Several of Girl Terror's little friends have birthdays coming up. They're so cute, giving each other hugs and gifts! Of course, behind the scenes is not so pretty. I hate, really really hate, buying stuff for other kids. I'm not mean, it's not that I am so cheap, it's just the whole "competition" thing with the parents. Is my gift good enough? Did it cost the right amount? Did she spend more on my kid than I did on hers? I try to not think this way. I do. But the worry still niggles in. With my one friend, it really is an issue. Her issue. She mutters when her mother-in-law gives her practical gifts. She compares what her sister gives their mom to what she herself has chosen. I know she thinks I'm a terrible gift giver, because in many ways, I am. I won't give a child a gift I disagree with, like a toy gun. I try to give toys that I would buy for my own kids, like art stuff, a stamp set, books, or games. Often the things I've given are put away, and not played with because they require parental effort or supervision. I also don't spend as much on a gift as said friend, and I know she notices.
With my other friend, who is probably reading this right now, (Hi Wendy!) this is just not a problem. It goes back to the similar parenting styles. I bought a gift for her son that I think he will like, she will like, and I will want to buy another to give my own child. I didn't spend an obscene amount of money, and she won't notice or care. I actually enjoyed picking it out, and I'm hoping the store has another one for me to buy later! Her son will say thank-you, and Girl Terror will try and give him birthday hugs.
How do you handle the Mommy Gift Competition? How do you choose gifts for another child? What do you do if someone gives your child something you think is inappropriate?