UGH! Guilt!

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by flutterby, Dec 14, 2009.

  1. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    I'm broke. easy child is 18 years old. I have a little extra money this Christmas, so I got difficult child a new laptop. She needs it. Hers is dying, she does use it all the time, and she is getting into multimedia type things - may very well be something she goes into as a career. Plus, I got her one that has plenty of room for growth, is a good brand, and should last her throughout high school. I got a lot of computer for the money. I put a lot of consideration and research into the purchase. I could have thrown down a little money for a cheap laptop, just to replace it in a year, Know what I mean??


    easy child knew that I wasn't buying much for anyone else. He was totally ok with that. In fact, he told me not to get him anything. Which, of course, I couldn't do.

    I want to get him something. I wish that I could do more - that's what I love about Christmas - and I feel incredibly horrible, guilty, pathetic, whatever, because I can't.


    His DF and I went shopping tonight for some Christmas stuff - wrapping paper, lights for outside since ours died (do you know that *no one* has any lights?), etc. And I asked her what easy child would like for Christmas.

    She told me a new controller for his PS3. Ok. It was marked down to $40; that was doable. And I said something along the lines of...this is all I can get because money is so tight.

    And she said, "But you got difficult child the laptop and easy child does so much for you and difficult child doesn't do anything."

    And I just stood there. I didn't know how to respond. I already feel bad that I can't do more. And he does do a lot for me.

    So, I bought him at $200 GPS for his car. It really is a perfect gift for him.

    But now I'm freaking out about money, feeling a bit resentful because, yes, he does a lot, but they've been living here rent free since June....but I don't feel like I can take the GPS back....because I want to be able to do this, because I feel guilty, because he does so much for me....I don't know.

    And now I'm worried about what to get DF for Christmas. Cause I certainly have zero money left for presents.

    I *love* Christmas. It is my absolute favorite time of the year. From the day after Thanksgiving, I'm just in heaven. I have actually cried when it was time to take the tree down.

    But, right now....I'm not enjoying it so much. :(

    I'm not the kind of person to get "guilted" into doing something. I don't know what the deal is with me, other than I already have my own internal guilt going on. But, I will say, as much as I care about easy child's DF, she does make me feel like I need to do X, Y, or Z. Ok...I know *she* can't *make* me feel anything that I don't allow...but you know what I mean. There's something in the dynamic that throws me off kilter.
  2. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I think DF makes you take your consceince (can't sp tonite) out and look at it. That's not usually very comfortable.

    In one way she is very right. difficult child can be a mega PITA to put it mildly while easy child does much for you. However, what her maturity level doesn't show her is that buying that laptop for difficult child is so much more than a simple expensive gift when you don't have the money. You're giving her encouragement to be the person she is one day destined to be. You're giving her a chance to be that person.

    easy child while he's a good kid and a huge help to you.......well, he is grown and it is solely up to him now. His success for failure at his life rests squarely on his shoulders. What you should have said to his very well meaning df is that you did similar things to encourage and give easy child the chance to succeed in his life. difficult child really going to appreciate the GPS? Is he still going to appreciate it when he knows it has put you into a major financial bind to give it to him? Odds are, he'll be happier with the controller for his game.

    Your children are at different stages in their lives and each need different things. DF is just too young and immature to even begin to understand this concept as she's never been a mother.

    I know it makes you feel bad you can't lavish those you love with gifts. I'm in the same boat. But these are hard times. That's just the way it is and part of being an adult is learning to accept things such as this. DF only sees thru a child's eyes that you bought something expensive for one kid and didn't for the other. Know what I mean??

    My advice, get easy child the gift he would really like to have and don't worry about money value. Take the GPS back and ease your financial worry so that you too can enjoy your favorite holiday. easy child is a grown child. You've already given him a valuable gift by letting him live there rent free. If he complains or DF brings it up again you might want to point out to him if he were paying rent you might have had more extra cash in which to enjoy gift giving.

    Tuck away the guilt.

  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    There are cheaper GPS systems that $200 also. I see them all the time listed for around $79 right now with the Xmas sales. They may not be the biggest and the best with all the bells and whistles but they work just fine.
  4. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Heather, sweetie DF guilted you into something you were not planning to do. I'd take the GPS back & find something cheaper or what he wanted.

    You haven't the time nor energy for this type of nonsense; as others have said easy child is an adult. AND these are hard times. These are times where I make homemade salsa or cookies.

    Times when a controller would be a fine gift. Heck, you could even take the laptop back & get something more affordable. You need a nest egg big time.

  5. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    I understand exactly where you are coming from....

    It's the holiday, so it's a good time to buy difficult child something she needs anyway...and may as well buy something that will last. Makes perfect sense...

    But then, there is DF, making you feel guilty about not rewarding easy child with gifts for all that he's done for you (and goodness knows he deserves it!). And easy child had only a modest request and he was so understanding about the tight finances--it just breaks your heart!


    Now, step back for a moment....

    What right does DF have to tell you how to spend your money in the first place? She KNOWS that money is tight. She could just have easily have offered to chip in or otherwise split the cost of a much more expensive gift if she was truly concerned about easy child having something just as nice as difficult child's laptop.

    I also vote for returning the expensive GPS system. Spend the money instead on a joint gift for them to share....maybe a gift card to a restaurant or something.

    Try not to beat yourself up....

    It will be OK.

  6. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Honestly, I agree with the others...don't let DF guilt you into this.

    You can A) give him the gps that's more in line with what his sister is getting, but not something he really wanted, B) buy a cheaper GPS, or B) get the controller that he wanted.

    My guess is that your easy child will appreciate the controller far more than the GPS, and particularly appreciate the fact that you didn't break the bank to get it for him. As Lisa pointed out, 14 and 18 are world's apart when it comes to maturity...I think he'll "get it".

    And when money allows, buy him a surpise gift to just say "thank you for all you do". Those usually mean more, anyway.

    And whatever you do, don't beat yourself up over it! Its not worth that at all.
  7. Mom2oddson

    Mom2oddson Active Member

    If your easy child is any thing like mine, he'll have more guilt because you over-spent on him than he'd have enjoyment over the GPS.

    I think DF just voiced the guilt you were already feeling and made it stand out more.

    Don't add stress on yourself. Get him the new controller that you know he wants. If you want to do something special for easy child, write him a letter telling him how much you appreciate him and/or if you have time make him something special.

    My easy child gets a B-day gift every other year (from lack of funds) even though difficult children always get B-day gifts. easy child understands and would rather have things IF we can afford it than to have something that would add stress to our already stressful lives. Instead of gifts that can be wrapped up in ribbons and bows...he gets my time, my love, my respect, my admiration. These are things that easy child holds dear in his heart, things he'd rather have.

    If you are feeling more guilty for spending money that you don't have than you did when you planned just a little gift... you have your own answer. Hope that helps.
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    This is another vote to take the gps back. $200 is WAY too much to spend on one. Janet is right - if you watch the sales you can find one for under $100. A good one. My husband got one five years ago because a friend's husband got it as a prize at a conference and he didn't want it. She knew husband would love it and insisted I give it to him. Otherwise, he still wouldn't have one.

    The computer is a tool that difficult child needs, and it IS permission and help to develop into the person she can be.

    The GPS is a toy. Can be useful but most of the time they just are not needed., in my opinion. easy child is an adult. He clearly can see things through more adult eyes than DF can. SHE is not yet an adult. There is NO way she should be guilting you into an expensive gift when she has not paid rent in 6 months.

    Christmas IS about giving. TO everyone - INCLUDING YOU. Part of the giving is understanding that the important gifts come from the HEART. Not from guilt heaped upon you by a not yet mature 18yo girlfriend of your son's. She hasn't been part of the family long enough to really KNOW your relationship with your son. It takes years to learn that.

    What are you going to do when an emergency crops up in January or Feb or March? You are partly going to resent that GPS.

    The best gifts are not measured in dollars, they are measured with love and thoughtfulness. Getting easy child a gadget he knows good and well you cannot afford is only going to make him feel guilty. That will taint any pleasure he gets. If you get him the controller and a small item that brings back a childhood memory, maybe a Christmas memory - THAT will mean a LOT more to both of you.

    Get a photo put onto a car mug. Walmart will do it for $10. Then fill it with his favorite candy from when he was a little boy. Put in a note about a memory of him eating the candy, smearing it all over, sharing a bite with you, whatever.

    THOSE are the things he will remember in 5 years. All he is going to remember about the GPS is that it was neat but you couldn't buy your medicine because you bought it.

    been there done that on his end. Take the GPS back. Explain to DF, gently, that you don't measure gifts by dollars, but by need and ability. Explain that maybe if she had paid rent you could have gotten teh GPS, but her rent is really part of his gift. Or just that you prefer to give gifts that are more meaningful rather than just expensive.