Need your advice- gift or insult?


#1

Hi, I have been a long time lurker in this forum and have really learned a lot from so many of you. I hope someone can enlighten me on this one.

I am a stay at home mom with 3 kids. I decided to leave my job a few years ago to home school and take care of my children. I enjoy life a lot better now in spite of the fact that we only have one income coming in to our family. We probably all know that having one income means tighter budgeting but our family have been doing fine and we are very thankful for all our blessings. In fact, I am sometimes even able to make extra meals for elderly shut-in in my community.

Now, here's the dilemma. My grandmother [who lives out of state] has such a huge problem with me not working. One time, she almost got me into a fight with my aunt because she said that my aunt was mad at me because I do not have a job. I found out, it was all her, saying that. I pretended it never happened and just forgave her. This morning, she called me to say that she sent some money so I can get my kids something to eat. I feel so insulted and angry that she thinks my husband is not able to provide for us.

My husband and I have our plans for the future. In our 10 years of marriage, we had already been through tough times but our present situation is not a problem at all. We never complained to anybody about our life. So, I do not know where my grandma is getting all her ideas.

Am I wrong to not accept that money? I would like to write her a letter saying that I accept it and that she can just use it to help other relatives. What do you think?

Thanks in advance! God bless.


#2

Write her a thank you note. No need to tell her what you plan to do w/ the money.


#3

It is pretty insulting of her to give you money and tell you that without it, your children can't eat. I would write her a letter thanking her for the gift but telling her firmly that you do not appreciate her continuous put-downs about your staying home to care for your family. Tell her that your family is doing well, that you are capable of caring for your children, and that it is not up to her to decide what's best for your family.


#4

I might also add something in the note to say you appreciate her thinking of you but there's no need for her to worry about you. Sometimes people really are trying to be caring but it comes across wrong.


#5

Sounds like maybe Grandma is a little jealous that you aren’t working - maybe she worked because she needed to and maybe she’s a little militant about women being independent?

I am glad she is not in your location. People like this can be incredibly destructive to a marriage. But I think the best approach is to treat it with a sense of humor.

Take the money and put it into savings for the kids, or use it on a special treat for you and hubby. Use it however you wish. When she calls and asks you, tell her, “Oh, we decided to starve the kids this week so we could get a new saddlebag for the Harley, thanks a lot for the money!” or something like that. “Yeah, Gran, the price of beer went up so much you wouldn’t believe it! Your money came just in time, we were down to our last case!” You will hear a sharp intake of breath on the other end of the phone, DO NOT LAUGH! Wait for her to hang up the phone. Now, you won’t get any more money from Grandma, it’s true, but she shouldn’t bother you either. Unless she decides to call CPS, in which case, you can call adult protective services and report that she’s unable to care for herself.

If you are counting on any kind of inheritance from her, then don’t do any of the above. Just write a nice thank-you note saying it was kind of her to think of you and Merry Christmas/Happy New Year, etc. Say NOTHING about your money situation and NOTHING about what you will do with the money. Let her wonder.


#6

Just curious but is the money what is really bothering you or is it just the last straw for her being on your case.

I think it would be more productive to figure out what is hurting you so much.

I totally agree it is none of her business and she should just but out. However, if you are old enough to have 3 kids and she is your grandmother, according to my math, she is way too old to change and your best bet is to learn to let it go. (easier said than done I know). I would just genuinely thank God she lives out of state

CM


#7

My guess is that just writing how upset this made you went a long way toward helping you put the incident behind you.

Your life sounds like one many others would like to have, home schooling your children, teaching them your personal values, giving each of them the attention they need, working hard and having fun. It would be nice if your grandmother could understand and appreciate the effort you and your husband are making. But if she can't, that's her problem. Cash the check or don't as your intuition guides you, but don't lose your dignity by sending a nasty note.


#8

I haven't picked up the money and will just tell her to refund it. Thank you all for your responses. I really appreciate it. I will write the note tomorrow when I will be calmer.

To THEREALJULIANE:

Grandma is a widow (twice) while most of her 6 kids were fairly young. She really worked hard (since teenage years). Fortunately (or unfortunately? :)), there is no inheritance! I guess, that makes my situation less complicated? :) BTW, I LOVE your sense of humor!!!

To CMSCMS:

I am almost 40!

Among other things she did before, assuming that my husband cannot take care of his family is just foul. It is a problem for her that our family is a little bit different (eg, homeschooling , mom stays home, 3 kids, etc)

Sometime in the past when I could not take it anymore, I just kept my distance (about 1600 miles away). I recently reconnected with her a couple of years ago. But distance does not seem to be a barrier anymore! :)

God bless!


#9

Hi Qwkslvr-

Sorry you're going through this. You've already gotten some great advice here (Juliane's response made me laugh!).

My strategy with difficult family members (who thankfully mostly live out of state!) is to be cordial (thank you cards, christmas cards) but keep my distance. They're enough of a headache at the occasional family wedding when they act like we're insane for not being "done" since we now have two children.

And hopefully, like PattiDay said below, writing this out helped a bit too! I've found doing that and getting advice here has really helped me in the past with difficult situations!


#10

Don't worry, this isn't about you - this is about grandma and her own issues and insecurity. The money was a dig at you. IF she really cared about "getting your kids some food," she would give you the money discreetly or anonymously and with a kind, encouraging words so that you would accept it happily and the given purpose of your kids eating would be ensured.
Pray for her, and if nothing else send her a book on Mother Teresa's work with the poor, maybe seeing it and reading about her work would open her heart to a different understanding of poverty and charity, and say oh thank you, your generosity reminds me of Mother Teresa's generosity (but make it sincere, not snarky) - then maybe she would understand the truth of a giving spirit


#11

Dear Grandma,

Thank you so much for the generous gift to feed our children. Since our family is doing just fine and the children already eating well, we have made a donation in your name to the local food bank.

Happy New Year!

Love,
qwkslvr


#12

[quote="baltobetsy, post:11, topic:224095"]
Dear Grandma,

Thank you so much for the generous gift to feed our children. Since our family is doing just fine and the children already eating well, we have made a donation in your name to the local food bank.

Happy New Year!

Love,
qwkslvr

[/quote]

:thumbsup: I was thinking similar.


#13

Some people say insensitive and stupid things, your grandmother sounds like one of them.
If she said told you that she sent the money to feed your children, then assume that she meant you should all enjoy a dinner at a nice restaurant.

Write her a thank you and tell her that how much you enjoyed her treating you and your family to a nice dinner at a great restaurant.

I hope this helps. God bless and Merry Christmas to you and your family!


#14

Your Grandma may not have proper boundaries, and may be a worrier...and it would appear she has some resentment because she may lose sleep over it and may require reassurance. Being far away all she has is imagination to propel her to think the worst.

You may need quietly and respectfully to assert boundaries, as though extra funds can be nice, the implications she offers with the money are not.

You and your husband have your own balance and choices, and your children are better for it.
You both have the right to the decisions and lifestyle that you find best for your family.


#15

[quote="qwkslvr, post:1, topic:224095"]

Now, here's the dilemma. My grandmother [who lives out of state] has such a huge problem with me not working.

[/quote]

It sounds to me like grandma's conscience is being pricked. Perhaps she chose to work when she should have stayed home.

Or something similar.

If you are able to look back through her life and understand why she reacts to you in her "special" way, it's much easier to forgive.


#16

[quote="qwkslvr, post:8, topic:224095"]
I haven't picked up the money and will just tell her to refund it. Thank you all for your responses. I really appreciate it. I will write the note tomorrow when I will be calmer.

To THEREALJULIANE:

Grandma is a widow (twice) while most of her 6 kids were fairly young. She really worked hard (since teenage years). Fortunately (or unfortunately? :)), there is no inheritance! I guess, that makes my situation less complicated? :) BTW, I LOVE your sense of humor!!!

To CMSCMS:

I am almost 40!

Among other things she did before, assuming that my husband cannot take care of his family is just foul. It is a problem for her that our family is a little bit different (eg, homeschooling , mom stays home, 3 kids, etc)

Sometime in the past when I could not take it anymore, I just kept my distance (about 1600 miles away). I recently reconnected with her a couple of years ago. But distance does not seem to be a barrier anymore! :)

God bless!

[/quote]

Maybe her take-away lesson from her life was "don't rely on a man to support you because they die???" I mean, she had SIX kids, you have three, it's not that she doesn't approve of having lots of kids...Or, maybe she regrets having so many kids and believes women should limit the number of kids they have? Well, at any rate, her comments and sentiments are just not helpful. I am so glad you are so far away from her!:thumbsup:

I'm not as magnanimous as some other forum members. I would use the money for my own purposes, not donate it. I figure Grandma wanted me to have it, regardless of what she said, so I would enjoy it, put it to good use, and move on. Pay no attention to her advice, dictates, underhanded tricks, etc. But it's your choice. Some people feel sullied by money given with that kind of motive. For me, it's just money and has no hold on me whatsoever. I would feel no obligation from that snotty little comment.

In fact, I would be very happy to spend that money frivolously! Or indulgently. :D A restaurant meal would be a great idea, or you book yourself a nice spa afternoon.


#17

[quote="qwkslvr, post:1, topic:224095"]
HiAm I wrong to not accept that money? I would like to write her a letter saying that I accept it and that she can just use it to help other relatives. What do you think?

Thanks in advance! God bless.

[/quote]

she is an old lady
she is not going to change
you can do nothing to control her speech and actions
you have full control over your own reactions
your choice
a) regard it as a gift, say thank you, instruct your kids to write a thank you letter, and use the cash on their behalf in any way you see fit, or ask your kids what they would like to get in the way of food--restaurant visit, fast food gift cards, or even donate to local food pantry

b) choose to feel insulted with all the resentment and bad feeling that entails, including all its harmful physical and emotional effects on you (it won't bother her one bit, you will be the only one harmed if you choose b)


#18

[quote="qwkslvr, post:1, topic:224095"]
...I am a stay at home mom with 3 kids. I decided to leave my job a few years ago to home school and take care of my children. I enjoy life a lot better now in spite of the fact that we only have one income coming in to our family. We probably all know that having one income means tighter budgeting but our family have been doing fine and we are very thankful for all our blessings. ...This morning, she called me to say that she sent some money so I can get my kids something to eat. I feel so insulted and angry that she thinks my husband is not able to provide for us.

My husband and I have our plans for the future. In our 10 years of marriage, we had already been through tough times but our present situation is not a problem at all. We never complained to anybody about our life. So, I do not know where my grandma is getting all her ideas.

Am I wrong to not accept that money? I would like to write her a letter saying that I accept it and that she can just use it to help other relatives. What do you think?

Thanks in advance! God bless.

[/quote]

Be thankful for your blessings! I think you are wrong to presume her gift is meant as an insult. Take the money and say "thank you", then use the money to go out with your family to a nice dinner.


#19

[quote="puzzleannie, post:17, topic:224095"]
she is an old lady
she is not going to change
you can do nothing to control her speech and actions
you have full control over your own reactions
your choice
a) regard it as a gift, say thank you, instruct your kids to write a thank you letter, and use the cash on their behalf in any way you see fit, or ask your kids what they would like to get in the way of food--restaurant visit, fast food gift cards, or even donate to local food pantry

b) choose to feel insulted with all the resentment and bad feeling that entails, including all its harmful physical and emotional effects on you (it won't bother her one bit, you will be the only one harmed if you choose b)

[/quote]

I agree these are your only choices on how to handle this particular situation.

Everyone seems to be speculating about your grandmother's motivations, but I don't think that's fair to do. Somehow she has this notion about your financial situation - if YOU haven't shared those details with her then maybe someone else in your family has (mom? aunt?)... you may want to close all the extended loopholes.


#20

How about taking it, thanking her, and then tell her you are concerned about her salvation, given her age. Point out the problem with her viewpoint, from a Catholic viewpoint, and ask if she needs your assistance in finding a holy, orthodox priest to serve as a spiritual director for her.

Take heed to yourselves. If thy brother sin against thee, reprove him: and if he do penance, forgive him.


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