thoughtful or caculated?

A Mom Is Overwhelmed With MIL’s “Gifts” Of Husband’s Old Toys

Is there a way out of this situation without hurting feelings?

Natalia Lebedinskaia/Moment/Getty Images

Mother-in-laws — can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em? Most women could tell a story or two about a moment when their mother-in-law crossed a boundary, made a passive-aggress remark, or just was flat-out rude.

One woman is wondering if her mother-in-law has good intentions or if there is something a bit more sinister at play when she insists on dropping off several of her husband’s old toys for their 8-month-old baby to play with.

In a now-viral post on the Reddit thread r/JUSTNOMIL, one woman explained that her MIL has been giving her all of her husband's old toys, and she doesn’t really want any of it. She’s wondering how to navigate the delicate situation.

“MIL is giving us my husband's childhood toys - big toy trucks, Legos, etc. for my 8 month old baby to play with,” she began.

She notes that she and her MIL do not get along, claiming that her MIL doesn’t respect her because she doesn’t cook or “always decorate for the holidays.”

“I got confronted for not putting up an Xmas tree one year, even though my husband wanted it up even less so than me,” she wrote.

The first issue with all the toys is that her baby is a little too young to play with them still. She wanted to be the one to buy her son’s first “big boy toys” not her MIL.

Second, she just doesn’t want to keep all this crap in her house.

“Also I don't really want all of my kids' toys being my husband's old toys, and I don't want too much clutter,” she explained.

On the bright side, she admits that watching her husband play with his old toys does have a certain sweetness to it, but not enough for her to want these toys out of her home.

Another issue lies in the fact that the toys aren’t exactly in the best shape, noting that they’re “all dusty and have been sitting in the basement of her house for decades.”

“...these toys are from the early 90s. Like... IDK what type of paint was used. Is there anything they used back then that is banned these days? How do I know if those toys are as safe? Have our standards been raised since then? I'm hoping so,” she wrote.

While some may think this is a grandma just trying to provide some toys for their grandson, this mom thinks there’s a bit more to it than that.

“I also feel like this is a territorial thing for MIL. She buys him a ton of clothes too which I appreciate from a saving [money] point of view but she is basically choosing his whole wardrobe which is annoying. And every time she comes over she has to point out she got us something he is wearing or playing with. So annoying,” she concluded.

Some Reddit users told the OP that this wasn’t really her problem at all. These toys are her husband’s and he should be the one to decided what to do with them and where they should go.

Another user offered a compromise of sorts.

“Compromise with your husband. Kids will only gain more toys as they get older so you'll be glad to make this decision now rather than later lol,” they wrote. “Any toys he feels strongly about keeping and sharing with the kid(s), store at your place. Anything else, give them back to grandma for the kid(s) to play with at her house. Win win.”

Another user sided with the MIL, saying that her act of “passing down” these toys was an act of kindness instead of a passive-aggressive move to gain control over her grandson.

“I think your overreacting here. There's absolutely nothing wrong with handing down toys from generation to generation. The only thing I think MIL got wrong here is that she didn't clean the toys before giving them to you but possibly she thought you'd want to do that yourself so you could be sure the cleanliness met your standard,” they wrote.

Another said, “Your post makes my heart hurt. My boys were born in 92 and 95. I carefully saved many of their toys for when they have children. My boys argue over who will get the extensive Brio collection and train table because they both loved them so much and cannot wait to see their children enjoy them, too. These are not random items she got on Amazon. These are from the father of your child.”

It sounds like this mom’s past with her MIL may have a lot to do with her annoyance and suspicion behind this “kind gesture.” However, considering that the toys once belonged to her huabdn, this should be a note on her husband’s to-do list, or at least he should be asked and considered in the process of figuring out what to do with all the old toys.