in-laws and the gifts we give our ours baby vs what we give my step-kids
My in-laws are rather wealthy, and they shamelessly spoil my step-kids, always have. When I first married my husband, I was grossed out by the over-giving that nana gave my step-daughter in particular. SD10 was clearly Nana-in-law's favorite, her first great-grandchild, and my guess is part of that stems from the fact SD10 is the first child from the chosen branch of my husband's family tree; his (as opposed to his aunts' branches--and believe me we've gotten lots of grief over that from them). My husband always has been the in-laws' golden boy and now that I know him better, I can see he's pretty smug about it.
So the in-laws play favorites, and it's obnoxious, and clearly hurts others in the family, who take it out on us. My husband's first kid, a girl age 10 now, lives with us half time with her brother, who is 7. SD10 was so over-gifted that when I was a new step-mom, that I would panic every time I bought her anything, because it was likely to be out-done by an in-law gift.
After the wedding, I tried to decorate our new house, and the in-laws purchased and installed new bedroom furniture for SD without bothering to find out how I felt about it. The attitude seemed to be: "this kid needs US, not YOU to make up for the lack of a mom half the week." Every time I bought her a special outfit for an event like the Christmas symphony that we all attended, THEY would get her an outfit and demand she wear that. It took me a few years to wise up and stop trying. And that was pitifully painful for me, because I show love by providing for people. I enjoyed taking care of them as young kids but it seemed I would never be permitted to provide mom-like things to them because by doing so I made the in-laws compete more and more aggressively to out-provide for them.
Meanwhile, keep in mind, I also have a stepson. He's the brother of the prized ten-year-old, and he's clearly less important to the in-laws, though they also shower him with gifts and attention.
And I have my own daughter, age 14, who lives with us and for a few years the in-laws tried to make it look like they included her equally in their affections, but now they don't really bother. They offered to pay for "all music lessons" in our house, since they are big music fans. But when SD's piano teacher quit, saying, "this isn't a good match for SD-she lacks the discipline," the in-laws magically forgot that they cared about paying for music lessons for my bio-daughter, who is in a youth symphony orchestra and takes private viola lessons. If SD was doing something like that, they'd fly to all her concerts. Note, I don't EXPECT them to pay for my daughter, who is their step-great-granddaughter! But it's an example of how they flake out when it's not their precious golden child.
So, four years ago we had an "ours" baby, and he's the only child of ours, plus the youngest in a blended family of four kids. On my side he has few relatives, and nobody who showers him with gifts and attention. In fact, my father failed to acknowledge his grandson existed until he was three, and my mom is a distant grandmother. So he's got nobody gushing over him, besides us (and my Facebook following, where is kind of legendary--haha). To try to balance out the gifts at holidays and birthdays, we tend to (I tend to --my husband does NOTHING for any special occasion except show up) give him more gifts than we normally would if there weren't step kids who got absolute fuck-loads of presents at every occasion. My daughter, by the way, has more relatives who care on her dad's side (my ex husband's side), but I also tend to compensate with her so that it feels fair in our house.
Well, every time, EVERY TIME, that these in-laws observe my son getting gifts, they rag on me for giving him so much. Meanwhile they show up with a few things for him, a ton of things for my step-kids, and nothing for my daughter.
Is this just my family or is this a blended family thing??? I'm so sick of being judged EVERY Time I see them for his birthday, or a Christmas where the step kids are not here. If the step-kids are also receiving gifts, then they see that they also get a lot of cool stuff from us. In fact, the amount spent is usually pretty even, it just translates into more things for the youngest, and more expensive things for the older kids. But no one ever comments about how spoiled the step-kids are, and they ALWAYS end up opening gifts for an hour past everyone else.