Should family members be entitled to your baby hand-me-downs?

Photo: Getty
Photo: Getty Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

There are many things you can do with your kids' old baby items. Some parents donate, sell or give the items to friends - but one mum is taken aback by her brother-in-law and his wife who assume they are entitled to her old baby belongings.

Writing into The Slate's parenting column, the mum-of-two said her husband's brother and his wife were unsure about whether they would have children.

"I've been 100 percent honest with my sister-in-law about the realities of pregnancy, birth, postpartum period, and being a working mum," she explained. "She seemed really on the fence about it all, but I sensed my brother-in-law really wants to be a father.

"I initially sensed his disappointment when I didn't rave about motherhood and sort of "sell" his wife on the experience, but I would never do that to another woman."

However the couple recently fell pregnant.

"Now they have reached out asking for hand-me-downs knowing my son is a toddler," she explained. "I'll be honest, it makes me uncomfortable in that we've never explicitly told them we are done having kids (although my husband is and I accept that).

 "I also feel as though it should be up to me to do with items as I choose. I sense that they feel entitled to our things since we are family, but I'm feeling we had to research and buy these things ourselves when expecting.

"I'm just upset and feeling resentful and like I now want nothing to do with them in a time that should be joyful.

"I feel like they chose to get pregnant in a pandemic and now are upset that we don't want to gather often or shower them with all our kids' belongings.

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"Am I a Grinch for not wanting to give them everything they seem to think they deserve?"

The woman isn't ready to get rid of her baby's things.

Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The advice columnist Emily Gould thought there were bigger issues at play for the mum-of-two, suggesting the woman first needs to address whether she's truly "done" with having kids.

"If you aren't sure you're done having kids, but your husband is, that's a huge deal, and not something you can easily sweep under the rug of your psyche by 'accepting it'," she wrote.

"I don't think it's OK to let it colour your interaction with your brother and your sister-in-law, who truly hasn't gotten pregnant just to spite you.

"They haven't had kids, so they don't know how emotionally fraught sorting and packing newborn clothes, toys, and bedding can be for someone who associates those things with their own children.

"Try to find it in yourself to at least feign happiness for them, even if you can't quite actually feel it yet."