Grandmom Showers

by admin on January 9, 2014

My daughter is insisting on an elaborate baby shower (to rival her wedding which was held in May). I have refused to participate and she has insulted me personally and said that I don’t love her or the baby. My other daughter and I were planning a shower but it was not to her standards and she has refused it. I cannot believe that she is this openly materialistic. I have already pointed out that etiquette-wise she is vulgar but she doesn’t care.

Because of this situation I would like to have a grandma shower for my friends and family and put a limit on the amount to be spent on a gift and request that people give only practical gifts. 1226-13

A grandma shower for you?  I can’t imagine where your daughter got her materialistic tendencies.

For heaven’s sake Grandma, buy your own stuff to equip your home for future grandbaby visits.   I’m a grandmother three times over and I would be embarrassed beyond belief if someone hosted a “grandmom shower” for me as I am quite able to provide for myself.  And it would be unthinkable of me to host a shower that “showered” myself with baby care items, as if I needed help to get started.

{ 84 comments… read them below or add one }

NostalgicGal January 9, 2014 at 10:51 pm

IF this isn’t a troll…

IF there were medical things to consider for the new mom, she has a right to dictate what she can and can’t have and put up with if someone wants to toss a shower. This is about the only exception I can think of.

IF daughter doesn’t want the shower then it shouldn’t be held.

Grandmama doesn’t need a shower. Period. IF a few of her friends wanted to get together for coffee, dessert, and some ‘roast our friend’ in good taste and friendliness, that’s one thing. Looking for baby goodies and related gifts… TACK-KEE!

Showers are supposed to be put together by friends with the help and guidance of immediate family but NOT by the family. Period. The whole scenario smells of ‘who are you kidding-oinkoink’ and ‘is this a troll-ing?’

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Marozia January 10, 2014 at 1:52 am

A grandparent shower!! What’ll they think of next?!!
And OP has the nerve to call her daughter materialistic!!

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The Elf January 10, 2014 at 8:55 am

I agree, Rebecca. Showers hail from a time when the bridal couple and parents-to-be were very young and just getting started in life. (And that’s why only the first pregnancy resulted in a shower). That still happens, of course, but nowadays most engaged couples and pregnant women are older and more established. They can afford their own baby gear and might very well be picky about what gear to get.

It’s important to celebrate life, so I’m completely down with a party. If it were my nearest and dearest, I WANT to give a gift. But I feel such spontaneous gift giving is different than a shower, which is hosted expressly as a gift grab.

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Markko January 10, 2014 at 9:16 am

Perhaps it is a Troll, perhaps not; but Trolls have their uses. Three-fourths of the knowlege I have about proper social behavior is the result of reading submissions like this one: Very clear and obvious! Why, I never thought about showers, wedding preparations, even the word “gimmy-pig” before I stumbled upon this site years ago. As for Grandma, we all have our blind spots. She may be think this is perfectly proper somehow.

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Kimstu January 10, 2014 at 10:53 am

@Rebecca, @Lo, @Skaramouche, and @The Elf: Ha! I knew the dreadful modern trend of “shower inflation” would end up in many people just wanting to get rid of the practice altogether, and you folks are living proof!

Traditionally, a shower was a gathering of CLOSE friends and intimates giving SMALL gifts to help a dear one transition to a NEW life phase. It was a fun way to take a break from stressful preparations and expectations for the upcoming Big Event in order to relax with your near and dears, and enjoy the thoughtful and whimsical tokens of their affection.

Now that showers are just another Big Gift Grab with the “honorees” broadcasting invitations to everyone from distant cousins overseas to their employer’s vendors’ secretaries, and compiling mile-long registry lists of the abundant and lavish presents they expect to get, is it any wonder that so many people no longer see any charm in the occasion at all?

If everybody would just stop attending showers except ones where they feel genuinely close to the guest of honor, and would stop meekly forking out for pre-selected major gifts instead of small thoughtful ones at the showers they do attend, then this malignant social excrescence would naturally shrink back down to its proper, pleasant size.

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Chicalola January 10, 2014 at 12:18 pm

“A grandma shower for you? I can’t imagine where your daughter got her materialistic tendencies.”
Ha! I thought the exact same thing, and just started laughing when I read this. REALLY?!?!?!!?

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Carolyn January 10, 2014 at 12:42 pm

@ Kimstu. Indeed! Enough with the superfluous showers! It’s one thing if the honoree is young and/or without many resources but it’s starting to feel like one has to constantly shaken down for gifts if they want to participate in society. Birthday parties, engagement showers, wedding showers, housewarming parties, first, second and third baby showers…

Sadly, they’ve even crept into the workplace. I couldn’t count the amount of times I’ve been approached at the office to donate $5 for a mere acquaintance’s debatable ‘milestone’ occasion. This month a plate has been going around for something to get a gift for a woman’s maternity leave.

I may yet have to become a hermit in order to retire.

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The Elf January 10, 2014 at 3:21 pm

Kitsu, you had me at “malignant social excrescence”.

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Sarah Peart January 10, 2014 at 3:27 pm

Maybe we should have a thread on the “Community” in which we say we were invited but did not go to a shower – bridal, baby, coming out whatever – and the reason(s) why. The more we do it the more the rest will say that is my situation too – so I will grow a polite spine and not go! Possibly like this “Yesterday I was invited to my neighbour´s daughter´s baby shower. As she is 8 years younger than I am we were never friends as children. I was also not able to remember her name exactly – I thought it was Rose, turns out it is Lily. We did not attend each other´s weddings. I gave my mum a card to bring along with my best wishes.” Reading other people´s accounts makes the facts of the case clear to us! Of course to those of you to which a shower is part of your culture I do apologise if I am like a bull in a china shop and this is too much!

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Whodunit January 11, 2014 at 8:00 am

While I certainly, wholeheartedly believe that those of you don’t want to participate in showers should NOT feel forced to, I still, well, kind of like them ( I’m ducking all the “boos” coming my way) I mean , sure, the standard ” let’s sit in a circle, play stupid games, then spend an hour watching her open gifts” thing is boring, tired, overdone, etc. but the idea is nice. It’s gracious, heartwarming and tells people we care about them and this important thing in their life. It’s a social activity to see and meet new friends, giggle over baby names, and to feel a part of something bigger than yourself (new life) and spend time telling someone how blessed you are they are in your life. It’s support and community. Now off my soap box and would everyone please stop playing that disgusting game where you melt a candy bar into a diaper and pass it around?

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Barbarian January 11, 2014 at 10:02 am

I support Kimstu 100%. I have already limited my shower attendance and gifts. People just have to do this en masse to create social pressure to reverse this trend.

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schnickelfritz January 11, 2014 at 1:40 pm

Our family has “family showers” – I have over 30 first cousins (mostly female), and then their mother’s, the Aunties. The “other” Grandma, and sisters of the in-law, are also invited. We could never, ever expect a “friend” of the Bride or MTB, to host our clan. This is a family only shower. The Godmother of the honoree (male or female) – usually hosts the shower with a couple of the cousins. It boggles my mind when people expect a “friend” to host our family, because of etiquette. We would be truly ashamed. There are group gifts from some sisters, (cousins) and smaller gifts like bibs or receiving blankets, from the younger girls, or older Aunties or Grandma’s. This has gone on for several generations – but it is FAMILY only. It is really cozy, a lot of catching up with loved ones, and everyone is really happy to celebrate with the honoree, because we are very close.

The honoree’s friends may host a shower, or their colleagues may have a group gift or shower of some sort.

The worst showers, are those with so many people, it takes hours to open the gifts, half of the guests are strangers, and they don’t even serve the snack or lunch, until the bride, or MTB, opens all the gifts. Some, open them in slow motion. Kill me now! Then the games. Circle the word, diaper game, etc.

The only game we do lately, is the host puts a sticker under the chair, and at the end of the shower, the person with the sticker takes the centerpiece at her table home, usually a little potted flowering plant. Something on that line.

I have learned after many years of random showers, to only go when I am truly close. Baby showers are my favorite – the gifts are so cute, and it is nice to see the MTB before her delivery – all glowing and happy (hopefully).

And, I will not comply, if I get an invite that says “bring a book instead of a card” – are you kidding me? So tacky. I am going to give you, the little square card that comes with the wrapping paper or gift bag, or one from my stash of lovely note cards. Now you want a $10.00 book instead! I guess a coloring book from the dollar store could be $1.00, though!

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Skaramouche January 11, 2014 at 3:37 pm

@schnickelfritz

Your situation makes perfect sense. Since it’s family only, of course family hosts it. I don’t think there’s any etiquette breach there. I was expressing disdain for the showers hosted by the mother or sister of the bride with many friends invited, some close and some not so close, exactly what you mentioned later on in your post. That just seems really inappropriate.

@Whodunit

I hope no one flames you for liking showers!! When done tastefully, they can be really nice! I just hate what they have become. 7 or 8 years ago, in my early 20s, I used to LOVE assembling my own, inexpensive gifts. One year, I did a “year of candles” gift for a wedding shower. I bought candles with different beautiful scents, looked for meanings of said colours and scents and attached little notes to each candle. One for the couple’s first dinner together in their new place, one for making up after their first fight, etc, etc. Pop candles in gorgeous box that can be repurposed for something else, tie with lovely ribbon and voila! I know people have done this with wine and other items. This was for a close friend and she appreciated it but I wouldn’t dream of giving such a gift today. I know that the gift is not everyone’s cup of tea and you have to keep the personality of the recipient in mind but the honest truth is that most of us don’t NEED more stuff today. Wanting and needing are two different things. All the young ladies I know get married after they have established careers and are very capable of supporting themselves. All the more reason for gifts to be heartfelt, personal things rather than materialistic but we seem to be going in the other direction.

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Mrs. Lovett January 11, 2014 at 5:24 pm

@Skaramouche

I love your candle idea! That sounds absolutely lovely, and fun to both put together and receive. At least it would be for me. I’m getting married in October, and I’ve been struggling with the idea of a registry. I’m planning to register because I know many of my friends and family members will appreciate knowing that they’re getting something my fiance and I will use and enjoy. However, I really hope it won’t discourage anyone from putting together thoughtful, personal gifts like the one you mentioned. I’m saddened that you wouldn’t dream of giving a gift like that today, but I understand that there are some very ungracious gift recipients out there. But if it makes you feel any better, there are definitely still brides who would love to receive a gift that required some time and thought, myself included.

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Gilraen January 12, 2014 at 12:53 pm

@Politrix I was thinking along the same lines as you. Not that the daughter had over the top materialistic ideas but maybe other ideas to her mother which clash. Maybe asking for a contribution toward the baby furniture. Which in itself may not be the best etiquette wise, but in cash strapped times a better option than getting lots of stuff not needed.

What surprises me is the OP wanting a grandma shower and stuff for her when the child is born yet at this time she does not seem to be on speaking terms with aid daughter. I am finding the whole thing weird, as if she expects her daughter to still bring grandchild over for babysitting and visits despite the estrangement that she seems to refer to.
I don’t get that whole showers drama thing and really I don’t want to get it either

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L January 12, 2014 at 6:01 pm

I have to say, the more I read of this site, the more determined I am to never have a wedding or baby shower. I love the ideas that I’ve read in this comments thread (and another comments thread about grandmom showers that I found on EHell while looking up the phenomenon) to have a “tea” or similar non-shower party to celebrate life milestones. I’m happy to go to the showers of close friends and give whatever gifts seem appropriate, but submissions like this one have firmly convinced me that when I approach my own big life milestones, all I want to be showered with is the good wishes of my loved ones!

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Kimstu January 12, 2014 at 6:07 pm

@Skaramouche: “Since it’s family only, of course family hosts it. I don’t think there’s any etiquette breach there.”

Right on. A family-only shower is a lovely custom. What etiquette frowns on, as you note, is a close family member of the honoree hosting a shower for the honoree’s social circle IN GENERAL.

This is because a shower is fundamentally about giving gifts to the honoree. Requesting gifts for ONESELF is so supremely tacky that the tackiness extends to requesting gifts for one’s family members. The implied message “let’s get together to give presents to our friend” is charming, but the implied message “let’s get together so you all can give presents to my daughter/sister/granddaughter” is not—UNLESS all the guests are her family members too.

And I join @Mrs Lovett in thinking your box of candles sounds like a lovely shower present! I still cling to the practice of giving small individually-chosen gifts at showers, but you’re right that it’s kind of going against the current nowadays. I have to clench my teeth and stiffen my spine a bit when the guest of honor turns from unwrapping expensive microwaves or perambulators or crystal to open up my home-wrapped parcel of three hand-embroidered cotton dishtowels or whatever it is.

I know some other guests are bound to be secretly rolling their eyes at my “cheapness”, even if the guest of honor loves my gift. (And since I only attend showers where I really know and like the guest of honor, I can usually come up with an idea for a small and thoughtful present that she’ll love.) Kudos to you @Mrs Lovett for still appreciating the tradition of the low-key shower with non-extravagant individual gifts!

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kingsrings January 12, 2014 at 7:12 pm

What a strange-sounding submission. I also have to wonder if it’s a troll submission. The OP seems to be saying two completely different opinions on showers.

I rarely am invited to showers, but from what I’ve heard about them, I do also believe they’re getting out of control. What started out as a small, simple way held at someone’s house to honor a new bride or mother is now turning into big, elaborate affairs! Presents are getting bigger in quantity and quality and more expensive, not anymore the usual small, modest gifts being requested. Showers are now being held at halls and restaurants. And I’ve even seen presents meant for when the baby is a toddler and forth! No wonder showers give so many people headaches nowadays, they’re getting to be too much!

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Skaramouche January 13, 2014 at 8:49 am

@MrsLovett

Thank you :). Wishing you the very best for your upcoming wedding.

@Kimstu

Yes, yes and yes :(. It’s funny you mention cheapness. To me, “inexpensive” gifts like that aren’t actually inexpensive. How much time I spend on the gift is very telling about how I actually feel about the recipient. This used to be the case years ago, anyway. Popping out and buying a gift card is the easiest way to go but when I take the time to make something, the investment is so much more. But you’re exactly right, opened next to big ticket items and gift cards, it looks “cheap”. Lately, I’ve been caving to laziness and social pressure and just buying the gift card but maybe it’s time to go back to the old ways. Quite a few friends are having or have had babies recently and I was going to crochet baby hats but I have been rather apathetic about that lately. You ladies have inspired me. It’s time to locate that crochet hook!

@kingsrings

Yes, I didn’t wonder whether this was a troll also.

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Natalie January 13, 2014 at 10:16 am

I am not a fan of showers – the ones where the trend is to invite as many people as you can think of, play boring games and watch the bride or mom to be open hundreds of presents. My husband’s cousin is a perfect example. For both her bridal and baby showers, her family rented the church hall. There were so many people there (most of whom I did not know) that the BTB/MTB started opening gifts right away. Her mother would announce over the microphone whose gift she was opening, so that person/family could scramble to the front of the hall and watch. The opening of the gifts took hours. I know this woman, and she is sweet and kind, but I think she and her mother got a little carried away. I felt like the things I had bought (and in the case of the baby shower, made) were just glanced at and then tossed in the enormous pile of gifts.

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Cough January 13, 2014 at 10:44 am

@ kingsrings-

I personally see nothing wrong with hosting a shower for a friend in a hall of a restaurant. It there an etiquette rule against it? It seems like a very lovely gesture. Especially as I couldn’t well host a shower in my own home if I’m having more than four people! There’s not enough room! Too much work! At least at a hall or restaurant, they will do the catering and cleaning.

Also, what’s wrong with giving gifts meant for older babies at a baby shower? Babies all grow up and get bigger. Believe it or not, that size 12mo outfit will come in handy once the baby has long outgrown all those “Newborn” sized onesies. My mother always gets seasonally appropriate things for bigger babies, because she is practical and knows that everyone else will bombard the Mother-to-be with way too many newborn things, more than the Mother might actually need.

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Kimstu January 13, 2014 at 12:43 pm

@Cough: “I personally see nothing wrong with hosting a shower for a friend in a hall of a restaurant. It there an etiquette rule against it? It seems like a very lovely gesture. Especially as I couldn’t well host a shower in my own home if I’m having more than four people! There’s not enough room! Too much work! At least at a hall or restaurant, they will do the catering and cleaning.”

Depends what you mean by a “shower”. The traditional shower as a low-key gathering of intimates giving the honoree small thoughtful presents typically wouldn’t require renting out a restaurant or a hall.

The sort of lavishly catered extravaganza that modern “shower inflation” has produced, on the other hand, tends to go along with large guest lists, gift registries, and expectations of pricey presents, as though it were a major celebration in its own right. If somebody’s going to host that sort of shower, then sure, it makes perfect sense to hold it in a hall or restaurant.

It’s certainly not rude per se to have a party like that and call it a shower, but in general, etiquette is unenthusiastic about the practice of ramping up traditionally simple and modest celebratory parties into big “gift grab” events. Fancier showers with big guest lists and elaborate catering tend to make guests feel pressured to give more expensive presents while they have less fun (since more of the event is taken up with watching the honoree open a huge pile of pre-selected registry gifts mostly from people you don’t know, and making small talk with strangers).

I agree, though, that at a big shower it’s not inappropriate for some people to give presents more suitable to an older baby, rather than adding to the vast avalanche of items specifically for newborns.

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delislice January 13, 2014 at 1:18 pm

“A big shower with expensive gifts? Oh no, dear, that’s not how it’s done. Watch me.”

I’m surprised Momma didn’t insist on having a second wedding (like the Hobbits’ second breakfast) to show her daughter the *right* way to do it. Yep, that’s the ticket.

Of course, the daughter isn’t much better, if she _really_ said that Momma hates her unborn grandchild…

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Catrunning January 13, 2014 at 1:26 pm

As I get older, I’m receiving more and more inviations to showers for people I don’t even know! If I have to google/facebook someone’s name or otherwise do research to find out who these people are even connected to, I’m obviously not close enough to them that I should be expected to cough up a gift. Not to mention the awkwardness of having to sit through the shower trying to explain who I am to a bunch of strangers.

I’m sure a lot has to do with my friends/coworkers/acquaintances having different surnames from those of their children. But if I do not even know their child’s name, or the first name of their future daughter-in-law, or whatever, why do people even presume that I owe them a gift, and based on the registries that get sent with the invitations, an expensive gift at that. It just makes me think that showers are getting out of control when people have to pad their guest lists with total strangers just so they can get more loot. Very weird.

And what’s with the trend of invitations to showers without an invitation to the actual wedding? So sad.

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kingsrings January 13, 2014 at 3:02 pm

Cough,

The point is, it’s too big, and too much, for an event that is rooted in simplicity and modesty. The example that Natalie gave perfectly sums up how I feel.

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McGrizz January 13, 2014 at 4:56 pm

Grandma Shower…LOL!

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Jenny Islander January 13, 2014 at 7:13 pm

When I was growing up (get off my lawn), the baby shower was for two things: giving Mom-to-be what might well be her last undistracted get-together with friends for a long time, and making sure that the new parents had some basic but oft-forgotten or understocked items. Spare rectal thermometers because the old glass ones tended to fall off the counter and break at 2 a.m.; more diapers than they might think they needed, because they sure would; extra onesies, because laundry agh. There might also be some inexpensive sentimental gifts, such as a church outfit for the baby or a silver-plated picture frame. So if Grandma is ticked off at a gift grab, I get it.

But a “grandma shower?” Seriously? Call your family and friends, ask if anybody has an old crib in good condition that they don’t need, and stock up on wipes. Anything else, the parents should be dropping off with the baby anyway!

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Lo January 14, 2014 at 7:30 am

@Natalie

I’ve been to a shower like that! Now we did have a full lunch and dessert before the gifts were opened and I was grateful to the bride and family for that. But it was one of those events where the bride gets up with a microphone and talks about what she got and from whom. It was totally bizarre and I kept thinking to myself, there’s no way this is actually a thing. Because there were so many people there it was basically, a couple of hours of gifts being announced over the microphone.

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TheCatLady January 14, 2014 at 10:42 am

So essentially, you didn’t get your special day to be the grandmother during your daughter’s shower, your way, so you are literally taking your bat and ball and having it by yourself.

I am thinking your daughter is already used to these displays and is over it.

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Polly January 14, 2014 at 2:51 pm

Is it in any way possible that OP means she’s going ahead with the shower for her daughter, even though daughter may not attend, as opposed to throwing an actual shower for herself as grandmother? No I am not even sure how that works but I am wondering if there is any way she could be thinking she doesn’t want to disappoint her friends by not hosting a nice party for them in honour of the baby?? If not, my mind is boggled.

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Mitzy January 16, 2014 at 8:41 pm

but wait there is more!!! It doesn’t stop with the wedding shower, now it is housewarming, baby shower, and get this FIRST BIRTHDAY BASHES. Basically I willl end up funding EVERY major ever and yes, expected to bring an item (s) worth at least 100.00 to each or considered tacky and uncaring. Apparently it wasn’t enough to RAISE these people to adulthood, now I have to compete with the much better off DIVORICED in law wars to out do each other (and me by default) and then I have to hear how “I don’t care about a baby, I haven’t even met yet or spent one minute with” based on what I was willing (able has nothing to do with it apprently) to spend on the tyke at all these “showers” . I kinda agree with Judge Judy, “Don’t pee on me and tell me it is raining”..

This is way out of hand, if you are big enough to get married, buy a home, have a baby then I guess my old school thoughts of “you are big enough” to pay for the items necessary barring a few smallish tokens from others. To expec such vulgar displays to be ok or curse your old child with the falsehood that granny doesn’t love you (make that hold the child for ransom from granny) if she doesn’t buy a big ticket item is ABUSING to the child and granny and yourself. Where did I go wrong? Or is it ok since “society” condones it that is the problem.

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Jo January 17, 2014 at 11:37 am

Sadly, I have actually heard of “grandma showers” before – I can’t recall where, perhaps Dear Abby or another similar column? It’s just another example of today’s entitlement, IMO.

Even tackier? I’ve heard of people having “online showers” – in other words, mail her gifts, then watch her on Skype or whatever, opening them! That way, she gets stuff, but doesn’t have to actually spend a penny on feeding or otherwise hosting guests at a party.

SMH…

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gb February 1, 2014 at 2:41 pm

@delislice, the Hobbits love to GIVE gifts on their birthdays, as well as receive :)

Also, don’t forget elvensies and fourth meal!

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froglet June 3, 2014 at 11:17 am

When I was pregnant with m first child my MIL was thrilled. My mother was deceased, and MIL stepped in and threw me a shower with all my friends at her home. (It was a surprise party) The women MIL works with are all younger than her and she had helped to plan wedding and baby showers for many of them, so they decided to return the favor. She went to a “staff meeting” only to find out it was a grand mother shower. It was so sweet. They gave her items that she could keep at her home so that she was outfitted to babysit, complete with a collapsible play gym. It was so wonderful to be able to give the baby to grandma and not have to lug gear to her house. I think that grandma parties are ok when they are sprung on the recipient as a surprise.

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