This is a situation that’s occurring right now. My mother decided that she wants to throw a baby shower for me and asked me what I would like. I told her that I want something small and simple, since I have not had an easy pregnancy to date and do not want something complicated. I told her that I would love a tea party themed shower. Now, she then called my best friend up to ask for her input. My best friend also told her the above. I received a call from my mother, who had already booked a fairly upscale restaurant for an elaborate party. My mother spoke with my husband, telling him what she had planned to see if I would like it. DH explained to her that it was not a good idea, that a simple tea party would be best. She then decides to guilt trip both my husband and myself because she had already spent the money on this party, which I would rather she not do at all. She has decided to do what she wants, regardless of what we want. It has become a competition to her to upstage my SIL’s mother for what she had done for my SIL’s baby shower. Is there anyway to either get her to drop this elaborate party or drop hosting duty? Thanks for any input. 0201-12
Showers, whether they be for a wedding or a baby, are not supposed to be hosted by immediate family members. The reasoning for this is that it has the appearance of the family colluding to prevail upon others to provide the necessary items to either set up a house or equip a nursery they themselves are not willing to purchase. Generosity begins at home, as they say, and the family should be the primary resource for acquiring these things. Yes, I know there will be the usual dissenters who insist that a shower is to celebrate the birth of a baby but please, don’t go there. If you want to celebrate a birth in the family, call it anything else except a “shower”, which the very name carries a very implicit expectation that gifts are expected.
So, you’ve agreed to your mother hosting you a baby shower. Having stepped onto the slippery slope of etiquette by condoning her inappropriate hosting of a shower, you are on there for the whole ride down, I’m afraid. At this point, it would be very distasteful and rude to decline the shower on the grounds that the theme and location is not to your liking. Hostesses can solicit ideas and preferences from the guest of honor but they are not bound to follow them. Guests of honor must hope their friends and family will host something in keeping with their personal tastes but if that does not happen, the only alternative is to buck up, grit your teeth graciously and enjoy the shower.