Post # 1
My Mom and I have a rough relationship. She’s spent a lot of the past couple years being really selfish, I don’t want to go into the details now but I wrote about it in a past post about Mother’s Day if anyone is interested. Shortly after the post I went through a period of little contact with her for my own sanity. After this period we had a good talk about how she needs to find healthier outputs for her stress and I cut her off financially. Over the past year or so I’ve been trying to learn to trust her again.
I mention this in order to clarify that I know I am hypersensitive to her behavior at this point. I’m looking for a reality check here. My Mom will be moving in with her partner in the near future, and as a result is purging her house of stuff she no longer needs. She told me that over the next few months she will be giving me some of my old stuff.
My “old stuff” has turned out to include every piece of childhood memorabilia she had. This includes all of my baby books, nursery stuff, gifts I gave to her as a child, etc. This has really hurt my feelings, it feels like she doesn’t care and she’s in such a rush to create a life in this new relationship that she’s getting rid of every trace of me in her life.
Is this normal for parents to do? I figured that I would be getting all of the stuff back, but the baby books and gifts to her caught me off gaurd. I feel kind of like those are more for the parents then the kids. I’m a little frustrated too because my Dad talks about how he wished he had gotten more of our childhood stuff in the divorce but didn’t think about it at the time.
Bees, please tell me if I’m overreacting! Is this normal for parents to do?
Post # 3
Please let me know if you can’t see the paragraphs either! I can’t tell if it’s the bug or my laziness. 🙂
Post # 4
I voted yes but I would be upset, mostly because I’m not sure how to answer. In a way I know we all grow up and move on in our lives and we end up taking a lot of our stuff with us. I guess I just don’ tknow where that line is drawn. I don’t think my mom would give me back things I gifted her, my hand made cards, things like that. But the baby book, my baby things etc… I mean.. I guess I’m on the fence. Eventually you will want that stuff and you WILL take it. Either way if you are hurt why don’t you ask her about it. Maybe to her you are at that age where you should take all the little things, there IS a point where you get your stuff and you’re like “oh i made this for my mom when I was a little girl”. Maybe in her mind the time is now. I would just tell her you were kind of put off by it and aren’t sure what to think?
Post # 5
I don’t see a a problem with her giving you your baby books and nursery stuff…my grandmother gave me all my childhood stuff when she finally moved out of the house we grew up in (she helped my dad raise us…mom wasn’t around). It’s stuff that you can keep and have as memories, too.
I understand you being upset about the gifts you gave her, though.
I have a friend who has just started living a minimalist lifestyle, and she recently blogged about holding onto things just b/c they have sentimental value, and how she evaluates things on whether to keep them around or not. If these are things that are just in storage in your mom’s house, that she never looks at, why should she keep them? Especially since she is combining households…I know it hurts, but I get it. My daughter is 2, and I was holding onto a lot of her infant stuff, until one day I realized that it was just taking up space, and I didn’t need the stuff to keep the memories.
Maybe you can now show your dad what she gives you and give him the option of keeping some of it…seeing as how he hasn’t seen it in quite a while, he will enjoy the trip down memory lane!
Post # 6
@MsJ2theZ: I think you’re right, I think I’m just younger then when I pictured I would be getting all of my childhood stuff back. I pictured this as something that would happen when I had kids of my own to show these things to, not when I’m 24 and still an undergrad.
My Mom has been pretty vocal about how she considers this stuff clutter, and that she would be giving stuff away or throwing it out if I didn’t take it so I think that’s part of it too. Thank you for your response!
Post # 7
My mom still uses this clay holder thing I made her in the 6th grade in her desk. She still puts a candle in and displays a tea pot candle holder I made her the same year. I’m 23. I would never expect them back until she passed. I hold on to all the things my children have made me.
Post # 8
@batwoman: I actually would consider this to be very hurtful and as a mother myself this is not something I would ever do. I am very sentimental when it comes to anything regarding my daughter. Her baby book, pictures, footprint in clay, any gifts she gave me, stuff like that. I will keep those things always. Toys and blankets….eh if she wants them for her future children she can have those. I would have no use for them and yes they would be considered “clutter”. Everything else though, is mine 🙂
I do not have a close relationship with my mother either, but even she clings to those memories pretty tightly.
Post # 9
I think it just depends on the individual person. My grandmother is big about ” regifting” sentimental things because she wants to keep them in the family, and in tact. She gave me three framed pictures that I painted her when I was very young as a Christmas present this year. Her reasoning? It’s for the nursery, and I am not even pregnant OR am I TTC… nor do I have a nursery! lol
I wouldn’t take it as slight against you, everyone feels differently about memorabilia and it doesn’t really have any bearing on how she truly feels about you as a daughter or the role she thinks you play in her life.
Post # 10
I think this could be easily explained by different people’s sentimental habits (or lack thereof) and by her not wanting to clutter her partner’s house to make her move in less imposing. I wouldn’t take it personally, since that would probably do additional damage to your relationship.
Post # 11
It is completely normal, except for the gifts you gave her, I would be upset about that. But the rest there is nothing wrong with. I already have a box under my bed of childhood stuff, and have since I was 16.
Post # 12
I agree to give it to your dad if he wants it.
I voted that its not normal but I don’t see the big deal because I’m a very “Anti Clutter” person and my mother often believes I am not sentimental at all. Its considered an abnormal attitude but really I don’t need an old plate, or book or stuffed animal to remind me of the person.
If you’re concerned about clutter but want her to remember more take a picture of the things she gives you and put it into an album and then she can have the memories without the clutter and maybe that can help bridge the gap instead of you saying that you’re upset tell her you understand her need to have a clean and clutterfree start but you wanted to do this for her to keep the memories.
Maybe that will help you both, maybe she just truly doesn’t know its that important to you?
Post # 13
Oh my god. I’m 27 and my mom still has all my baby books, photo albums, a BOX full of gifts/cards/artwork I made…
I can understand not wanting EVERY SINGLE CARD, but there has to be some stuff she wants to keep :- Sorry she’s doing this.
Post # 14
I can totally see why you’re hurt… but it is normal. My dad has been slowly giving my sister & I are stuff back (mom died a few years ago) because he’s eventually going to move to a smaller place now that we’re out of the house. If your mom is combining “stuff” with her new partner, she doesn’t have room for all of it.
Eventually, when she’s passed on, you’re going to end up with all that stuff anyway. May as well go through it now and decide what’s important to you… and give your dad some!
Post # 15
Thank you everyone for your responses and sympathy, it’s really helped me gain some perspective. I’m very sentimental about mementos, previously I had to restrict the size of my memory box because I would have ended up keeping everything. Now with all of this stuff I’ll have to find a bigger box I guess!
I am planning on combing through the big box of photos she gave me and making an album for my Dad, at least his Birthday is easy now! I know there are pictures in here he would love to have the originals of.
My Mom is very anti-stuff, so I can see how boxes of old photos and the like would just be clutter to her. She was just kind of tactless about it I think.
Post # 16
@batwoman: I can understand why you’re upset. I don’t think this is normal…. but maybe she IS keeping some stuff and you just don’t realize it? Otherwise I don’t know why she’d get rid of the photos/baby books. I guess at least she is giving them to you instead of trashing them…. but yes, I would find it hurtful too.