The Cyber Shower

by admin on March 6, 2014

This showed up in my feed on Facebook, from a person I worked with:

C’s baby shower!
As you know myself and L are expecting a little bundle of joy in April and due to so many people living far away, we all won’t be able to make it to my baby shower. If you would like to help me out with the arrival of baby A, I have decided this might be an option so everyone can be there for us in any way possible. The option is up to you.

All the little things add up (as you know) and are quite costly, so if you would like to send something instead of parcels a wishing well has been thought of.

We would muchly appreciate it as we would all love to attend the shower but all know travel and time is sometimes too far and hard to come by in all our busy lives.

A bank account has been set up and if you would like to deposit any amount I’m sure it will help and we would both appreciate it dearly. Inbox for details

Are online baby showers a thing now? There is no party, only a bank account for donations and an address to send parcels to. The pregnant woman has set it all up herself.

This was sent out with reminders to donate and posts to congratulate people who do donate, to all 300 of this person’s friends list. There have also been lots of angry posts about this person’s family not being allowed to see the baby if they don’t do what the pregnant woman wants. I don’t know if she means donating money or something else, but I do know it’s very awkward reading her posts begging for money and reading about her family drama.

I joked years ago that the next evolution in baby showers would be the “cyber” shower where “guests” were deprived of any pretense of hospitality prior to coughing up money or gifts.   I’ve learned not to joke because the creativity of entitled and greedy people knows no bounds and if it can be done, someone out there will do it.

{ 82 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan March 6, 2014 at 2:53 pm

Why don’t they just send all their friends a bill?

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Lo March 6, 2014 at 3:05 pm

But on the upside, free drama you don’t have to care about, eh? It’s better than TV.

Obviously, don’t send anything, but if you get some kind of personal reminder I would send out an e-card of congratulations. With any luck if she complains she’ll cc: everyone else in the email.

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Rebecca March 7, 2014 at 1:05 pm

If OP really wanted to be passive aggressive about it, (s)he could give a donation in their name to St Jude’s or some other children’s charity. Kind of hard to complain about helping families less fortunate than yours without showing your true colors.

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EllenS March 6, 2014 at 3:11 pm

One of the oddest things about this demand letter, is the very tortured wording of how “we” will not all be able to make it to the shower. As if the nonexistent hostess set up an actual shower, but in a remote location that even the supposed Guest of Honor cannot travel to!
Perhaps her imaginary shower is being thrown by her imaginary friends. In which case, imaginary gifts would be perfectly appropriate.

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Jo March 6, 2014 at 5:07 pm

Love this! You captured it perfectly

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inNM March 6, 2014 at 7:22 pm

Where is the “Like” button!

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Marozia March 6, 2014 at 9:41 pm

Imaginary money sounds like a good gift to give them.

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JeanLouiseFinch March 6, 2014 at 10:24 pm

“…if you would like to send something instead of parcels a wishing well has been thought of,” and “A bank account has been set up.” I would call this tense the “passive exonerative,” so she can get even further away from “I think real showers are a pain and not one of my friends thought to give me one, but here’s how I set this up so that I can get money/presents anyway, and not be bothered with guests or a party.” I would give her a really tacky looking homemade gift (not that all or even most homemade gifts are tacky – but if you are making it, you could make it tacky on purpose.)

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Cecilia March 7, 2014 at 10:52 am

We really need a like or thumbs-up button!!

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tatertot March 8, 2014 at 12:32 am

Imaginary money means Monopoly money!

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Yarnspinner March 8, 2014 at 2:22 pm

Ellen, I was just coming here to comment on the cringe worthy wording, now I don’t have to! Thank you for saying so perfectly what I was thinking. The whole thing….just no….

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cece12 March 6, 2014 at 3:12 pm

I’m with you, Admin. It never fails to amaze me how much of the idea that these events are designed to invite others to share in our joy has been stripped away so that the bare bones of “GIVE ME THINGS!” is all that’s left.

Thank goodness for this community!

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InTheEther March 6, 2014 at 3:16 pm

There’s this nifty little thing that the government set up that has already taken care of the same problem this idea is supposed to solve. It’s called the United States Postal Services. You can send a check in an envelope for under $.50! Or even a package for around $5!

I’m getting the feeling that the person who posted this on Facebook is trying to get her way via public shaming. Otherwise there would be no reason to be thanking people and reminding them on a public forum. (Never mind how tacky it is to go around saying ‘remember to get me a present’) Ditto about the posts threatening to cut off grandparents, aunts&uncles, ect. What I never understood is how people think that that little manipulation will make the people they’re trying to shame look bad rather than themselves. Really, are they just used to people giving in to avoid a public meltdown?

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Elizabeth March 6, 2014 at 4:19 pm

She only shamed herself.

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Kaiti March 6, 2014 at 3:26 pm

There’s a way to do a virtual baby shower well, and this isn’t it.

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Lauren March 7, 2014 at 4:33 am

I am really curious how this should work. Could someone please describe what the proper way is to hold a virtual shower? I’ve honestly never heard of this.

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JO March 7, 2014 at 12:19 pm

The appropriate way to do a virtual shower would be setting up Skype, or a video conference-style thing. This way, people who could not travel to attend could still see/be seen and participate if they so choose, instead of being expected to just send a gift anyway.

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crebj March 9, 2014 at 9:25 am

Virtuously. ;>

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livvy17 March 6, 2014 at 3:41 pm

Sometimes I’m tempted to send people like this a piece of cardboard and a battered hat, along with instructions to sit on a streetcorner, and a note “Thought you could use these! :)”

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JeanLouiseFinch March 6, 2014 at 10:25 pm

Love it!

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Elizabeth March 6, 2014 at 4:18 pm

“Don’t waste your money traveling to see me and my new baby … just send us money.”

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ArtsBeatLA March 6, 2014 at 4:32 pm

EllenS’s comment upthread was perfect! The tortured wording, the bizarre “faux” shower that everyone is too busy to get to — it’s hilarious!

OP – indeed, the best gift for a virtual party is a virtual present!

Simply post: “Blessings on the pending arrival of your little bundle of joy!” and then attach a photo of a prettily gift-wrapped present. Done!

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Kate March 6, 2014 at 4:41 pm

I’ve been to a lovely surprise virtual baby shower, with a group of friends scattered all over the globe. The Dad-to-be was in on it (not his idea and he in no way organised it, but he did receive the parcels at work and was able to hide them until it was time to pull them out), but the Mum-to-be was completely surprised, and the whole thing was really nice. And the baby is now nine years old, so it’s not exactly a new phenomenon.
But, of course, normal etiquette rules apply! You cannot throw yourself a shower. Your family members cannot throw you a shower (unless it’s strictly family-only). You cannot demand people GIVE YOU THINGS! These same guidelines are valid whether the occasion is in-person, virtual, underwater or on the moon :-P

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Kaiti March 6, 2014 at 5:21 pm

OK, I was going to ask how we knew each other, as some friends & I did the same thing for another friend, but her bundle of joy isn’t quite that old yet. :-)

I had another friend who ended up with 2 showers – folks came in from out of town, but the shower got snowed out! So later a couple of us who were local went over to help out Mom To Be during a nice video chat with all the out of towners, and had a nice time long distance. :-)

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Whodunit March 7, 2014 at 9:22 am

Sure you can throw yourself a party and sure you can demand people give you money. But it’s up to the rest if society to choose to participate or not. And because there will be people who do, these things will never stop.

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lakey March 6, 2014 at 4:49 pm

300 PEOPLE! Good grief. Talk about greedy.
I’ve come to the conclusion that the real problem isn’t the greedy person begging for money or gifts, but the people who cave in to this kind of imposition. If you’re willing to be a doormat, then people will walk all over you. I come from a very large family, my mom had 6 brothers and sisters, my dad had 5.
This kind of thing would never be done around the people I associate with, because no one would tolerate it. Not only would they not donate to the gimmefest, but there would be talk. Negative talk.

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Magicdomino March 6, 2014 at 4:52 pm

I don’t like showers, and even I’m not thrilled about this. There are plenty of people who enjoy food, chatting about babies (or weddings) and playing cute games, and it is pretty gimme-piggish to not even offer that. It’s really gimme-piggish if the GOH is expecting a both shower gift and an wedding/baby gift. (I won’t get into the whole thing of hosting one’s own shower.)

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Cathy March 6, 2014 at 5:17 pm

I’m not only appalled by this type of gimme, I also can’t get past the “myself and L” and “muchly” – do any schools still teach spelling and grammar anymore?!

But seriously, this type of “invitation” is pretty bad.

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another Laura March 7, 2014 at 8:25 am

Those two language errors really grated on my cyber ears, too.

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Cerys March 8, 2014 at 7:13 am

I use ‘thankyou muchly’ quite a lot, but only in text and usually with people who know my little foibles. ‘Myself and L’, however, made my toes curl.

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Angie March 6, 2014 at 5:23 pm

I’ve seen many instances in the last few years of people giving their own baby showers and they don’t see anything wrong with it. I just cringe. But this is the height of greed, making it sound like she’s not even interested in seeing anyone, or showing off her baby.

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badkitty March 6, 2014 at 5:31 pm

A cyber shower? Sounds like exactly the situation for which e-cards were created :P

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Julia March 7, 2014 at 7:50 am

Nailed it! :)

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Nannerdoman March 6, 2014 at 5:36 pm

I don’t even let the alumni association of my alma mater shame me into donating money–and those donations are tax-deductible!!

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Reno March 6, 2014 at 5:38 pm

Why don’t they just say “We got pregnant without having the financial ability to support our child so we are now depending on the generosity of others.”

I used to love baby showers. People showing up with cute little outfits, cut stuffed animals or the practical people bringing a spit up cloths and bibs. But once people started expecting to receive strollers, and high chairs, and furniture, I’ve really lost my desire to attend any.

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Abby March 7, 2014 at 8:17 am

I know! When I was pregnant, I visited a message board for pregnant women every day, and I loved it at first. However, I had to stop coming, because it seemed like every third day there was an angry post from a mom to be about how she had spent hours researching different baby items and had registered, and people had bought *off* the registry.

One girl, (who, to her credit, appeared to be a pretty nice person) actually complained, ‘all I have gotten so far is baby outfits. How are these baby outfits going to stay usable if I don’t have diapers to put the baby in?’ The fact that she, as the parent, should be expected to provide said diapers, and any other baby need, appeared to have escaped her.

I still enjoy baby showers, and luckily the ones I’ve attended the guests of honor have all been gracious and more interested in getting their friends and families together than seeing how much baby stuff they can score without opening their own wallets. But the entitlement of some people amazes me.

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LovleAnjel March 7, 2014 at 3:37 pm

Did she expect to receive enough diapers to see her kid through infancy? Oh, honey.

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Lo March 7, 2014 at 3:41 pm

Mind blown. Sounds like someone who, if all the guests went practical and bought diapers, would complain that there were too many of those instead.

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Justine March 6, 2014 at 6:32 pm

I was invited to my friend’s shower. She moved 4 hours away last year at this time. But the baby came early so it has been changed to a “meet the new baby” BUT since mom is protective of her first little one the open house/shower/meet the baby (as it has been billed through our e-vite) is for only 2 hours. Yeah, drive all that way, hope you don’t hit traffic because you only have 2 hours to be there.

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Justine March 6, 2014 at 6:34 pm

Oh, and I forgot that it is from 2:00 to 4:00 so we can’t expect a meal after the drive. 25 of us from her old neighborhood were invited with the “I really hope you make the drive! Here is a list of hotels.”

And Lakey, you are right. The problem is the people who give in and do it.

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The Elf March 7, 2014 at 8:31 am

If you do it – I wouldn’t, unless I really was close to this person – then get that hotel room and make the shower Activity #1 on your Night Of Fun. After the shower, grab some dinner with your friends, do whatever night-life the town offers, head back to the hotel room with some drinks, and toast to the health of the Mom and Baby.

I really can’t blame the Mom for putting an end time on the fun. She’s probably still recovering from the birth or feels Baby can only handle so much and doesn’t yet trust her to a babysitter. It doesn’t make your situation any better. It only works well for people who live close by.

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kit March 25, 2014 at 2:48 pm

So you go to see a PREMATURELY born baby whose mother probably already has heaps of extra trouble besides the usual newborn one, and complain she doesn’t make dinner and entertain you for a whole day? Where I live, that would send YOU straight to etiquette hell.

We have only “meet the new baby” visits here, no showers (this also means new mothers here can’t and don’t expect that guests bring in all necessary stuff for baby as these are needed before guests arrive). In old times, the “meet the new baby” gift from old wives of the village was ready-made dinner for all family for a couple of weeks or so, so that the new mother shouldn’t have to bother with cooking – now that’s a nice custom in my opinion!

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ddwwylm March 6, 2014 at 6:49 pm

Sigh, I got invited to something similar 2 years ago, at least it was a printed invitation not just a socail media blast. We got a baby shower invitation in the mail, but the RSVP info was crossed out and the hostess (possibly baby mama, not sure who did it) wrote in somethig like we know everyone would want to come to the shower if we didn’t live so far apart, so feel free to call during the shower and send gift cards instead of presents. It was worded slightly nicer than that, but not much. The kicker was it for the girlfriend of DH’s cousin who he has seen maybe 2x in the past 15 or so years, it was his 4th kid, and we’d actually recently had a baby not 1 month prior and hadn’t reeived so much as a phone call of congratulations from him. IIRC that shower also involved the mother of the cousin shaming people on her side of the family for their negative reactions to the shower.

I mostly have to agree with PPs though, the wording on this is just so weird. Almost like she knows what she’s doing isn’t right, so is trying to word it to be more acceptable, but is failing – miserably.

I think virtual shower is fine for situations like gma lives 1000s of miles away, and is skyped in, when there’s an actual shower, not this weird – just send $$ post. Even then, it would need to be for very close immediate family and friends, you know, the people who might actually feel sad to miss the physical shower, not your whole social media contact list.

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hakayama March 7, 2014 at 8:57 am

What most tempting occasion to have your DH’s fifth cousin twice removed receive an acknowledgement from Planned Parenthood that a donation was made in their /dis/honor. ;-)

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Yasuragi March 6, 2014 at 7:08 pm

The co-worker tried so very, very hard to write herself up onto that wooden cross. That is some awkward prose.

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a March 6, 2014 at 7:20 pm

I could see a group skype call with the mother-to-be attending and the host starting the call. You could even have games! But the gifts would obviously be optional. Of course, working with time zones could be interesting.

I have friends all over the world and would totally love this idea!

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Lauren March 7, 2014 at 4:51 am

I don’t know, I’ve never been to a virtual party, but I’ve had a zillion meetings at work with conferencing in/video/online meeting rooms. They annoy me because voices cut out and video an be awkward – I mean we’re in meetings where you’re supposed to be mostly static and the video still feels choppy and disjointed.

I don’t get the virtual party idea especially because the worst part of these meetings is always when everyone starts joking around, because a million voices start talking at once and it can just be complete craziness. You feel like you miss most of the jokes. I love my remote coworkers, but is really sucks trying to socialize this way.

I think having to attend a “party” like this would completely do my head in.

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vanessaga81 March 7, 2014 at 3:59 pm

I’ve done virtual showers with friends who moved a long distance away (lots of military families). It’s not ideal but that was what we had to do. But they were not planned by the parents-to-be. I also participated in one for a woman on a message board for pregnant women who’s husband lost his job unexpectedly. Again, though, it was not mommy’s or daddy’s idea. I think what irks me most here is that the parent is requesting the shower. The “all the little things add up” really gets me. A)yes they do, but that is your problem and b) once you have the child, you will find that many of those little things were not neccesary. I will cut them some slack because I thought I had to have all those little things too, but I also didn’t rely on anyone else to buy them.

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The Elf March 7, 2014 at 8:26 am

The key phrase there being “gifts would obviously be optional”.

I’ve done MMORPG guild parties before, and they can be a blast. It’s fun talking with people all over the world. But it isn’t the same thing as a physical get-together.

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Cat March 6, 2014 at 7:50 pm

I am amazed that she intends to use her baby as a hostage to force her relatives to hand over cash. “Send money or you’ll never see this baby!” I hope they send her nothing and remind her of her promise when she needs a baby-sitter. “Oh, no, my dear. You said I’d never see the baby if I didn’t pay up. By the way, have your read about the number of abused and murdered babies who were left in the hands of strangers? Did you hear about the Country Walk case?”
Seriously, that sense of entitlement and of publically trying to embarrass people for not paying up makes me despair of how our country is growing more accepting of the idea, not only of me first, but of me and only me!
I suggest making a donation to an institution that aids children in third world countries or to poor children in our own country and letting this woman buy what she can afford herself for her child.

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picturegirl80 March 6, 2014 at 8:07 pm

Ugh. I completely agree that this was tacky and beyond that, the writing made me cringe! I’ve always hated when people write ‘John and myself’ or in this case, ‘myself and L’ instead using ‘me’. But when did people start using ‘muchly’–as in ‘we would muchly appreciate it’? I know that grammar, spelling, etc. is not everyone’s strong point, and I know that spell-check doesn’t always do the whole job. But this is just awful, in terms of both etiquette and presentation. And 300 people?!

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JJ March 6, 2014 at 8:27 pm

You know I could maybe, maybe see this if say you sent it to very close friends and family who told you outright they can’t make it but want to mail you a parcel or deposit money. But to send that to all 300 of your facebook friends most of whom are old high school friends and coworkers you have not seen in years? Get over yourself! Who do you think you are to have the audacity to send that out and assume people are actually interested in sending money/parcels. Sadly some poor suckers actually will send her money and they shouldn’t. Sorry, but to me that is the ultimate rudeness you can do as an expecting couple. So people don’t even have the opportunity to see you or the baby in person because they don’t matter enough to see but hey still send a gift this way because you know babies are expensive and we want help funding out lifestyle choice. Here’s a helpful tip for all potential parents: Pay for your own baby stuff and don’t expect or demand people, especially ones you haven’t talked to you in years, send you free money because you got pregnant. Your children are your financial responsibility, not mine, and when I give someone expecting a gift it is because I want to show that person I care about them not because they sent me an embarrassing facebook mass message begging for money. People don’t have an issue giving you gifts for baby showers when they genuinely know you and want to give you a gift but don’t be a gimme pig who begs for money via online social sites. Seriously so tacky.

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Rebecca March 6, 2014 at 8:33 pm

“we would all love to attend the shower but all know travel and time is sometimes too far and hard to come by in all our busy lives.”

What, she’s too busy and too far away from herself to attend her own shower?

And she should speak for herself re “we would all love to attend…” Have 300 people indicated to her that they would love to attend?

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missminute March 6, 2014 at 9:18 pm

Basically she’s said “I can’t be bothered throwing you a party, don’t come see me, just send presents”.

I’d just ignore the whole thing.

I have a friend who is fundraising via one of those begging sites for her new art project. When she reached the goal, she just kept raising it higher and keeps campaigning! It is outrageous! And she’s sending personal messages to anyone who has not donated.

I just ignore, ignore, ignore.

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The Elf March 7, 2014 at 8:25 am

Ugh. I do like Kickstarter and similar sites, but the whole idea is to set up a goal, do the project, and reward the investors with product or other perks. Raising the goal is a huge red flag that this is not actually for a project and is likely to bite her in the butt the next time she attempts something.

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ArtsBeatLA March 7, 2014 at 12:21 pm

missminute – after the second or third (?) personal message to those who have not donated, I would definitely send a personal message back – “Would you please stop hassling me to donate?” But I guess that might sour the friendship more thoroughly than simply not donating and/or ignoring……… *le sigh*

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Skaramouche March 6, 2014 at 10:29 pm

Yes, that wording confused me also – “we would all love to attend the shower”. Huh? :P

In other news, I had a recent shower invitation that I had meant to write in about but forgot. It’s proof positive that even decent people are losing their good sense when it comes to what is proper and what is not. A friend of mine from university is having a baby very soon. She is a lovely, unselfish person and so is her husband. Her sisters threw her wedding shower when she was married a few years ago and it was very well done even if improper, etiquette-wise. Close friends and family were in attendance and there was nothing “gimme-ish” about it. I was happy to attend and had a great time.

Imagine my surprise when I got an e-vite for a baby shower a few weeks ago from one of her sisters asking that instead of cards, guests bring a book of their choice. We were to add the name of the book we were bringing in the comments section in order to avoid duplication. The invitation also included registry information at the end. The whole thing turned me off and I didn’t attend. I sent her something from the registry and will arrange to see her and her husband at a later date. Why do people do this? :(

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Charliesmum March 7, 2014 at 7:53 am

To be fair, I think bringing a book for the child’s library is a great idea. Everyone can bring their favourite from their own childhood, and books are forever, in my opinion. I had books I read to my own son that were mine when I was small, and I just recently passed them, and the books he’d gotten over the years, to my sister who has small children. So a ‘bring a book’ shower is sweet.

Tacking on additional registry stuff, however, not so much. One or the other is fine, but not both.

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Skaramouche March 7, 2014 at 9:56 am

Yes, in general, I agree. I love reading and would love to inculcate good reading habits in those around me. I think I was just really turned off because 1) they strongly requested books and also included registry information and 2) insisted on knowing the book in the reply. They probably didn’t mean it that way but it is an inadvertent form of shaming: people will be reluctant to reply in the positive without the name of a book. Intended or not, it sends the message: no book? Don’t come.

Also, IMO, one or the other is not fine in the invitation :S. It is VERY off-putting to me to see a great invitation, become excited by the prospect of celebrating, only to read what is expected of me at the end. I understand that it is more convenient to do it this way but does convenience override good manners.

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Charliesmum March 7, 2014 at 1:13 pm

‘It is VERY off-putting to me to see a great invitation, become excited by the prospect of celebrating, only to read what is expected of me at the end.’

That is a good point. One really shouldn’t be dictated to when it comes to bringing gifts. That’s sort of the crux of the problem these days. One would bring a gift for the mother to be, or the bride, or whatever, because one wants to celebrate with that person, and give them something from the heart, but now it has become more about ‘decorate my nursery’ and ‘help me get expensive things.’

Funnily enough someone I vaguely know is having a book shower for their coming baby. I don’t know if they are telling people to indicate the book first though!

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ddwwylm March 10, 2014 at 6:02 pm

This also isn’t solely a book shower. I’ve seen things like book showers or diaper showers for moms who are having their 2nd+ child. I think the intention is good – they are trying to come up with a simple idea to make it seem like they aren’t being gimmie pigs by requesting small gifts, but I think it often backfires, because people don’t really like being dictated to when it comes to presents. It comes off as saying – i don’t want any present you might think of buying me, get me this.
This shower however, seems to be asking for both presents AND books. Notice the OP wrote that the shower stated books should be brought instead of cards. So basically, MTB doesn’t want to bother with reading any congratulations you might write in a cute card you picked out, bring an extra present instead. Now, granted, probably not the intention, but it can be off putting as OP mentioned to be dictated to.

VM March 7, 2014 at 12:47 am

They way things are going, I won’t be surprised if soon I find someone furious spinning “A party would be sooo unfair to everybody because only some would be able to attend, so we’re doing the right thing by not having one at all. Now everyone can give presents on an equal footing!

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Mya March 7, 2014 at 3:44 am

Public shaming? Ouch. I’d ‘Ditch’n’Delete’ if I were you. I can think of no constructive reason to add colleagues on Facebook unless you are good friends with them otherwise you are inviting trouble.

This MTB sounds terrible, but remember there are 2 sides to every story (although she isn’t painting herself in a very good light with this post) so the family drama may not be all it appears.

People are desperately trying to introduce the American customs of Baby and Wedding Showers to the UK but most of us are resisting valiantly and it is usually only the ones that watch too much ’16 and Pregnant’ or ‘Desperate Housewives’ that try to push these things. When it is my turn I won’t be having a drunken Hen party but a lovely pampering day at a Spa with my Mum, MIL, Sister and SIL (possibly) – considerably less hassle. As for Baby showers – no thank you. I expect my mum will host a celebration party after the baby is born so my relatives can see the baby without descending on LeBoyfriend and I in those first precious, delicate days/weeks but there will be no cheesy ‘shower games’, no gifts, no gift lists or party bags. There will be cake and food and bubbly and that’s it. If people choose to bring myself or the baby a gift that is their decision and their choice but I have no intention of even mentioning gifts of any kind on the invitation.

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tatertot March 8, 2014 at 12:59 am

I hate to sound stupid, but I know that a lot of Brits (and former colonial territories) call their moms “mums,” but I have never seen/heard what they call their dads. Is it just “father,” dad,” “pop,” or something else? Thanks.

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Brit March 8, 2014 at 5:47 pm

British people call their fathers Dad or (usually if young) Daddy, and refer to them as ‘my father’ or ‘my dad’ (sometimes ‘my old man’). Nobody calls them Pop.

I call mine Pater as a joke because he is a Latin teacher.

It’s not stupid to ask, how else would you know!

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Lou March 7, 2014 at 8:06 am

Bleurgh, baby showers. I’m in the UK and in the unfortunate situation of belonging to the generation who has embraced this custom wholeheartedly. A relative held her own shower recently but lives at the other end of the country so we declined the invitation but sent a gift anyway (nice edition of a children’s classic and a couple of baby essentials). This was over 3 months ago, still waiting for any kind of thank-you beyond the general one in a Facebook status shortly after the event. The weird part over here is, because we’ve historically waited for a safe birth to send gifts, I feel uncomfortable not sending a gift once the baby arrives even though I’ve already given one – I haven’t given a second gift to any of the mums I know but sometimes wonder if they’re expecting one. The joys of cultural tourism!x

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Kimstu March 7, 2014 at 4:03 pm

@Lou: “The weird part over here is, because we’ve historically waited for a safe birth to send gifts, I feel uncomfortable not sending a gift once the baby arrives even though I’ve already given one”

Right on. Exactly as with wedding showers, a baby shower gift is traditionally supposed to be a SMALL fun and/or practical item given AT the shower, by a member of the honoree’s INTIMATE circle of family/friends.

Your silver porringers, handmade baby quilts, nursery furniture and other “significant” gift items are not supposed to be given before the baby is around to use them. This is rock-solid tradition in the US as well; it’s just that modern gimme-pig consumer culture has overwhelmed it in a tidal wave of I WANT ALL THE PRESENTS ON ALL POSSIBLE OCCASIONS GIVE ME MORE PRESENTS.

Hang in there, stalwart British and other defenders of proper gift-giving etiquette against the American Overblown Shower Monster! We tried to slay it before it reached your shores but it eluded us; nonetheless we will continue to fight!

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Lou March 8, 2014 at 3:38 am

Thanks for the support! Should have added, I also recently spotted pics on Facebook of an acquaintance’s shower (luckily I escaped that invitation) and most of the captions were along the lines of ‘wow, didn’t we get a lot of presents?!’. It just doesn’t sit well with me – I’ll never understand why people feel that others should fund/supply the requirements for this particular major life change. I’m fine with giving a little something as an acknowledgment but new parents should really expect to buy the whole lot themselves and treat presents as welcome extras. The baby shower I referred to in my first post, I asked another (closer) relative for suggestions on what to get and was told ‘oh anything really, they haven’t got any stuff at all yet!’ The baby was due a month later. Why on earth wouldn’t you have bought things??! I suspect it was more of a ‘let’s hedge our bets and see what people buy us then all we have to do is fill in the gaps’ situation.

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The Elf March 7, 2014 at 8:22 am

“Cyber shower”….. pass! If this is someone I’m particularly close to, I’d probably buy a baby gift anyway (or make a baby quilt). Then when I come over to see Mom & Baby after the birth (not right away, but whenever she’s ready for visitors), I’ll give it then.

About this part….. “There have also been lots of angry posts about this person’s family not being allowed to see the baby if they don’t do what the pregnant woman wants.” This could be totally reasonable, depending on what pregnant woman wants. Or it could be whacked out unreasonable. It’s reasonable, for instance, to limit the hours and duration of a visit for a newborn and recovering Mom. From what I understand, that’s a difficult time for adjusting to the new routine, learning new skills, and let’s not forget recovering from labor or cesarian! It’s reasonable to ask your nearest and dearest to help out, perhaps by bringing a casserole or other easily reheated dish, but not to insist or make it a condition on visting. It’s not reasonable to demand that in order to see the baby, one must genuflect three times and bring offerings of gold.

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Daquiri40 March 7, 2014 at 8:42 am

“All the little things add up (as you know) and are quite costly, so if you would like to send something instead of parcels a wishing well has been thought of.”

My favorite line. Having a baby is so expensive (as you well know), so give me some money to buy some stuff that I don’t want to myself. Why spend my hard-earned money on this baby stuff when I can get someone else to cough it up? I am sure when you had your grubby little baby, someone else paid too, so pay for my princess.

I generally love going to showers of FRIENDS and FAMILY, not some acquaintance who is extorting me.

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Cecilia March 7, 2014 at 10:49 am

I have not read all the comments yet, so my thoughts may have been expressed already but… %$#@*+!

What greedy, greedy parents-to-be. But as long as people do as requested -donate money and send gifts- this type of event will continue, flourish and get even bigger, I am always amazed that instead of doing a bit of planning and saving, some people have no problem begging family, friends and complete strangers to fund their choices.

I understand family and close friends helping out after a baby has been born; a little grocery shopping, laundry, frozen or take-out meals- especially if it was a difficult birth or required a c-section- but asking people to basically give you what you need to start raising your baby is ridiculous.

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Kristin March 7, 2014 at 10:50 am

This is the tackiest thing I have ever seen, bar none. This woman has had nine months to collect all the diapers and other things she needs. She admits things are “quite costly” but doesn’t have any problem with asking her friends to pony up the dough. I’d give her a gift card to Goodwill.

The comment above about sending her a piece of cardboard and telling her to sit on a street corner is absolutely hilarious! You could write the plea yourself: NEW MOM. FORGOT TO SAVE MONEY. GIMME GIMME GIMME.

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Wild Irish Rose March 7, 2014 at 12:46 pm

I have pretty much reached the point where showers don’t excite me. Of course I had showers for my wedding and for each child (I had only two, one boy, one girl, and I tried to discourage a shower for the second child, but . . . ), and I have certainly attended several, but why on God’s green earth do brides-to-be and expectant mothers think they are *entitled* to gifts? And why would anyone think this was a good idea? I don’t think the wedding industry or the baby industry are doing us any favors.

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ketchup March 7, 2014 at 4:34 pm

I love how you can always pick out the ones you don’t want give presents in the first place. Well, almost always. This one is showing her true colours though.

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gb March 7, 2014 at 4:50 pm

Tacky tacky tacky! Did I say this was tacky?

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littlebosammy March 7, 2014 at 7:56 pm

Wow, what a gal! Wonder what she did for her wedding – oh wait, maybe that’s a future event!

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Susan T-O March 8, 2014 at 9:33 am

Ironically, as I read this my co-worker is on the other side of the country. She went out of her way to fly out for a friend’s baby shower, because her friend is important to her and she wanted to be there. I suspect she would have been horribly hurt to have received an “invitation” such as this in lieu of an actual invite to an actual shower, to spend actual time with a person she cares about.

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Kimstu March 9, 2014 at 11:13 am

Oh, and what @Lou and @Mya said about not giving major baby gifts until AFTER the baby is born.

The shower inflation trend has pushed this sensible custom to one side, as have advances in modern obstetrics which make newborn deaths much more rare (and also allow expecting parents to know a lot more about the baby before it’s born).

But it’s still a good idea. If tragedy DOES strike late in pregnancy or during birth, what could be worse for the grieving couple than to face a nursery-full of lovingly bestowed presents that now all have to be sent back? A small inexpensive shower gift doesn’t carry the same etiquette obligation of having to return it if the expected occasion for its use fails to materialize.

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Enna March 9, 2014 at 11:56 am

This is very entittled. If I was a close relation or firend of this person I would not be impressed and would politely tell them so. They wouldn’t get anything form me!

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Shannan March 9, 2014 at 11:06 pm

OP- I’d love an update!!!!

Also, I agree with previous commenter about babysitting. No doubt she’ll be eating her words when she wants an evening out with her hubs……

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Besusmom March 12, 2014 at 9:32 am

I am actually preparing to do a cyber shower for a dear friend. She lives on the opposite coast (recently moved) and she has friends literally all over the globe. I would love to host a traditional shower, but the fact that we live so far apart, and none of her friends live near her, make the logistics of that impossible. I only plan to “invite” her very closest friends, who I know sincerely WANT to do something for her and the baby.

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Susan March 20, 2014 at 3:39 pm

Well over 20 years ago when I was expecting my first child and living far away from home, my mom and sister threw me a video taped “wrapping shower”. They invited my relatives and friends to mom’s house. Mom provided all the wrapping necessities and my sister videotaped the shower along with wishes and advise for the new mom to be. The gifts were boxed up and sent to me along with the video. My husband, MIL, and I watched the shower as we unwrapped the gifts.

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