Baby Shower condundrum...

snidelywhiplashJanuary 1, 2009

My brother and his lovely wife are expecting their first child, a baby girl, in mid-February. We're all naturally very excited about this.

I'm pretty clueless about baby showers, and would like to remain so. But...I would assume my SIL's sister or mom or a friend of hers would typically be the ones to plan and host such an event. However, they're a bit busy, as the sister is getting married within a week of the baby's due date.

So, my mom took up the task and was going to throw SIL a shower yet this month, trying to get it in before the baby is born.

In what I gather is a somewhat unusual move, the plan was to have the shower at my brother and SIL's house - my mom lives in a small apartment that wouldn't accommodate the guests, and SIL's mom is (as I said before) busy w/ the wedding planning for SIL's sister. Clear as mud, right?

Now comes a phone call from my mom tonight, saying SIL's mom spoke to my brother and the SIL, suggested that having the shower at their own home was "inappropriate," and apparently was less than supportive of the idea. It seems out of character for her to say such things, but who knows?

In response, brother and SIL called off the shower, saying it wasn't worth the stress. I think that's an overreaction and rather silly to do.

So, your opinions please:

1) Is it inappropriate for a baby shower to be held at an expectant couple's home, when no other homes are available that would easily accommodate said shower?

2) Is it the place of a grandmother who is NOT involved in the planning of said shower to express an opinion (esp. to the couple) about the appropriateness of the plans - in any way at all?

Thanks for your input.


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It is very in appropriate for a shower to be held at the mother to be's home....and it is VERY in appropriate for the grandparent to be to hosting said shower. That is seen as pandering for gifts...not a nice thing.
However, in view of the "stuff" going on in that family, it's certainly fine for a shower to be given after the birth of the little darlin'....and maybe someone a little further removed from the scene, like a good friend or cousin might host a shower....
Consider the rest of the family and present, wedding shower gifts, baby gifts and baby shower gifts....
Tell who ever's in charge to lay low for a few months.
Everyone who hatches a baby is not entitled to a party where gifts are bestowed.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2009 at 8:52PM
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In years past (many years past) it was inappropriate for family members to give showers. It was inappropriate for unmarried women to benefit from baby showers, it was "inappropriate" for lots of reasons to do lots of things. For heavens sake they are having a baby and there is no reason not to celebrate! It's going to happen with or without a shower -- so have a good time; who cares where the shower is held, just come together as friends and family and ditch that flaming "inappropriate rule". Enjoy yourselves and embrace that new baby.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2009 at 9:45PM
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I have been to baby showers where both the mother and MIL hosted separate showers at their homes for their friends and families some overlapped (meaning I went to both)/ some did not.

If your mother is hosting a party she can have it where she wants, when she wants, invite who she wants, and those invited can decide for themselves whether or not to come.

Perhaps SIL's mother feels left out? Did your mom discuss anything with her first? In any case the only thing inappropriate I can see is the mother who called someone outside her family to try and influence party plans.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2009 at 9:16AM
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It sounds from your post that the mother to be knew about the shower (because you said they called it off). I think, given that it was to be at her house and she knew about it (although she wasn't the planner of it), that that in itself is "odd". I won't go so far as to say inappropriate, although I think it's borderline.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2009 at 5:04PM
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If I was an expectant Mom, the last thing in the world I would want is to have a shower at my own house with all the attendant cleaning up, etc. Probably she has given showers and attended showers for years and now nobody can be found to give her a surprise shower at their house or at a little restaurant? Maybe some co-worker or a friend?
Here it is a month from the birth and nobody can be bothered
What is everybody so busy about in regards to the wedding--are they all busy sewing their own bridesmaid and mother of the bride dresses? Are they hand lettering all the invitations? If I was the new Mom to be--I would be annoyed, because it looks like nobody wants to do anything for her. Is there a reason for that?

    Bookmark   January 5, 2009 at 2:31AM
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I disagree with the word "appropriate". Not every family has a Miss Manner's Bibile of Appropriate, nor does every family have the requisite number of family members/friends/acquaintances to adhere to the aforementioned Bible.

So sad for the poor mom to be!

    Bookmark   January 5, 2009 at 1:12PM
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1. I don't think it would be inappropriate to have the shower at the expectant woman's home. But I would pitty her. Unless she is the type to entertain often, it would likely be more effort and bother than it would be worth. However, I can see why she would hesitate to tell her MIL, who is trying like the dickens to be helpful and supportive, that it would be not be wholy welcome.

2. I think you will find that mothers often guide their daughters in matters of ettiquete far longer than mothers of sons do. It is not suprising that it happened in this case.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2009 at 4:31PM
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Took me a couple of minutes to sort this out, but if I've got it right, there are two sisters. Sis#1 is due with first child in mid feb. Sis#2 is getting married within a week of the due date. Mom of both sisters is busy planning the wedding and is against the baby shower because it is at the house of the expectant mother.

It seems to me that the family is overwhelmed with two major lifecycle events happening almost simultaneously. In addition, there is the dilemma of inviting all their friends and relatives to these events, so to speak, both of which are gift-giving.

What's appropriate or not appropriate is sometimes in the eye of the beholder, notwithstanding the black & white Emily Post type of rules. Your mother wants to give the shower, I say, do it. In this situation, it would have been great if one of mom-to-be's friends had stepped up, but since that didn't happen, well, why not let grandma-to-be do it? Sure, some people will see that as inappropriate, but who cares?

But I agree that if I were the exepectant mom, I wouldn't want to have it in my house. My suggestion is to give the shower in a restaurant or other type of neutral location. At this point it will have to be put together very quickly in order to have it before the baby is born. So the alternative might be to have a shower AFTER the baby is born.

Everyone who hatches a baby is not entitled to a party where gifts are bestowed.
Yeah... she's not "entitled" but I'd feel sorry for her not having one, and it seems to me that a large part of the reason is that the other sister's wedding is getting in the way.

Everyone who receives an invitation can determine if they feel that Grandma-to-be as hostess is inappropriate... and attend or not attend accordingly. I can understand the possible discomfort of inviting the same people to two gift-giving events so close together, but life happens that way sometimes. Again, no one is forced to attend or give a gifts, so those who choose to decline will do so.

The only real question I have for the OP is -- why DIDN'T any of the mom-to-be's friends offer up a shower?

    Bookmark   January 6, 2009 at 12:29PM
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so if I am to understand this correctly, it is inappropriate for the grandmother-to-be to throw a shower for her DD(DS)? Ouch, I have been looking forward to the opportunity to have a shower for my daughter some day at my home!

    Bookmark   January 8, 2009 at 10:22PM
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Vanminatlog, you have several options. One would be to throw a party to celebrate the pregnancy and/or that you are to become a grandmother. This would probably be best done reasonably early in the pregnancy. Dress up the living room in as much pink and blue streamers as you can muster and have a ball. Just don't ask for gifts or call it a shower.

You could do a small family only shower. Folks would see it as family coming together to help provide, not so much as a gift grab. It could be a lot of fun to have both grandmas-to-be, aunts-to-be, and maybe even great-aunts-to-be to get together. But leave the guest list at that.

Your daughter or son's friends could host a shower that is held in your livingroom. This would likely be the least enjoyable as you would definitely be permitted to clean up, but all the fun jobs would be for the friends. However, if you had always imagined your daughter sitting in that particular chair in the window while opening shower gifts, it could work.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2009 at 6:53PM
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I've attended, as the best friend (and considered extended family) of the mother of the bride, a "family" wedding shower and thought that that event was in good taste and very appropriate; it was held at the grandmother of the bride's home. Recently, I attended a reception at the home of the mother-in-law of a friend. It was a lovely come and go reception to meet and chat--no gifts were mentioned and the people attending instinctively knew that this was a social occasion only.

But I grew up when it was considered in very poor taste to invite people and host an event for the purposes of procuring gifts for your own daughter or daughter-in- law. Surely people have enough friends or removed aunts or cousins that care enough about the impending nuptials or baby to want to offer to host a shower.

If they don't, they are certainly within their rights to host a shower, invite people other than family, and have a good time, by all means.

Despite the fact that this practice has become more acceptable, it doesn't change the fact that people like me, and there are a lot of us, will perceive it as tacky and a gift grab.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 9:03AM
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Jason, you asked two questions, and my answers would be (1) it's preferable not to have the shower at their home, but it's not a big deal, and (2) while the mom-to-be's mother might have kept her opinion to herself, this is a mother talking to her own daughter, right? If the daughter WERE doing something that perhaps someone should point out to here isn't appropriate, maybe her mom would be doing her a favor to clue her in. But right or wrong, I think having a brother-in-law butt into THAT is DEFINITELY a mistake.

That's really the only thing I have to add to the comments others: I would advise you to say as little as possible to anyone involved. I think it is very nice that you are concerned about your brother and sister-in-law. But there are already enough people causing drama that they have said the whole thing isn't worth the stress. So even if you are right, just keep your thoughts to yourself. Don't throw the answers you get here, or anywhere else, into anyone's face to prove they are wrong. You will be doing your brother and his wife a big favor at a very busy time.

Congratulations on all the exciting things coming up in your extended family!

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 8:40PM
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Regarding a situation where no one but the mother of the bride or the future grandmother has offered to do a shower for a bride to be or an expectant mother, if you have given showers for friends in the past, you will find that when your son or daughter becomes engaged to be married or expecting a child, people will offer to give a shower for you. People return the favor. And if you have not been thoughtful enough in the past to host a shower for friends, likely they might not think of hosting one for your son or daughter.
25 years ago, when ultrasound wasn't automatic, people often gave baby showers after the baby was born. that allowed people to buy a darling ruffled dress or a little red wagon.
And, in some cultures, it is considered bad luck to buy gifts for a baby before that child is born.
Linda C

    Bookmark   January 11, 2009 at 10:26AM
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I think the Mom of the expectant Mother/Bride may be feeling overwhelmed & is a little over sensitive - but she is entitled to be with 2 events of this magnitude taking place one right after another. I think she is correct not wanting to have a shower for her pregnant daughter so close to the wedding of another daughter - the same group of people on "her" side would be invited to a wedding, a baby shower, and presumably, a bridal shower - she does not want to completely exhaust their finances in a period of about 6 weeks!

I think it is fun to have a shower after the baby is born - the guests get to see the baby & the gifts can be personalized.

And maybe the Mom to be would like to avoid being the center of attention while at her hugest - maybe this is a convenient way to avoid it. Some women have no interest in showers AT all. Give them a nice baby gift - the crib or a stroller - and don't push it.

Many of the traditional events of the past have gone by the wayside - maybe your sister in law would prefer no shower at all.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2009 at 2:15PM
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