Feeling a Little Surprised?

Updated on April 17, 2019
M.6. asks from Woodbridge, NJ
20 answers

We have 6 kids - all adults now. Our youngest daughter (middle child) is pregnant and due late summer. She has been married for a couple years and this is their first child. Coming from a large family, my kids have always known the value of a dollar and have been really hard workers. Sure, it pays to spend money for quality, no one can argue that. But I always felt like my kids were ones to not spend the extra bucks to keep up with the Jones' and such.

Anyways, my daughter just posted her registry. I was aghast at her choices. $50 sleepers (like for ONE sleeper), $30 pacifiers, $500 stroller, $300 baby quilt, etc. We aren't wealthy, her husband's family isn't wealthy, none of their friends are wealthy - my daughter and her husband sure aren't wealthy, either. I get that no one is going to buy this stuff, but I'm kind of sad/surprised that she would even expect to receive this kind of stuff from anyone she knows or is related to.

I understand the whole first time mom excitement, but I guess I'm still not going to use that as an excuse. She has a sister (our 2nd oldest) with a 5 yr old and a 6 month old and she has 3 younger siblings. She is well aware that most of this stuff gets used once or twice (or never in some cases).

I plan on not saying anything - when nothing gets purchased off the registry (or folks look for similar but cheaper versions of the items), she might realize what happened. I guess my question is, would YOU say something if it was your daughter.


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answers from Columbus on

Does she also have things on her registry that are at a lower price point? (Carters vs Gap?) Stuff that others can actually afford?

If she does, then let it go. Let her have her pipe dreams. And it's not unusual for people to chip in for a bigger gift.

If she doesn't, then gently suggest that she expand her list.


Does she also have things on her registry that are at a lower price point? (Carters vs Gap?) Stuff that others can actually afford?

If she does, then let it go. Let her have her pipe dreams. And it's not unusual for people to chip in for a bigger gift.

If she doesn't, then gently suggest that she expand her list.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Sometimes the people who walk around with parents-to-be can be slick talkers, and convince parents to register for the expensive stuff. Hopefully she'll get nice useful things (even if not the things on her list) and/or gift cards that she can decide how to use later.

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from Denver on

Well, first of all, congratulations on the new grandchild.

I wonder if maybe your daughter did not create her own registry from scratch, but perhaps went to a store or an online site that gives advice and makes suggestions? I think it's easy, especially the first time, to get a little carried away, a little influenced, by the clever marketing strategies and the registry "experts" who really know how to convince a new mom-to-be that she needs the $300 quilt because of the design, the quality, etc.

It's only when you're an experienced mom that it dawns on you that the designer quilt and the cheap blanket from Walmart both look pretty much the same when the baby poops on them or throws up or dribbles strained peas on them.

So give her a break, chalk it up to first-time registry tactics, and let her have the fun of the registry. It's kind of like knowing you have a week's vacation coming up. You look online at sites that offer private cabanas in Fiji and treehouses in Borneo, and you dream and talk to your spouse about how you both NEED that cruise to Antarctica, and then when it comes time to actually book the hotel, it's a Best Western a couple of towns away, and you go and have a wonderful time anyway.

I wouldn't say anything. Give her the gift that you can afford, that means something to you and to her, like books that she loved as a little child (either originals that you saved, or order new copies online) with a note about how you used to read that story to her and how she laughed every time you said "moooo" for the cow or whatever.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Nope wouldn't say a word. I would smile and nod and shop and shop at Target.

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answers from San Antonio on

Don't say anything. She is a first time new mom and maybe all the ads in the magazines at the OBs office finally got to her, or at the store or online she just went all out on a wish list. Let her dream.

I always use the list as a jumping off point for my friends that are first time new moms. I look and see that they need bath stuff per say and I maybe get one item they listed then fill in with stuff they will really need for bath time because they just don't know yet. Or pick out a tub that isn't the super fancy one on the registry with the sprayer that will break after two uses...but one that is the same color and style. I also include the gift receipt so they can return all my items and combine the money for the super fancy stroller or pack and play.

Just let her dream...hugs!!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

I guess I would say, honey, I'm really surprised you picked such expensive things for your registry. Then I would leave it at that. How your parents do things are not how you do things in life. I get tired of people saying stuff like that. If I were like my parents I would be a very different person. I am a hard worker and very practical with money. I grew up with a mom who spent everything she made on what I would consider frivolous choices. My mom likes to shop. She likes buying clothes. She spends money on house beautifying projects. Jewelry. I swear that woman has 4 closets filled with clothes yet she has zero retirement savings. I wouldn't even let my husband buy a normal wedding ring or engagement ring...to me that is a waste of money. We just have silver bands with a design. I tried to get most baby things used since I figured they will outgrow those clothes before you know it.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Don't worry. At least in my opinion, it does not reflect badly on your daughter. New mom. (And it sure as heck does not reflect on you...does she know how much you questioned yourself about even a Tieks purchase?! ;-) )

Also, you might be surprised in the end. People "spend" for many reasons. I recently attended the baby shower of a dear friend whose bridal shower I had to be absent from a few years ago, and it had been weighing on me that I had not really spent as much as I otherwise might have on her wedding gifts overall. (I think that is just my conscience being silly, but still.) So, I made it up with baby shower spending.

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answers from Kalamazoo on

If I did say something, not sure I would.......it would be something light hearted like, jeez oh peets, is this how much this baby stuff costs these days? wow. that's pretty steep, etc. I had know idea.
and leave it at that. No personally attacking her at all.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Military mom


SAY SOMETHING!!! My mom did - my husband and I had stars in our eyes when we had our first - no kidding - we had tried four years to get pregnant so when it finally happened? We went APE SH*T crazy.

My mom looked at my registry and, like you, was like - REALLY? She and my dad called me and said - LOOK - if you want this stuff? We will give you a check for MAYBE $150 but that's it. There's NOTHING special about a $400 stroller. You can get a great one for less.

I was all about used clothes and blankets - those could be washed - but I wanted new stroller, etc.

We went back out and looked around, did some research on what we thought we wanted and found that price didn't mean "quality" all the time.

TALK WITH YOUR DAUGHTER!! NOT TO HER but WITH her. Tell her that she really needs to take a step back and figure out her priorities. If she gets a shower? She might just get people to pool their money for the stroller and not get the things she needs. Walk her around Target and Burlington - there are cheaper choices so she can get the stuff she needs - not just what she wants.

Go to garage sales with her and get onesies - sure spend the BIG BUCKS on the "coming home from the hospital" outfit for the baby. But not $50 for ONE every day outfit. INSANE. The baby WILL poop and pee in it and on it and even vomit on it. So really?! No.

I hope she learns from us!!!

CONGRATULATIONS on the first grand child!! May her pregnancy be smooth and uneventful!! :)

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

She probably went trigger happy with the registry gun at the store or with the mouse online. You don’t need to say anything. Yes, it is unrealistic and can be tacky to ask for such expensive gifts. She will get it when she doesn’t get her wish list. Just buy her what you know she will need and use.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

You can't say anything to her - try not to laugh out loud.
It would be easy to see this as some sort of a joke.
But I know what you mean.
When registry items start looking like ransom demands it's time to ignore it.
It's nice to have a few new baby things but they don't have to be super expensive.
Perhaps she is hoping others will shell out the bucks to buy this stuff that she can't afford- is she likely to return some items for the cash?

It's kind of funny how these things sometimes turn out.
My younger sister was so hung up over getting my hand-me-downs when we were growing up she vowed her own kids would always have new.
When she eventually did have a daughter - she did most of her shopping at consignment stores.
I guess she grew up and got over it.

I kept 1 box of baby clothes from our son from his first few years.
They are neat, clean, unstained, classic - Hanna Andersson's stuff (they last forever and the cotton is so soft) - and if our son has a family someday then he and his wife will have a baby wardrobe all ready for them - the colors work for either gender.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Of course I wouldn't say anything. She's a grown woman and her personal choices are her business and no one else's, including her mother. Especially over something as insignificant as this.
Just smile inwardly at her clearly ambitious wish list and be happy about the new baby instead of harboring these negative, judgmental feelings.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

No I probably wouldn't say a thing. But I also wouldn't be shopping for anything on that list because a $30 pacifier is crazy pants.

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answers from Washington DC on

i'm surprised at you.

she's not wrecking her family budget to buy this stuff. she's not demanding that anyone else buy it for her.

she's excited about her new baby and posting a wish list of stuff she'd love to have. no one's got a gun to their head to buy it for her.

if i were you i'd try to stop being so judgey even in my head, let alone contemplate saying it out loud to her.


3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

You are not responsible for your daughter's decisions. They do not reflect on you. I do suggest that you now have a casual exchange about how you feel about her choices and why. Make the conversation about how both of you think about this. Do this before the shower. Talk about how you feel without passing judgement.

Your relationship with your daughter is important and communication is an essential part of that relationship. She is likely to feel your reticence about the registry.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

No, I wouldn't but I understand the temptation.

It's hard to realize, especially since you have special needs that require you to parent into the adult years, but your parenting for this pregnant daughter is done. Long done.

It might help to realize that coming from an upbringing of economizing, while it has taught your daughter some "survival skills" on less money, may have left her yearning for the luxury items. I also don't know if her husband and perhaps his family have weighed in on what would be charming and lovely. Perhaps they insisted, and she relented? Or is this a marriage in which the woman makes all the domestic decisions?

In time, perhaps she will realize that she doesn't really need these things. She may even realize that she has put off some of her friends and family members by choosing things that are way out of most people's reach. A lesson one learns on one's own is much more impactful than a point driven home yet again by Mom or Dad.

Let it go. When the reality of motherhood hits her, that it's not about sleepers that last 2 months and get spit-up on them, and it's really about sleepless nights and infant fevers and teething, the priorities will settle in on her. And you will be there, calm and judgment-free, to support her in how to make ends meet. Don't make it harder for her to come to you by showing her your displeasure now.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I have a family member who is the same (not quite to this extent).

They aren't wealthy either. I think she is a bit entitled though.

They just asked for money. They didn't do a registry and put the money towards the expensive stroller, etc. That seemed to go over much better.

If you were to say anything (if no one buys anything on the registry after time goes by) and she ASKS you or mentions it, the most I would say is that suggestion. If people can ask for money .... I never had a baby registry.

But no, I don't think you really can at this stage in the game.

It is odd, I agree. I didn't even know you could get $30 pacifiers. Are these like Burberry sleepers or something? Maybe she's caught up in show or something (like the Kardashians or something)....

ETA: Is someone helping her with this stuff? Now that I think back, I did ask for what I 'researched' at the time which was probably the good quality stuff, and my mom and sisters may have thought was a bit over the top. They didn't advise me though. My work gave me the very expensive stuff though - because they raised the funds, and needed to blow it on something. I just didn't have a clue. I was reading those Martha Stewart magazines at the time for preggo moms.

Maybe your daughter doesn't really get that this stuff isn't necessary? As chacha said, she may just get some of it. While I didn't have a registry, a gal I worked with was aware of what I'd been looking at ($$) - that jogged my memory ... so some people may pool together if they think she really has her heart set on it.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I haven't read some of the other responses, but I was laughing because I remember my shower to my first husband. When you are filling out those lists those are the only things on them...the expensive ones. Depends on where you go. Nowhere does it say go to Superduper dollar store and buy the same baby wipes there for a dollar that you will get for ten dollars at R.R. Smiths or whatever (no such place btw, just saying). I filled those out not really expecting anything. Anyway, I am sure your daughter did the same thing. Filled them out and then went home. Nothing that needs to be really addressed. You raised her right and she knows.

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answers from Indianapolis on

Congrats on your new grandchild. My family is made up of opinionated women my mom being the most opinionated and this never would have flown with me. My mother would let me know that I was wrong for adding expensive items to the registry and would inform me that not many people if any would buy anything. I believe in letting your adult children live their lives but I also believe that parents have the right to say what they think is right and wrong. All you can do is give her your opinion and she can take it or not. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Agree 100% with Girlie. I don't know how strong of a relationship you have, but my mom and I tell each other anything, like poor fashion choices. I think I would bring her back down to reality and tell her gently that while the items she chose are great choices and will come in handy, realistically, the price tags are outrageous and no one can afford that. I would then help her find cheaper choices and emphasize she might get more than one item that way, versus getting nothing from the fancy, overpriced options. Plus, a lot of the cheaper options may actually have better reviews, higher price doesn't always indicate higher quality. As a mom, who might be struggling financially with my new addition, I would certainly choose the practical, inexpensive options, rather than being left with no supplies and having to buy everything out of pocket because of my diva-ish demands. If she is unwilling to listen to your advice, then at that point I'd back off, let it go and mind my own business.

1 mom found this helpful
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