When this mom is conflicted she aks Reddit:
I (54F) am the mother of a daughter E(24F) and a son F(21M). I also am the stepmother of two women L(37F) and J(35F). When I met my husband(56M) 26 years ago, he was already divorced for 6 years from his Ex D(56F).
When we first decided to get married, I had a discussion with D and the girls, and we came to the conclusion that I would be treated as an aunt, as the girls did not want another parental figure.
When L and J got married, they wanted me to be a regular guest and not a part of their party. I was ok with that.
The same thing happened when they had kids, except the kids call me Grandma OP. BTW, this is not coming from D, her and I are great friends, as close as sisters.
So E found out she was pregnant a year ago, she was already engaged by then. I organized her baby/bridal shower, and my gift to her was: a handmade baby outfit, a framed cross stitched baby room sign with his initials, a handmade veil and a hand stitched handkerchief with her future initials.
A few days later, during a family dinner, L said that she felt kind of left out that E got handmade gifts, while all I got her was something off her register. I replied that what E got were traditional gifts from my side of the family, and that I didn't want to burden her and J with them.
Fast forward to my daughter's wedding day, and while doing my whole 'mother of the bride' speech, I brought out another gift/tradition: it's a leather bound journal, with her initials embossed in gold leaf.
It was started by my mother when I found out I was pregnant, with letters to my daughter every month, then I took over the day she was born by writing letters every birthday and milestone. Now it was up to her husband to keep ot safe and fill it. L and J again said that they felt I was giving her very thoughtful gifts, while I bought whatever from their registries.
And that I was treating my soon-to-be biological grandson better than their kids, even though their kids love me the same way they love D. I again said that this was a family tradition, and that I did not want to overstep.
Then this Thanksgiving, I thought since they were so bothered, I made the same journals for the rest of my grandkids. They cost a pretty penny, and it took me literal weeks to finish.
I thought L and J would be happy with them, but when I gave them to them they gave lukewarm thanks. D insisted to know what's wrong, and they said that they didn't want forced gifts.
I was so upset that, once I made sure the kids couldn't hear, I just went off on them. I said that they were the ones who didn't want to be part of my family traditions, I was just trying to be respectful, and when they wanted to, I did my best to include them.
Then I made them give me back the journals and said that I was never going to include them again, because I am tired of them jerking me around. They said they were disgusted with my behavior. Now that I cooled off I feel like a total AH.
NTA. They didn't want you to be involved and got pissed because you treated your daughter as your own.
I’m gonna say 100% NTA, but I think what’s going on here is that maybe they felt left out because they made the decision to not be involved very prematurely. I think they realized they made a mistake and got jealous that they don’t have the relationship that they wanted with OP.
I’m wondering, and OP you can answer this if you want, I’m wondering if there were ever any conversations about things as they changed; if there were ongoing conversations about what your relationships meant to one another.
Maybe at some point their feelings changed and they weren’t sure how to say anything because of the status quo, and these gifts remind them of how they don’t have the relationship they wanted? I’m guessing this is a possibility but also wouldn’t make sense considering how they’ve treated you during their weddings and special events.
Either way, they’re adults and can assert themselves and not play emotional tug of war with you.