The grandkids come first?

Ok…so I’m mainly posting this to get some feedback on whether I’m just a materialistic jealous bitch or what.

My family dynamic is basically this. My parents, my brothers and me. One brother is married with three kids, the other single with one kid. All the kids are under 5. I’m the only one without kids (or a significant other or anything close). Today I was out Christmas shopping with my parents. We had just sat down to lunch when my mom mentioned that Christmas was going to be slim this year because they were having money issues. No big deal, I completely understand. Then she mentions it might not even be anything for ‘the kids’, ie my brothers and I. I was like, oh, ok no problem. Money’s tight, I know it’s not about gifts. But then she says “Because the grandkids come first.” That kind of made me feel a little odd. I wasn’t sure if I was jealous, hurt or what.

It’s not like my parents only buy their grandkids one or two gifts. For the past few years they’ve spent hundreds on EACH kid. I think it’s just I feel they shouldn’t be spending that much on their grandkids since the kids’ own parents will be doing the same. It’s not like the kids won’t get anything if my parents don’t buy them something. If my parents don’t get me anything, I get shit for Christmas since I don’t have any other family or friends to give me anything. As I type this I realize it sounds REALLY materialistic and selfish but it really did upset me a bit. Am I just really selfish and messed up to be jealous of my own nephews and nieces?

Well, thing is, you’re all adults. You understand that money’s tight. Kids, especially kids under five, might not.

And they’re only that age for a very short time. I can totally understand why the kids should come first.

I completely understand that too. My thing is I KNOW they’ll be spending hundreds of hundreds of dollars on the grandkids while telling us that there’s not enough money for presents for us, instead of spending less on their own kids. I’m talking 5-6+ presents per grandkid.

You’ve had more chances to get presents than they have. Let them catch up.

Most people who celebrate Christmas would like to receive at least one gift, so you’re not alone. I don’t think it’s out of line to wish your parents would get you something small, while still making sure the holiday was special for the kids. It would be overboard to expect them not to buy things for the grandchildren at all, or to expect the lions share of the Christmas budget to be spent on gifts for you. How old are you Aunt Flow, and how long have you been out on your own? Just wondering if you’re in that stage where your place in the family as an adult is still being ironed out, so to speak.

Do you know for sure that your parents are spending that kind of money on the kids this year? Since money’s tight, they may have scaled things back. And I can understand wanting something for Christmas, but a gift is supposed to be voluntary. Maybe the thing to say would’ve been, “Why don’t all the adults agree not to buy anything for each other”. That way you can buy your own Christmas and not feel obligated to get everyone something. Give the kids a token gift, since they’ll get plenty, and buy yourself somethign nice.


I really do understand that the grandkids need the gifts more than I do. It’s just the fact that I’ve never gotten NOTHING from my parents. I’m 28 years old and I’ve been ‘on my own’ since I was about 22. The grandkids only started getting into the scene about 4 years ago too. I think a lot of it is I’ve moved up here from all my friends and I haven’t been able to find any new friends. Hearing that from my parents made me realize I have really noone else but family up here. Not that I don’t appreciate my family, but you need friends to.

I don’t know, either - I can see what you’re saying, that maybe spend $150 instead of $200 on each grandkid and be able to buy something for your own (adult) kids, too, isn’t a bad compromise. I don’t really buy the argument that small kids don’t understand grandparents having money troubles - small kids don’t seem to really get the whole “get lots of expensive presents” thing - it seems like if they get a teddy bear that they love, they’re happy.

People always say about gifts that it’s the thought that counts, and in this case, the thought that your parents seem to be giving you is that they don’t love you as much as they used to, because you have been replaced by grandkids. I know if my mom stopped wanting to buy me a gift, I would be hurt, too - she’s my mom. So yeah, I think you’re justified in feeling a little hurt, because it isn’t about the presents - it’s about the thought behind the (lack of) presents.

Can you maybe talk to your parents about this, that you’re feeling a little left out of the whole family happiness thing?

It doesn’t matter how old or mature you get. When the smaller and cuter kids get more attention, it sucks. Yeah, Christmas is for the children and all that stuff. But we all have a kid inside who wants cool stuff for Christmas.

I guess you should try to think of all the joy you will get seeing them open their gifts, toss them aside then proceed to spend hours playing in the boxes while you sit there with your cheese tray.

Are you a materialistic jealous bitch? No, I don’t think so. We ALL look forward to Christmas and all that comes with it, no matter what age. As religiously incorrect as it may be, most of us were raised to see Christmas as a time to give and receive gifts. And who doesn’t secretly despise spoiled grandkids?

I am the parent of three grown kids, none of which have married or produced offspring yet. But when that day comes that kid #1 has 5 tots and kid #3 has none, I will think of you, and try to spread the joy evenly between everyone.

Oh, I wanted to mention that my husband’s parents have gone like this for their grandkids, too. They have one small picture of my husband and I in their house, and practically wallpapered the place with pictures of their grandkids. If we come over to visit and the kids are there, we have virtually no conversations with them at all, because they’e too busy with the kids. It doesn’t bug him (or me) all that much, but it does bug him a little, I think, mostly because it’s so out of balance - it’s almost like he’s lost his parents.

Yes, the grandkids come first. Now, I’d agree with you that if Grandma and Grandpa are finding money to be a little tight this year that maybe they should still give everyone a token gift, rather than cut everyone but the grandkids off, and still give the Grandkids hundreds of dollars of presents–especially given that small children are fun to shop for.

But, it isn’t unusual for grandkids to come first, or for the parents of the grandkids to feel a little less loved, and for the singles to feel a lot less loved.

(I’m single, I’ve got two adorable nieces, and sometimes it makes me a bit bitter that I’m expected to buy at least one gift for each niece, my brother and his wife, while the four of them buy me one gift–maybe two. It’s not the number of gifts that matters. And I know it’s the thought that counts. But it still seems a little unfair that I give $120, and get $30. And my folks spend $x00 on me, $x00 on my brother, $x00 (or a significant portion thereof on sis-in-law) and $y00 on the adorable ones).

Don’t mind me. I’m bitter. Actually, I’m usually not. But right now, I’m cranky for other reasons, and feeling lonely and neglected.

I feel this way at times. My wife and I have no children. My sister has two. So, my father is more interested in visiting my sister than us. When he does speak with us, it’s usually about what the grandkids did, said, etc. There is one wedding photo of my wife and I on Dad’s mantlepiece; there are many, many photos of his grandchildren and their parents. :frowning:

I hear you, I’m in the same situation (I’m the unmarried, childless aunt) and my mother says things like that all the time. And I agree, your mom could buy a pair of mittens or bake cookies so there’s something under the tree, I’d be upset about an empty stocking too.

Little kids are more fun, what can you do. I don’t think your messed up, or if so then I must be too.

I’d forgotten about that - the way every conversation is now about the grandkids. Talking about nothing but the latest and greatest cute thing the nephews did is…not all that fun for us.

Eureka, the solution for that imbalance is family gifts. You get their whole family one gift (like a board game or something).

Aunt Flow, that sounds like a reasonable position to me.

hijack -It’s not only a singles issue. This used to annoy my mom back when I was little, and she and my dad had one kid, while her siblings and their spouses
all had two or three children per family. So our nuclear family was spending a lot more than we were taking in.

Kids under five might not understand that money’s tight? They’d likely believe it if you told them flying pink poodles crapped out silver dollars, since this gullibility usually ends shortly after full-time school begins, now’s the time to cut back on the mounds of under-appreciated giftage for the little ones.

They are only that young for a short time, but the length of time they’ll remember (and expect) the grandparents giving them multiple presents each holiday will be amazing. Of course, they won’t equate how the sheer volume of presents go down as the individual monetary value of the items they desire goes up, grandma’s going to have a great time keeping up with the traditions she’s creating.

So yup, it’s crap. Kids don’t stop being kids when grandkids appear, and whatever your financial issues are, you don’t play favorites.

I wouldn’t say ALL of us. And I’d rather you save your money than give me a token gift. But I may be unusual. In fact, I know I am - I dislike the gift giving aspect of Christmas - dislike the giving, dislike the receiving…except for kids.

Perhaps you mother has forgotten that the only gift you are expecting is from them (and don’t your siblings buy something for you?). And if your mother does spend hundreds on the grandkids - even with money being tight - it isn’t unreasonable to expect a gift. However, she may have cut back severely on the kids as well.

Note on the family gift idea, not a bad one, just not a choice I’m ready to make–especially since the adorable ones are still at the really cute stage(not yet schoolage). And it’s so much fun to pick out presents for them. And I’m not soo broke as to feel like counting how much I give vs. how much I get is entirely fair.

But, if I were to list my grievances about being single, unbalanced giving is on the list, below loneliness, and above always having to take out the trash.

Well, if she’s spending hundreds on the kids, and for several gifts, yeah, that’s a little over the top. And I can understand since the OP said this will pretty much be her only gift this year.

I don’t know what to tell you-I mean, I CAN understand that little kids usually come first, but that doesn’t mean it won’t suck.

Thanks for the feedback everyone. I don’t feel like such a childish bitch now :stuck_out_tongue:
While I know my parents do try and treat us all the same, I do feel that I’m lower on the totem pole of attention due to the fact that I have no children. I guess I just don’t understand what makes the grandkids so much more important than their own kids. My own grandmother never treated us like my parents treat their grandkids.

And my brothers and I haven’t exchanged gifts since I was about 20, so no, we never get each other gifts. But I always get their kids something because I am a part of their lives and it would be cruel for me to do nothing for them for Christmas. I don’t expect something from my brothers in return for giving their kids gifts, but it would be nice to get a card or something on occassion.

I’m not looking forward to Christmas Day when everyone will be unwrapping gifts but me :\