My Mother-in-Law keeps giving away our stuff!!

Kimberly - posted on 09/30/2010 ( 24 moms have responded )




I live in a small one-bedroom flat in London with my husband and 13 month old daughter. My in-laws live 15 minutes down the road in a 4 bedroom semi-detached (and it's just the two of them) So as our daughter has gotten older they have offered (reluctantly) to store all her old items (the baby swing she grew out of, her infant car seat, her massive buggy travel system, etc) at their house as we've barely got enough room here to move, let alone store all these items. About a month ago my sister-in-law announced that she was pregnant with her first baby and straight away my mother-in-law was offering her my daughter's things! All the major things we bought for our daughter (buggy, swings, etc) we bought in neutral colors with the intention of using them for future children, so we're not finished using them yet. My husband was talking to his mom the other day and she said, "I've told Clare (SIL) she should look at your buggy and see if she wants it" My husband replied, "We'd like to keep it for the next baby" To which she said, "But that won't be for a couple years..."

I really don't know how to handle this situation. My sister-in-law and her husband are in their early 30's while my husband and I are in our mid-20's and we paid for everything for our daughter. We bought her car seat for my in-laws car (we don't even have a car!) and we bought a travel cot for her to sleep in when we're over at their house. I just don't understand why my mother-in-law thinks it's okay to just offer these items to my sister-in-law without even asking us. My husband has talked to his sister and she's mentioned she wants to "look at our stuff and see what she can nick" I don't have anything I want to give away!

My husband and I have been arguing about this because he thinks we should let her borrow some of the things we're not using while I think they should just buy their own things like we bought all our own things. They live in Exeter (which is about 3 1/2 hours away from us), their baby is due at the end of March and we're planning on moving to the states in early I think if we lend her our things we wont get them back!

How should I handle this situation? Should I just let her borrow our things, or should I put my foot down and possibly cause some hurt feelings??


Kelina - posted on 09/30/2010




My don't you take a look and see if your carseat will even be able to be used in the states? if it can't, i see no problem with letting her have. Also if you're ok with letting her have the crib, why don't you see about transitioning your daughter to a toddler bed a few months before your move and let her know when you've done that she can have it. Suggest in the meantime that they have a bassinet or something in their room until they can have it. One more thing, if you lend anything to them will you get it back in the same condition? That might be something to discuss with your husband. Is she going to find out the sex of her baby? If she does, let her know that if it's a girl you'll send her some baby clothes and ask her to send them back when she's done. Kids outgrow stuff pretty fast, and i love the idea of asking her to ship the stuff to you when she's either done or you need it. Good luck!

Angy - posted on 09/30/2010




I cannot believe how many people said give it away...and that your husband's sister said she was going to "nick" it even after he talked to her. Your money paid for it not theirs. I do agree that you need to move the stuff. They could have been honest and asked you to move it. If you wanted to share it you would have offered. I can tell you from experience I have lent out stuff and it got stained and broken and it caused a lot of tension which ruins relationships too. If you want to keep it looking good don't give in because you cannot control how others treat the stuff in their own home.

Megan - posted on 09/30/2010




Maybe thats you MIL's not so subtle hint that she wants your stuff OUT OF HER HOUSE. My parents do that, if something is stored too long with them, they assume we don't want it and find it a new home. They also now just flat out state that they worked long and hard for their home and its just that, THEIR home. I would grab your stuff out of her house and find a new place to store it. Of course my sister and I passed several pieces of baby gear back and fourth between our kids so I don't precisely understand what the big deal is. Is a few items really worth the bad feelings they will create? Personally, the family is far more important to me than items and I wouldn't rock the boat.

Kimberly - posted on 10/01/2010




Thank you Angy! I can't believe how many people think I'm making something of nothing as well, those people must have money trees in their back gardens! I have absolutely no problem sharing baby items with family members who live near me, but at the moment she's a nearly 4 hour drive from us and by summer next year she'll be 5,000 miles from it's not as if swapping back and forth would be an easy option. If I lent her these things it's guaranteed I wont ever see them again and we just don't have the kind of money to go out and buy every single baby item again. I also think, that as my sister-in-law and her husband have a higher income than us that it's not as if she NEEDS to take our things.

I liked the thought some of you said about telling my mother-in-law she could buy us new things to replace the things we give my sister-in-law, except for the fact that she offered to buy our car seat when my daughter was born...and that never happened so my husband had to go out when my daughter was 3 days old and buy us one. Then she offered to buy a travel cot to keep at their house for my daughter to sleep in when we're there...and again, that never happened so my husband had to rush out when the baby was a week old because they expected us to spend time at their house and she had no where to sleep. So my in-laws have not bought any of the big items for us and I don't believe they will in future.

One of the other problems I have is that I've given away SO much of our unwanted stuff already. Obviously we've been planning this move to the states for awhile and I knew we wouldn't need our sterilizer there, so I gave that to pregnant co-worker, a friend of mine had a baby girl 5 months after me and I've been giving her ALL of my unwanted baby clothes, I was a nursery nurse before having my daughter and I've taken unwanted toys and bottles into my old nursery for them to use. My sister-in-law was 14 weeks pregnant before she told any of us, so she had plenty of time to have some of our unwanted things if she'd told us a little sooner as well.

I would also like to thank those of you that brought to my attention that it's not legal to use my car seat in the states! I had no idea. I've been to visit my family a few times and have used our car seat with no problems, my husband and I are now looking into whether it's possible to take our infant seat with us and if not we've decided to see if my sister-in-law would like to buy it off of us (I just can't part with it for free after spending £200 on it and only using it once a week for a year!)


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[deleted account]

Get a storage locker and store your things in it, it's not your mother in laws right to do any thing with your stuff. What if your sister in law breaks something is she going to replace it I think not.

Debbie - posted on 10/01/2010




Your husband should POLITIELY say to both of his parents exactly what you stated: we are planning on leaving for the states in early June and plan to use these things for our next child. Thank you for your thoughts though. You could show her this and suggest that both situations are exactly alike and how would she handle it if this was HER situation without intentionally hurting his sisters feelings. It was rude for them to assume to give away things that are now THEIRS to give away. Question: what is the state of his relationship with his sister and two what is their financial situation? Both are of interest in this type of situation and its' resolution. Good luck and welcome to the STATES!

Nikki - posted on 09/30/2010




I am so sorry you are going through this , thats absolutely ridiculous, I could understand if you werent plannning on having more kids, but you have asked to store this stuff there. We too store our things at my dads house ( because he has a huge house out of the city with LOTS AND LOTS of room where as right now we do not, but once we move in the next month from an apt to house we will have the space and take it back. We too saved it for our next child ( if we have a girl well then we will have to find a home for all my sons clothing or maybe save incase we have a third. But regardless this is YOUR stuff NOT HERS and you bought it which means its entirely up to you as to what happens to it, I would be mighty PO'd > The car seat has an expiry date so you might want to give her that, but if your moving then you should perhaps take everything now and put it into storage, your not being rude, you are planning on using this stuff again, its not like your undecided, you need it and she is just giving it away. You need to put your foot down and your husband should be supportive too!!

Also even if u did lend it to her and you got pregnant and then you take it back then she is going to have to replace all these things at once, that makes no sense, unless your MIL is willing to buy you everything again then she needs to stop making decisions regarding your things

[deleted account]

I think your MIL is wrong for offering ANYONE your things without at least asking you first. That being said, I also think that it may be better to just let it go. I am very sentimental about my son's things from when he was a baby too....but I also don't have any siblings that would ever need them. If I did, I'd probably let them go. Like someone else said, the things can be replaced, the family can't. And that way, when you DO have another baby, you can ask your MIL to help you buy all NEW stuff since you let her daughter have yours :)

Sneaky - posted on 09/30/2010




I would eliminate the problem by hiring a self-storage garage and if your husband will not help with moving your things then I would hire a removalist to take everything you have stored at your in-laws and put it in the self storage place. I would then send my in-laws a giant bunch of flowers or maybe a muffin basket or a cake (something big and gaudy that at least looks expensive) with a thank you note saying 'thanks for putting up with the inconvenience of storing our things for so long, love you!'. And if anyone asks why you can spin some inventive excuses about the shipping company needing better 24 hour access to all the things you are planning to ship or since it is going to take weeks/months to ship them by sea that they are going to start shipping some of your things now! In other words - LIE!

As for the things you cant take with you (I don't know about car seats because I am in Australia and you can NOT import car seats here) I would just list them on ebay. If your SIL wants them, let her have the opportunity to offer to buy them from you before you list them.

Seriously, if she is having her baby in late March and you are moving in early June, does that mean she is going to give anything back when their baby is two months old? If they do, they will just have to buy their own stuff then anyway. As another poster said, you could offer to lend them to her on the condition that THEY pay for the shipping once they are done (or when you need them) but I am sure that shipping costs would be way more expensive for them then buying their own gear!

I also understand not wanting someone elses child in your baby things. Especially if you are a bit OCD. Seriously, it is OK to share cots and rockers (things that get dribbled on and vomited and sometimes pooed on) between siblings as long as they are adequately cleaned, but another baby? Particularly when you do not know how good your SIL's cleaning standards are? NO WAY!

I would definitely try to resolve the issue without hurt feelings, but I would NOT let her 'borrow' anything because then YOU will be the one who ends up with hurt feelings and you will get a family rift anyway. Good luck with what you decide!

Meilan - posted on 09/30/2010




Oh my, that's such bad manners of your MIL to offer it and your SIL to not think twice about this. You are absolutely right if you don't want this! Get your stuff out of that house and in storage, or it'll disappear anyway.

These things cost a lot of money! We are not planning on having more kids, so when my SIL got pregnant we offered them everything. They wouldn't take anything unless they could pay for it, because they knew how expensive it all was.

Good luck!

Jocelyn - posted on 09/30/2010




If you hubby won't talk to his mother (and explain the situation), take your stuff back and rent a storage space (or ask a friend if you can stash it at their house--it'll only be for 8 months). She had no right to offer your baby stuff to your SIL, ESPECIALLY if you are moving across the ocean AND planning on having another baby. I would offer your SIL the car seat though. Safety standards vary and then you still get off looking good (vs a bitch lol) by being so generous :P
Hope it all works out!

[deleted account]

Get your stuff out of your in-laws house and pay to have it put in storage.

With that being said, my sis-in-law and I swap baby things back and forth and it's worked well. She's given me her kids' clothes and she's used my baby cradle. I plan to see if she'll let me use her swing with this next baby. But then again, we don't live an ocean away from each other.

Dana - posted on 09/30/2010




Is your SIL an unreasonable person? Can't your husband sit down and explain these things to her? Not to mention sentimental value, I want my next child to use the same things my son has used. Someone should understand that, you'd think.

Sherry - posted on 09/30/2010




I think your right they are your things and it should be your decision to borrow them or not. And what happens if you get pregnant and have another well she's still using stuff? Plus you want it in great shape for your other children. I agree with you I'd say I'm sorry we're moving and I want to take my stuff with me. Maybe if they lived closer

Kimberly - posted on 09/30/2010




Thanks for all your responses! I am American and my husband is British and he works for an American company who are transferring him to Houston next year, so they will be paying our moving costs. That is why we're planning on taking everything with us because we don't have to pay for it! Like one poster said, we didn't pay peanuts for these items, the buggy was £300, the swing was £100, the bouncer £100, all these things add up and every single purchase we made was made with the intention to last more than one child. I understand that sometimes things don't work out that way, but all of these items still look brand new (I have a little OCD when it comes to cleaning my things and I would even clean the wheels on the buggy every time I brought it inside)

I would actually offer my Sister-in-Law our crib, but as their baby is due in March and we're not leaving until June my daughter will still be using it. I'm not completely heartless and normally get on well with my sister-in-law. I just think we've worked hard for everything we've bought and made plans for these things and now I have to deal with fighting to keep them!

Amy - posted on 09/30/2010




Honestly if your husband isn't going to fight the battle I would just let it go because its not worth the family fight. Also I can't imagine the cost to ship all that stuff over, IMO it would probably cheaper to just replace it. Also something like the carseat is going to have to be replaced anyway because as someone else stated the safety regulations differ. I also want to say there is a 4 year difference between my kids we had to replace the carseat stroller travel system because my husband and mil lost their bases the new system is at least 15 lbs lighter and if I'd known that I would of replaced it long before my daughter was 3 months old. The swing I pulled out of the basement didn't work anymore, my sons crib turned into a full bed so we had to buy all new furniture anyway. Bottles had to be replaced because of the chemical bpa, and we had a girl so the clothes couldn't be used really. So you really end up replacing more then you want anyway!

Alison - posted on 09/30/2010




It sounds like you need to resolve this with your husband first and foremost. If you can come to an agreement with him, I would suggest you talk to your sil and explain that you are planning to have more children and there are some things that you don't feel comfortable sharing.

Louise - posted on 09/30/2010




I can see both sides to this argument. Your mother in law is trying to help her daughter by the loan of your stuff and you want to keep your stuff looking nice for your next baby. All I can say is your mother in law was wrong to do this but it would of been a nice gesture on your behalf if you had offord. You are leaving for the states are you really going to take these things with you as it would cost a lot of money to transport them out there. You will probably find that you SIL does not want your stuff if this is her first baby as we all like to buy new if we can afford it. This is not worth the arguement with your husband and his family, talk to your husband and ask him what he wants to do and then leave it, your mother in law can not unoffer them can she it is done. If you are that annoyed about it then say ok I was going to sell them and give them a price and say you can have first dibs! Then you could buy new or they wont want them.

[deleted account]

Maybe let her BORROW them with the complete understanding that when YOU need them again, SHE will pay the shipping to have them returned?

As far as GIVING these things away...they are expensive! I would say, "Gosh, that cost $100.00...I can't AFFORD to just give it away." If you use the word CANT...instead of sounds like the situation is out of your control. Can't is a great word.

Personally, I would say "I can't do that. We are planning our second baby." and then REMOVE my things from her house and store them elsewhere. I mean, in the states you can rent a small storage unit for about $30 a month. Is storage more expensive there?

People really need to keep in mind, when they ask for something...they need to understand that "No." is an option.

Dana - posted on 09/30/2010




I want to stress, DO NOT take this on yourself. The family will blame you and only you for it, not your husband if you choose to speak up.

Dana - posted on 09/30/2010




I think the only way to deal with it is for your husband to do so, if he won't then you'll have to let it go. It sucks but, it's not worth a big rift in the family.

Lori - posted on 09/30/2010




What a tough situation-your mil was wrong to offer your baby items without permission. While you are now caught up in the situation I would simply sit down with your in laws and explain your feelings and tell them you would be happy to sell them but that you arent willing to let them have them. Yes its family but you paid good money and have intentions to use them again for your next child-although the safety standards from the UK to the US might be different. Not to mention the cost of shipping all the items as well. They may be in a position where costs are adding up and having family contribute might offset the costs-you can sell your stuff at a reduced rate or sell it by consignment if you truly dont want your sil to have your stuff-explain that while you understand the need for the items you really need the money for your move later next yr. If the mil insists that her dd get the stuff then tell her she needs to buy it from you to compensate for your costs. You might cause hurt feelings but they didnt even consider you when they offered the items in the first place.

Cindy - posted on 09/30/2010




is it worth a fight? if you think you cant replace them then get them back and keep them in a storage unit somewhere besides your mom-in-laws house, otherwise let them go and get new when you have another baby... its just stuff that can be replaced but people and relationships are harder to restore than material stuff.

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