daughter went off on her grandmother for it. In public. It was a glorious humiliation.
It was one thing to consistently do things to try to harm me, but to be so intent on harming me that she did not even consider her own grandchild’s feelings about it was just beyond vile.
My ex-mother-in-law demanded that I make my daughter apologize for humiliating her. I rewarded my daughter, instead. Sorry (not sorry), but I won’t teach my children how to swallow abuse and not defend themselves.”
Grandma’s Dolls Were Total Nightmare Fuel
“My ex-mother-in-law never paid any attention to my kids, but, she did buy them something for their birthdays and for Christmas. It would mostly be things that had no thought put into them. She insisted on buying my younger daughter a doll for at least one of those occasions every year, even though I had repeatedly explained to her that she NEVER plays with dolls, nor even looks at them.
The last doll she bought her was this hideous looking thing that she found cute. It had a really strange mouth, which made its little face one of the ugliest dolls I ever saw. I told her this, but she insisted it was cute.
I ended up throwing it away after about a week. I seriously would have never offered another child a doll that ugly. To this day, I think she bought dolls because it was easy and ‘every’ girl plays with dolls.
Before anyone complains about how ungrateful I am, let me tell you this: the woman is a snake in the grass. A two-faced one.”
She Would Not Take No For An Answer
“My eldest was seven when my former mother-in-law called me up around September, asking if she could buy my son a Nintendo gaming console. I told her NO, in no uncertain terms. NO, he did not need one of those things around. But, he loved books so she could send him books.
Christmas arrived and so did a Nintendo gaming system. She called me on the phone and informed me that her grandson deserved to have one and she was not going to accept me saying no.
That was when I lost my son. The only way to pull him out of the game was to hide the controller. Then, his father would go buy another one. Then, I’d have to hide that one. When my ex moved out and I went through everything we owned, I found that I had half a dozen Nintendo controllers.
My son still hates me.”
Only The Best For Grandma’s Favorites
“Earlier this year, my mother-in-law brought gifts for her grandkids for some obscure holiday. She happily pulled out gifts for my 10-year-old niece and 7-year-old nephew (chocolates and toys). My 10-year-old daughter was given a small set of doll accessories.
For my 12-year-old son, my mother-in-law pulled out an empty, dirty, used Star Wars-themed popcorn box from the movie theater and a small Star Wars-themed box of Kleenex. To his credit, my son did his best to hide his disappointment. He thanked his grandmother, but it was a difficult ride home to be sure.
My mother-in-law isn’t that old, by the way. She’s not even yet 65 years old. I cannot even make an excuse for her. She does the same thing with my sister-in-law and my husband. She will shower my sister-in-law with expensive concert tickets and puppy grams, despite being on a very tight fixed income.
Meanwhile, she will give my husband a pair of mismatched socks covered in dog hair that are two sizes too small for his birthday (when she remembers).
We really have not done anything but support both of them when my sister-in-law’s marriage fell apart (thanks to her infidelity) and my father-in-law passed away more than five years ago, we saved my mother-in-law’s house, worked on her house and yard, cooked dinners, etc.
After six to nine months of this with no thanks from her, we realized she expected it from us while going out to ‘play’ and have fun with my sister-in-law. We slowly scaled back our efforts.
When it comes to her grandkids, she feels she needs to spoil my niece and nephew.
That’s what grandmas do, but I’ve never seen someone do it in such an unbalanced fashion. My kids noticed a few years ago. There would usually be a lot of tears on the way home from her house.
One time, my daughter gently asked her why she would give her other grandkids unlimited candy and toys, including more than five American Girl dolls, while not doing it for her and her brother.
She replied, ‘You have a daddy. They don’t.’
It’s a terrible reasoning to give a child, especially when my former brother-in-law has partial custody of his kids. We had a huge blow-up not long after that conversation, for a variety of reasons. The relationship between our family, my mother-in-law, and my sister-in-law has never really recovered.
I suppose we should be happy that she at least knew my son loves Star Wars. It was also a good way to begin teaching our kids that life isn’t fair, forgiveness isn’t easy, and sometimes people confuse material things with love.”
Silent Wrath Of The Stepmother
“My grandmother-in-law is a wonderful person. However, she once gave my step kids a gift I cannot forgive her for.
My three stepsons live with their father and I full-time and see their mother every other weekend. My grandmother-in-law printed out and framed pictures of their mother and father (my now husband) on their wedding day. Cutting the cake together. Hugging each other. Posing together. Dancing together. Framed. To display in MY house. For ME to see every time I tuck in my kids.
I do more for them than their mother ever has besides push them out of my body, so I do consider them ‘mine.’
It makes me so mad every time I have to see her ugly face hanging on MY husband, in MY home! If these horrible pictures were ever to disappear, you know they would have my head. I am to silently see them day in and day out and not say a word of complaint.”
She Could Not Seem To Get The Hint
“My mother-in-law, who is no longer involved for separate reasons, always went to auctions and found the most awful looking ‘toys’ to give my children for their birthdays and Christmas. These would include old, creepy dolls that a 1 and 2-year-old cannot play with.
My oldest had a Trolls themed birthday party and my mother-in-law happened to find this super old and creepy looking ‘troll’ doll. I had never seen a troll doll that looked like this thing and I’m not even sure it was a troll doll. She kept buying them jelly sandals that were known to have lead in them. We had told her the girls would not be wearing them. She continued to buy the same sandals.
We throw them out every time.”
She Just Wants Her Children’s World To Be Less ‘Virtual’
“Christmas has always been a huge deal for my mother-in-law. By that, I mean her focus has always been on the gifts. It is to the point at which the excess makes me uncomfortable. It is just not how I was raised, but it’s her deal so I let her be.
Last year, my husband and I announced we would be moving four hours away for a job opportunity. Four hours is a big deal for his family because they all live within 10 minutes of each other. His grandparents, his parents, aunts, uncles, sisters, everyone. Without asking either my husband or myself, she bought my 7 and 8-year-old an Xbox.
We don’t normally limit TV or electronics a ton, but this was totally different.
I felt they were way too young to play video games and the games she did buy them (Farming Simulator) were something they had previously used their existing toys (tractors, cows, barns) and imaginations to play.
The reason she bought it: ‘Oh, they won’t have any friends when they move. This will give them something to do.’
The Xbox only caused more fights between me and my kids and between them. I hate it.”
She Was Punished For Her Mother’s “Transgressions”
“I can remember gifts I received during my childhood that really bothered my mom. To explain the reasoning for my gifts, I need to explain something first.
My paternal grandmother does not like my mother much. My parents have been happily married for 29 years, yet my grandmother still is not very nice to her. We honestly don’t even know why. She dotes on my dad and my mom has never once been rude or even stood up for herself when grandma is disrespectful to her.
When I was young, I was often the one left out at Christmas from that side of the family, probably for this reason. My cousins would get hundreds of dollars worth of toys that they would sometimes complain about and, typically, I got nothing. The few times I did, though, they were usually IOU’s from my dad’s mom. These were sometimes paired with the type of lip gloss that costs less than a dollar. I remember that bugged my mom a lot.
What bothered her the most, though, was my 12th birthday when my dad’s mom gave me Dora the Explorer stamps. It was not so much the fact that the gifts were bad. I think it was more that they usually seemed like an afterthought. Mom felt like it was because they didn’t like her that they treated me like that.”