I am not having a baby shower this time around. But that’s not because I’m concerned about etiquette. Okay, maybe partly. But not really. Mostly, I’m an anti-social nutter who hates going to parties during which small talk and a wide array of women’s opinions on all things motherhood will dominate conversation.
And believe it or not, I don’t like being the center of attention.
So, it is with great relief that I waddle through a showerless third trimester. But I am strange, I think that’s been well documented here. Let’s talk about you. Are you or did you have a shower for a second child?
This is a divisive topic. Which, to me, means that if you want to throw a second shower, tread lightly. Not everyone feels the same way you do. I know, I know, there are a bunch of you out there who will tell me that women LOVE showers and really dig doting on baby items. Guess what? I don’t. And I don’t think I’m alone. Single women or women without children often share this opinion and because many of them make up your shower guests lists, not taking this opinion into account is impolite.
You might tell me that if I don’t like showers then I shouldn’t come. But not coming would be rude, wouldn’t it? Admit it, if you invited me to your shower and I didn’t come (for no good reason), you’d think I was rude. And even if I don’t want to go, the appropriate response to a baby shower invitation would be to send along a gift with someone else, mail it or hand it to you later.
You might even tell me that someone’s fancy schmancy registry isn’t a list of gifts, just suggestions, and I can buy something inexpensive on my own. Well, that’s just a bunch of crap and we both know it. A registry is a list of gifts a mom wants/needs, period. To venture off the registry trail would be silly. I would feel stupid showing up to a shower with a gift not on the registry. A gift mom may or may not need or could very well already own. If she wants/needs it, she registered for it. That’s the point of registries, right? So it almost feels rude to purchase something not on the registry.
In my experience, showers, specifically wedding showers, have gotten way out of hand. You’ve got folks in their mid-thirties, getting married for the second time, registering for elaborate gifts. What gives, man? Weren’t showers created to help struggling young couples get a leg up on married life? Maybe acquire a basic set of household items that can be really expensive? Isn’t that the same idea behind baby showers?
But now you receive an invitation and are suddenly staring down the barrel of an expensive purchase you probably can’t afford. So buy something from the registry that’s inexpensive, you’re saying. Yeah, right. Have you experienced the big to-dos made out of gifts at a baby shower? The gift is unwrapped and hoisted high into the air for all to ooh and aah over. There is usually a photo op with mom and each gift, and then someone, the designated scribe, shouts WHAT WAS THAT GIFT? WHO GAVE THAT GIFT? so she can document the items for Thank You cards. Can’t really roll up with a bib and a pack of binkies in that scenario, can you?
Women get crazy over this topic. I’ve experienced women throwing showers for a number of reasons, including I had my first baby in winter and this one will be born in summer. I need all new stuff! WHAT? If you’re throwing a shower for that, you probably can’t afford the new kid.
Yeah, okay. I can feel a bunch of you waving indignant index fingers at computer monitors saying the birth of every baby is precious and that child deserves a celebration. Even though I can’t imagine your baby at twelve questioning why you didn’t throw him/her a shower, I’ll buy that. I just don’t want to buy anything else. And I don’t think I should be considered stingy or cheap because of it. Celebrate your baby. I will too. I’ll celebrate my ass off. But don’t go crazy at the registry. After all, second showers are generally about welcoming a new life, not getting gifts, right? Assemble a group of your closest friends and family where no registry is presented on an invitation. Or put “no gifts, please, your presence is present enough” right on the invitation. Classy move, that. So classy that it may earn you some gifts, anyway. But it’s not about gifts, right?
At the rate women give birth in Utah, if I went to every shower I’d be spending two weekends a month ooohing and aaahing and eating cake. I’d have to have a special Baby Shower account saved up just for gifts because, inevitably, some well-meaning (and slightly wealthier friend) asks if you want to go in on that $300 stroller and then you feel obligated. Plus the whole debate about how much you should contribute to the stroller fund haunts you like that day old slice of cheesecake still sitting in your fridge. Contributing a paltry amount makes you feel as lame as rolling up to the party with a bib and a pack of binkies.
What I’m saying is, I just don’t get the mentality of women listing off stuff they need as the reason for a second shower. Celebrating the birth of a baby is one thing, but requiring your circle of friends and family to outfit you each time you get knocked up is another. With the exception of having an accidental surprise baby or a baby years after the first or, say, all your stuff was destroyed in a fire, you should have most big ticket items. I just can’t personally get behind the idea of deciding to get pregnant and then requiring all my friends and family to purchase things. But they want to, they love you, you’re saying. Sure they do. But that doesn’t mean I need to impose. And it is. Requiring people to outfit you every time you get knocked up is an imposition that has nothing to do with celebrating a new life.
Here’s something I can get behind: Have you heard of a baby sprinkle instead of a shower? Moms-to-be always need things like diapers and wipes, undershirts, bath accessories, and feeding supplies. Often sprinkles are centered around a particular theme, like, Pampering Mom or Nursing Supplies or Diapering Baby. Another option is centering it around the theme of It’s A Boy or It’s A Girl if mom is having a new gender. In many cases, they’re thrown AFTER the little one is born so all the guests can oooh and aaah as they pass the new baby around.
Still, I’m thinking less is more, in this case.