Author Topic: Mom want a Girls' Shopping Day  (Read 4988 times)

darkadams00

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Mom want a Girls' Shopping Day
« on: July 09, 2014, 10:04:35 PM »
It's been 3 years since my extended family had a weekend together--even holidays have always had at least one of the families missing. Everyone except my brother's West Coast family lives in the same East Coast state, so a summer visit by my brother's family should mean we all get together for a great weekend of low-stress/low-budget fun, conversation, games, and mass quantities of home-cooked food. Last week I suggested a trip to my parents' usually empty vacation home (20+ acres) in the mountains at minimal expense for anyone--less than ten gallons of gas for each family and everyone chips in for food, cooking, and cleaning. Great views and less than a half mile walk from the river. We've done this multiple times in the past and do the same occasionally at the beach in the fall (although each family splits the house expense at the beach). Today my mom tells my wife that she doesn't want to go to the mountains. She wants to stay at home and "spend at least one day shopping with all her girls," presumably an all-day, three-generation affair of bags and food in two large malls/shopping outlets about 30-45 minutes away.

My brother has almost six figures in non-mortgage-related debt, four school-age kids, and is already eating the cross-country travel expenses. My sister has four school-age kids, she's a home-schooling SAHM, and my BIL is in the second year of a new insurance business, i.e lower wages, higher number of hours. Dad is still working but saving nothing, and Mom is retired. My wife and I are by far in the best financial standing in the family. My wife has almost quit her past "shopping for sales" habit that constantly dripped $150-200/month out of the family accounts over 3-4 regular but always unplanned shopping trips. Now she doesn't shop unless she has a list--usually from the big list on our kitchen bulletin board. She said she really preferred the mountain trip and loathed the shopping idea for several reasons, but (1) she's a daughter-in-law, not a daughter so she doesn't like imposing on our family's plans and (2) she doesn't want to be the odd person out with my brother in town and willing to spend money he doesn't have. She knows the least mention of financial choices that go opposite the family plans will lead to criticism due to the fact everyone in the family knows I have a great job (they estimate my salary in their minds due to the company and title; I've never hinted or told).

Sometimes a nice stack of financial assets can feel like a stack of social liabilities when you're with family.





pipercat

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Re: Mom want a Girls' Shopping Day
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2014, 10:09:21 AM »
Honestly, I would just go along with the shopping thing.  Like you said, your mom doesn't often have "all her girls" together, and this sounds important to her.  All the "girls" are adults who can make their own decisions about how much to spend.  A few hours shopping, maybe a lunch out, won't kill anyone.

I do agree that the mountain thing sounds really cool too.  Is there a way to maybe have all the gang together somewhere else?  You know, after the shopping is done?  Is there a way to do both activities?  Maybe drive to the mountains after the shopping trip ends?  I'm not sure how much time you have.

kyanamerinas

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Re: Mom want a Girls' Shopping Day
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2014, 10:13:57 AM »
yeah, i'd roll with it. maybe your sister can hold off buying anything from the kitchen list for a bit and then make a note of a few bits before she goes. Win-win in that it helps increase her self-discipline and she gets to please her mother in law.
the mountains would be nice too and i personally would prefer to do that. families!

MidwestGal

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Re: Mom want a Girls' Shopping Day
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2014, 10:23:14 AM »
I agree with everybody else, let mom have her fun if it really is that important.  I absolutely despise shopping, but when home (across the country) with my own mom, I just go with it (within reason) to keep her happy.  It is a big deal to have the family together, and we budget some extra money just for random stuff like that to keep the family harmony.

odput

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Re: Mom want a Girls' Shopping Day
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2014, 10:38:00 AM »
A few hours shopping, maybe a lunch out, won't kill anyone.

Except that it is, and will continue to do so...OP spells out the family's poor financial situations/prospects...how do you think they got that way?

Obviously you can still go "shopping" and not buy anything, but there is nothing wrong with trying to not get into a situation where you feel uncomfortable (I'm sure the family pressure to buy some useless bullshit will be astronomical at this event).

kyanamerinas

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Re: Mom want a Girls' Shopping Day
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2014, 10:39:42 AM »
A few hours shopping, maybe a lunch out, won't kill anyone.

Except that it is, and will continue to do so...OP spells out the family's poor financial situations/prospects...how do you think they got that way?

Obviously you can still go "shopping" and not buy anything, but there is nothing wrong with trying to not get into a situation where you feel uncomfortable (I'm sure the family pressure to buy some useless bullshit will be astronomical at this event).

i see that, but realistically they quite likely wouldn't listen to her (especially as a daughter in law) and it would just make things awkward.

darkadams00

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Re: Mom want a Girls' Shopping Day
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2014, 12:11:41 PM »
There's a monster mall, an outlet shopping center, and Ikea in the same area. It would take longer to visit all of those shops than it would take to ride all of the rides in a theme park. Knowing that my brother/sister's families don't really have the money that they will spend is painful to watch but doesn't impact my bottom line, and I don't spend too much time thinking about that. We have the money to do whatever my wife wishes to do, so that's not a problem. We just hate to spend money on (1) items we don't need and (2) activities we care nothing about. It just feels like a family tax since this isn't even associated with the typical birthday/Christmas gift-giving circuit. We actually enjoy that.

The other, non-financial issue is that we prefer low-stress activity. Partying with 14 people in a house is busy but not stressful. Dealing with 9 girls/women in a public space for hours on end is high stress--the wife's opinion that I share as well.

I wonder if this is remotely similar to the way my parents felt when they watched us kids make gruesome mistakes in our teens--concerned, probably disappointed, but not excessively impacted by other family members' decisions in the long run.

 

rocklebock

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Re: Mom want a Girls' Shopping Day
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2014, 12:22:15 PM »
a summer visit by my brother's family should mean we all get together for a great weekend of low-stress/low-budget fun, conversation, games, and mass quantities of home-cooked food.

Ah, there's the "should". Sounds like your mom (and others in the family, for all we know) have different ideas about what family get-togethers "should" entail. I would leave other people's financial situations out of the equation entirely, since that's just another "should" that is out of your control.

I've been in a similar position as your wife, and honestly I don't have trouble saying, "Sorry, I'm not really a shopper, but I'd love to do ____ with you." And I also make sure that I do other things with them that might not be my preferred activity, but aren't the anxiety-inducing agony of a prolonged multi-generational shopping trip. There's been absolutely no fall-out for me, but YMMV.

I could be missing something, but I it sounds like your wife is the point person for making these plans, and she's relaying it all to you. Did you, personally, tell your family what your expectations were for the family gathering, or is it all on your wife to negotiate? If so, that's kind of a crummy position for her to be in.

Apples

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Re: Mom want a Girls' Shopping Day
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2014, 12:42:48 PM »
I just got married last month, and I feel like you're predicting my future.  My idea of family fun = bbq in backyard and card games.  Their idea = lots of going out to eat, watching movies, and comparing recent purchases.  And my family has a decent net worth, while my fiance's parents took out a 401(k) loan for a few thousand in unexpected costs.  Darkadams, that's a great idea of a sentence to use:  I'm not really a shopper...and I'd love to do x with you.  I think I will stick this in my back pocket for our next visit with his family, b/c it's a good way to say I'm not a _____ but I'll come along/do xyz with you later/aka not be as uncomfortable.  That also sets up the expectation that you're not as into the idea as they are but are happy to be there, and can ease tension when you're not suggesting the next store to visit or looking a bit tired while the others are raring to go.  Many hours in a shopping mall gives me a headache alone, let alone negotiating relationships with in-laws in public.  I would need wine by the end of that day. 

galaxie

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Re: Mom want a Girls' Shopping Day
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2014, 01:18:34 PM »
My mom likes girls' shopping days.  I do too, actually, even though I don't buy a lot of stuff.  Here's how it works:
  • Go to the mall.
  • Say "I'm not really looking for anything right now, but I can help you look."
  • Have lots of fun talking about fashion and your opinions.

Or maybe you do want to buy something, in which case you describe what it is, and then you can have a nice conversation about how it will go with your current wardrobe, or how you loved the old one and need to replace it, or how you just don't understand the trend of [whatever]. 

It's not my business what my mom and SILs can or can't afford - if they want to go shopping, I assume they have thought it through and know how much money they want to spend.  I try to contribute to a constructive atmosphere by being willing to not buy stuff if I don't find the right thing.

LalsConstant

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Re: Mom want a Girls' Shopping Day
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2014, 01:37:17 PM »
For whatever this is worth, my mom does this too, but she/they only buy things they were going to buy anyway.

I use it as a personal shopping service.  I really needed some ties recently.  I gave them fifty bucks and they came back with eight, yes Eight, fashionable ties that all go with my wardrobe .

They get to have fun.  I get something I need at a reasonable price and it's worth it to me to pay six bucks a tie because I hate shopping for the damn things.

pachnik

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Re: Mom want a Girls' Shopping Day
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2014, 01:44:46 PM »
I never knew how good I had it. 

A brief backstory, my parents are frugal immigrants.  My mom likes to window shop and she means window shop - without going into a store.  I dislike shopping.  I will go clothes shopping if I need to replace an article of clothing but that's about it.  Time with my extended family is spent at someone's home over a meal with everyone bringing something.  If it is summer, we have a backyard BBQ.  My mom would squash any spendy ideas pretty quickly - bless her heart! 

One bunch of in-laws is more conspicuously spendy but they are really great and I enjoy their company.  Good people but just more interested in fashion and interior décor than I am.   I just figure that I am adding diversity to their bunch by being the low-spending family member! 


 

Hunny156

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Re: Mom want a Girls' Shopping Day
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2014, 02:43:55 PM »
There's a monster mall, an outlet shopping center, and Ikea in the same area.

New Jersey?  I haven't been out there in a while, but I want to say Elizabeth, not Paramus.  Although Paramus is essentially a monster mall, the Ikea in Elizabeth is right next to an outlet shopping center, and if you really want to do hard core outlet shopping, Secaucus is very close by.

Yes, I used to spend all my free time shopping.  Now, my skin crawls if someone suggests a trip to the mall.  Times have changed... ;)