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Drowning In A Flood of Gimme Pigs

I am expecting my first child next month (February) and I made the decision/Choice/mistake of joining a couple of “Due date groups” on Facebook. These are groups for expecting moms only, who are due in the same month that year. Like any group of people of social networking there were a few bumps (debates of vaccinations, basic safety issues like crib bumpers etc). And while I noticed several postings before the Christmas season about baby showers there weren’t so many that it really piqued my interest.

A little backstory. My husband and are in the uniquely blessed position of having waited until we were a little older to start our family. I am 31 and he’s 41, and as such we’re financially, relationship wise, and career wise much more stable for having waited to start our family. We did this as a conscious decision. I acknowledge that puts me in a different position than many of the women I’m seeing in these groups, I feel lucky for it, but I made my sacrifices too in deciding to wait.

Now that we’re all getting with 2-6 weeks of our due dates many more women are holding showers and well…freaking out about registries. I see daily meltdowns in these groups as women bad talk family who promised them expensive baby items and then couldn’t follow through due to financial problems, friends who refuse to brave severe winter weather to attend, small gatherings not up to their expectations, family who won’t plan events and on. Especially discussed is anger over people not buying off registries, disdain for gifts received, and constant monitoring and updates of how many gifts have been purchased off their registry leading up to the event (while bemoaning how few items have been purchased).

I can’t stand showers as it is. Something about them sets my teeth on edge. I dislike being the center of attention in that manner. Throwing my best friends baby shower a few years back threw me off the entire celebration all together. I offered to throw her a shower, and we’re close like sisters. Close enough for me to make the offer to hold it in my own small home, and for her to know of my fear/discomfort with large gatherings. Imagine my shock when she gave me a 50 person guest list…for a baby shower! Add in her in in laws large group of grandchildren that I’d be expected to entertain, and this shower would be bigger than my 50 person wedding. I gritted my teeth, rented a clubhouse, and used my polite spine to put my polite foot down and insist that this was an adult event and that I would not host it if children were invited. Yes there was heartburn and a few people did not attend, but hosting in and of itself is in a way a gift to the guest of honor, and the hostess has some say in how that gift is presented.

Now I’ll have nothing to do with showers. I won’t attend them and I refused all offers and demands for one of my own. If I receive an invitation to one I will send my regrets and happily send a gift. Is it getting worse, or has Social Media just made me more aware of this flood of gimme pigs? 0110-18

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  • Abby July 16, 2018, 8:25 am

    I joined something similar back in 2011. I had to leave because I couldn’t get over the entitlement. One woman wrote something like “All I’m getting is cute outfits! Those outfits aren’t going to look so cute if I don’t have diapers to put on him first!”. Or one woman complained bitterly about having to spend an entire Saturday, at 7 months pregnant, traipsing from store to store to return items that had been bought off the registry. Any comment defending the well meaning friends and family was not well received.

    • Sarah July 17, 2018, 2:25 pm

      If she had to return them it means she didn’t want them. If she didn’t want them why did she put them on her registry?

      • Yuchin Robb July 19, 2018, 7:20 am

        So she could get some money back or store credit for later?

      • Abby July 19, 2018, 5:53 pm

        When I said bought “off the registry” I mean, the items were not ON the registry. I guess that was unclear. The mom to be did not want any gifts that weren’t on the registry.

    • wanda July 31, 2018, 11:36 pm

      The first woman might actually be in a really hard place. Diapers are expensive in the quantities you need them, while you can get baby clothes really cheaply (especially if you don’t need cute new outfits, just whatever stuff you can buy or get secondhand). Food stamps will cover formula and baby food, but nothing covers diapers. If she’s worried about being able to afford diapers, I could see how it would be maddening to have everyone around you spend lots of money on “cute outfits” when you actually need that cash to go towards a daily necessity.

  • Skaramouche July 16, 2018, 8:36 am

    @OP, in my humble opinion it’s a bit of column A and a bit of column B. Social media has made us more aware of horrors around the world; serious, newsworthy ones as well as breaches of etiquette and cases of gimme-pigginess like this.

    We’re in a wonderful age when technology is developing at a mind-blowing pace and humankind is advancing rapidly in terms of selfishness :P. Every generation thinks the one after it is worse; more thoughtless, less kind, more entitled, etc. etc. but I really think we’re seeing new highs. As people are encouraged to “be themselves”, it brings out both the good and the bad. Along with tolerance for differences, we are seeing high levels of “my problems are your problems” feelings and the general sentiment that the world exists to cater to the individual’s needs rather than individuals existing to build a caring and supportive society. Oh well, what can you do? Can’t have one without the other, I suppose…progress has its seedy underbelly 🙂

    Good for you, OP for standing firm in your beliefs. Congrats on your upcoming bundle of joy!!

    • LizaJane July 16, 2018, 3:56 pm

      Your post is interesting and thought provoking. Thank you.

  • at work July 16, 2018, 8:40 am

    The desire to have a shower is beyond my ability to comprehend. (Unless I had nothing and truly needed to be showered!) When I was planning to be married 36 years ago, I made it clear I didn’t want a shower. Someone asked why and I said it seemed like a gift-grab. It rubbed a lot of people the wrong way.

    • DancerDiva July 16, 2018, 5:59 pm

      I’ve never understood other people’s issue with you not wanting a shower. My fiance’s sister just got married, and while I enjoyed attending her shower (mainly to get together with people I hadn’t seen in a while and to meet more family members), I would never want something like that for myself. I can only imagine the family being offended that I didn’t want one of these overblown events. My plan is to simply be busy every weekend for the two months prior to the wedding, as I can imagine that they’d try to surprise me with a shower, and that would be horrific.

    • JenAnn July 16, 2018, 6:28 pm

      I absolutely feel the same (I HATE being the center of attention), and yet I wouldn’t have said that. Everyone you said this to that had a shower thrown for them, was just told they actually had a “gift grab.” Naturally that rubbed people the wrong way. I think it would be wise to phrase it more delicately and avoid putting people on the defensive.

      • at work July 17, 2018, 10:35 am

        I said it to only one person. Then it got around. I didn’t have enough wisdom in my early 20s not to say exactly what I thought.

  • DGS July 16, 2018, 8:54 am

    I don’t know if it has gotten better or worse, but I do think that social media and the Internet bring out the worst in those types of people and give them a venue in which to complain and mope loudly. We are Jewish, and we don’t typically do baby showers due to superstition rooted in a high infant mortality rate in the olden days, so my husband and I had no showers for our children and purchased all the goods for the babies ourselves (and kept them boxed up in the garage due to the same old superstition of not having anything in the house until the baby is born). Amazingly, we were all just fine without a baby shower. I have also attended a number of tastefully done baby showers for dear friends who were grateful and gracious throughout. However, I have also witnessed some “grubby Mommy” behaviors from ladies who thought that them having a baby was an occasion worthy of an epic meltdown, much like an overtired toddler being hauled from Chuck E. Cheese’s.

    As for you, OP, congrats on standing firm in your values and your own insight and lovely and gracious behavior, and best of luck for a healthy, happy pregnancy and a safe delivery. Minimize your social media presence on those boards – the greedy Gimme’s will just continue to set your teeth on edge, and you don’t owe them to pour over their drama of diaper and stroller meltdowns. Stick to the online friends that seem gracious and authentic and enjoy those!

  • JD July 16, 2018, 9:18 am

    OP, I think it’s that we are seeing it more due to more access through social media and other media, but in my personal experience, it really does seem like it’s just plain happening more and more as well. Perhaps I was naive when I was younger and didn’t realize the entitlement happening back then, but I just don’t remember it being so prevalent then.
    Thanks, OP, for keeping to your decision to skip a shower for yourself. If someone wants to give you a baby gift, nothing is stopping them from giving you one; it’s not like they can’t bring or send you one without a shower taking place.

  • Liz July 16, 2018, 9:30 am

    I also think its a combo of both. Prior to the Internet, social media, etc. one found out about weddings, babies etc. through word of mouth, and perhaps the engagement announcement in the paper. Showers were held, gifts were registered for, by mail, and maybe if casual, and “the way things were done in my family” phone calls. Simple, and it got the job done.

    Today? You’re bombarded with everything everywhere you go. Not to mention the proliferation of perceived gift giving occasions other than a bridal or baby shower, or wedding gifts. Now its gender reveal parties, push gifts and so on. It’s gotten to the point of ridiculousness. Not that I’m saying its bad to do a lot of these things, but retailers have gotten on the bandwagon too, and make you THINK you need to give a gift for every blessed thing or be rewarded for doing something that really isn’t all that unique. I know if I were having a baby, i’d refuse a shower as I too hate being the center of attention, and i wouldn’t expect a thing from anyone. And what gifts I did get, I’d accept graciously, and IF they were a duplicate etc. i’d return it on the sly, and not fuss about it.

    I also think everything is over the top in other areas as well. Elaborate prom proposals come to mind. Whatever happened to simply asking someone to go with you? Apparently that isnt’ good enough anymore.

  • Ria July 16, 2018, 9:45 am

    The only Facebook parenting group I’ve found which is decent is the local mother’s group for my town, and even that has an annoying number of posts about essential oils.

    Baby showers and expectations around them are extremely challenging. I had one for my first, and while it was a lovely party with friends and family, I definitely wanted to vent a few times during the planning process. Mostly because I didn’t really care about the details of where or when it was, and the person who volunteered to host it kept trying to make me sort that out, not reserving a venue in a reasonable time frame and rescheduling for much later in my pregnancy after I’d already gotten the first date cleared with everyone.

    It sounds like the Facebook group you’re in has some legitimate complaints, and some not so legitimate ones. I’ve definitely found that discussions with random internet strangers can lead to a lot more venting and complaining than discussions with close friends and family in a situation like this, so you may just be seeing things which people would have kept to themselves 20 years ago.

  • lkb July 16, 2018, 10:06 am

    First, best wishes to the OP for a happy, safe delivery of a healthy new someone to love.

    Second, thank you OP for reminding me of one of the many reasons I exited Facebook a while back: What with gimme-pigs, vicious attacks on people who happen to agree with one’s political or religious views, foul language, offensive humor, and flat out ignoring of well-intentioned posts, exactly why was I mulling returning to it?

    Thanks for making me realize how happy I am to be a Luddite loner.

  • Devin July 16, 2018, 10:07 am

    I don’t think it’s gotten worse but I think these target groups breed a feeding ground for that kind of gimmie pig bevahiour. The memebers see one post, which on its own would seem greedy, but once a few people have chimes in it looks like this is acceptable behavior to have.
    I joined my neighborhood group and now use it as a source of entertainment because every post is just one off color comment away from becoming a train wreck. Do I think my neighborhood is any better/worse, More racist or open minded, or more trashy or well kept than any other place? No, but the people who feel free to air their dirty laundry on social media would you have you believe it.
    Congratulations on the healthy pregnancy! I suspect you won’t have time to get mired down in Facebook gimmie pigs once the little one arrives.

  • ladyv21454 July 16, 2018, 11:22 am

    Whatever happened to being grateful for any gifts you receive? No one is EVER obligated to give someone a gift – even for weddings. As far as registries – what started a long time ago as a convenient way to let people know what the happy couple’s china and silver patterns were to an out-of-control monster where: 1) people ask for the most expensive gifts, only to return them and buy something else; 2) no allowance is made for people who might have limited budgets; 3) people are now asking for their guests to pay for honeymoon expenses, contribute to a home fund, or even help to pay the wedding vendors. Baby showers are almost equally ridiculous – moms-to-be ask for things they will never use, or that they will quickly find are totally impractical. Oh, for the days when people invited to a baby shower asked family members of the expectant couple what the couple really needed for the baby!

  • lakey July 16, 2018, 12:41 pm

    This is the potential problem with gift registries. If we view a gift registry as a way to help guests who aren’t sure what to give, they’re great. But if people think that they are entitled to tell guests which gifts to give, then it’s a problem. Gift registries have led some people to believe that it is the responsibility of others to provide them with all the things they need for their baby.
    I don’t think that most new mothers are this entitled. It’s just that the worst people are the ones who are whining on social media, which makes it seem that there are a lot of them.

    I’ve never known anyone in my circle of friends or family to make the kinds of comments that LW has seen on Facebook. I think Facebook makes this behavior seem more common than it actually is.

    • Girlie July 16, 2018, 12:48 pm

      Park me here.

      Call me naïve, but I’ve never experienced dealing with anyone in my social circle (or my work circle) who became upset because someone bought something off of their registry. I think registries are great, but they need to be kept in their proper place, which is the absolute BACKGROUND of everything else going on.

      Also, I should mention that some of the best and most useful gifts that I received were the ones I NEVER would have thought to ask for! Lots of things have served me well, but one of the most helpful gifts I received with my daughter was the “Baby Medicine Cabinet” that we got. I didn’t know to ask for Baby Tylenol and Infant’s Motrin and Pedialyte and gripe water, but OMG! Was THAT gift the most useful thing that I never knew I needed!

    • staceyizme July 16, 2018, 1:00 pm

      I wonder if reality television and game shows haven’t contributed significantly to this somewhat inflated sense of entitlement that pops up? Over the top showcase prizes or cash prizes run through the daily round in many households. Selfies on Instagram and some “humble brags” from people about how wonderful their vacation is or how blessed they are to have gotten that new car, raise or other life perk also exert their influence. “That should be me…” or “why NOT me…?” are all too human reactions. If unhampered by the need for self-discipline, character and hard work, it seems logical that these would lead to “I’m graduating- MY TURN!” or “I’m expecting- BRING THE BLING!”

      • ladyv21454 July 16, 2018, 2:58 pm

        staceyizme, and leads to things like “push presents”.

      • LizaJane July 16, 2018, 4:05 pm

        Yes! I think “reality” tv has created unreasonable expectations. Having a paid staff actually doing everything in the background is way different than planning and hosting an event in our “spare” time.

    • Bridget Smyser July 17, 2018, 10:12 am

      I reluctantly registered at a couple places when we got married, mostly because various folks were bugging my mom about what we wanted, and I wanted to get them off her back. And they looked at us funny when we registered for a table saw at Home Depot. But hubby got his saw, I got custom built furniture from hubby, all was good. But I definitely didn’t care if we got stuff off the registry or not. And I didn’t even bother registering for anything when our first kid came home. Just didn’t feel like it was necessary.

  • staceyizme July 16, 2018, 12:53 pm

    This strikes me as an easily remedied situation for the OP. She can simple leave the Facebook group or mute the posts that offend her. She can even block the individual people who offend her and specify the length of time. All of the rest about waiting to have a baby and the relative merits of various kinds of showers is interesting, but not essential to the story. “I don’t like baby showers and I’m in this Facebook group where some expectant moms are obsessing about shower plans and complaining endlessly about gifts” would probably cover it. From a human interest perspective, navigating the close friend’s shower would have been somewhat more compelling, in my view. On showers generally, I think it’s like entertaining- at some seasons in one’s life, it’s a delightful prospect. At other times- there’s no way that it’s happening and only the foolish or clueless in one’s circle would try to wrangle hosting duties from a reluctant friend for any event.

  • Rose July 16, 2018, 12:57 pm

    I think this ties back into what the Dame said about self-hosted birthday parties. Showers, especially self-hosted showers are the height of bad manners.

    • LizaJane July 16, 2018, 4:11 pm

      I don’t think showers are bad manners. There are sections in reputible etiquette books about how they should happen.
      None of them include how to host one’s own.

    • Catherine St. Clair July 17, 2018, 12:15 pm

      I agree with you. I cannot imagine giving a party to celebrate the glory of me or to encourage my friends to shower me with gifts because I want them.

  • Jewel July 16, 2018, 1:20 pm

    Just chiming in to express my excitement that the letter writer used the correct spelling (“pique”) versus the incorrect “peak” (or worse yet, “peek”). Made my day! ?

    • Lyn July 17, 2018, 8:44 am

      I loved that too!!!

    • ladyv21454 July 18, 2018, 8:39 am

      I thought I was the only one delighted about that!

    • Raintree July 18, 2018, 11:54 pm

      I didn’t notice, but I sure do notice when someone spells it wrong!

  • shoegal July 16, 2018, 2:17 pm

    I think it may be a generational thing – not sure if millennials are old enough to procreate but this sense of entitlement may be learned behavior. Didn’t their parents teach them that they are owed nothing. If you want to have a baby – hello!!! it is all on you to pay for this child. Nobody owes you a gosh darn thing. No cute outfits, no diapers, no bottles, no strollers etc. Same with your wedding – just because you decide to marry – nobody owes you a gift. The wedding is your expense – it can be expensive or as cheap as you want it to be but it is all on you to pay for and you should be happy anybody wants to come and celebrate with you let alone give you a gift. Instead, parents pay for the expensive wedding, throw a huge shower for both wedding and the new baby teaching these entitled brats that they should get everything their little hearts desire.

    • S.Bean July 16, 2018, 2:45 pm

      It depends on where you place “millenials”. I myself am born mid-eighties and am considered an “old millenial”. And I don’t think I am an entitled person at all.

      When my husband and I got married, we made a gift registry to take advantage of the post-wedding discount, it was the same now that we have a baby on the way. My friends and I all paid for our own weddings and babies, gifts are appreciated but not expected.

      Maybe I’m wrong, but wedding gifts have been a custom for many years no? It’s not just a millenial generation thing. Gimme pigs happen in all walks of life and all generations. I’ve met boomers (and older) who feel entitled to things just because they’re older than me, not because they earned it and I’ve met some millenials who work their butts off to afford half of what their parents had at their age. Heck I work with a lady in her 50s who’s STILL harping on about a very expensive set of dishes she received for her wedding over 25 years ago. It was from an expensive department store but it wasn’t the pattern she wanted.

      • staceyizme July 16, 2018, 6:41 pm

        Millenials seem to get a bad rap, in my view. But they’re very knowledgeable about many subjects, flexible in their respective styles of socializing and community life and genuine (at least the ones I’ve met). Some boomers could really stand to hang out more with this crowd. You’ll learn quite a lot!

    • Emma July 16, 2018, 2:57 pm

      Millenials are more than old enough for kids, the youngest of them have actually already graduated university, and the oldest among them are into their late 30’s. In fact, if this story is recent, the letter writer herself is a millenial! Which is an indication that no, this isn’t just ‘millenial behaviour’. I’d also like to mention that, if you talk to a millenial or gen z working in customer service, many of them will say that it’s baby boomers and gen x’s who are the most entitled customers they get. It’s a matter of perspective. You (tend to) be friends with more people from your own generation, and are therefore less likely to generalize them.

      Going off of that, I agree this behaviour is learned! The whole thing reminds me somewhat of the participation trophy rants I’ve seen or heard a few times. You know the ones, ” kids are so entitled these days because they got rewards just for participating, everybody got a trophy so they think they deserve a reward for doing nothing”. The issue is: us gen z’s and millennials weren’t the ones giving out the trophies. Whether it formed entitlement or not (instinctively I say not, everyone I know hated those trophies and thought they were meaningless, but anecdotes don’t make for conclusive evidence), don’t complain about a behaviour and ignore the role you played in creating it.

      Basically, maybe it’s getting worse. Or maybe the letter writer ended up in a singular group of people who happened to have loose tongues, because the internet has that effect. One facebook group can hardly be called decisive evidence one way or the other.

    • MzLiz July 16, 2018, 6:27 pm

      Ever since the Earth decided to spin, there’s been choosing beggars, greedy people & spoiled brats. Social media has just made us more aware of them. Entitlement doesn’t have a particular generation – Technology simply gave the entitled a platform to shout it out, loud & proud.

  • NostalgicGal July 16, 2018, 2:21 pm

    Showers were low key gathering of friends and family who would help round up that which was needed for setting up a household or welcoming the first child.

    It has gotten so far away from that, totally. A registry as they first appeared was supposed to be a guideline on what was wanted and needed. And be lucky if you got anything off it.

    Entitlement and expectations have certainly risen. My wedding shower was three days before the wedding, held in my old school lunchroom and was part of the …
    (one of my classmates got pregnant and had to leave senior year and had the baby just after school let out. Family ostricazation and all…had been ridden out. I said the fark with it and went and got her son a onsie and went over and gave it to her. That sparked the mothers of my class to decide to get together and hold all showers for the entire group. Her baby shower was the first. They went through all first weddings and first baby showers-pot lucks and though the honoree was asked what they wanted there was no registry unless you count going to a small town business and picking out a few things to be displayed on a table with a sign. I was almost the last one they held something for, for getting married-I got a lot of towels, nothing matched, but they worked fine and were gratefully accepted). Now they have to be such productions… shake head. Mom’s side of the family, one of the clusters, had a pool of baby stuff. Everything you needed and then some. It was passed around, added to, and you passed it on when you were through. I slept in an older cousin’s bassinette and I contributed a lot of bottles to the overall stash (mom wasn’t able to feed me so I was a bottle baby). Fancy registry? Nah, just be grateful to have enough stuff. That one dresser turned into changing table may have had fifteen coats of paint by the time it got to me and when I graduated it was still being used….

    So the ramble comes down to: Be glad you have stuff. Be glad someone is going to give you stuff you need. The rest, get over it. And as for the entitled, maybe the OP just needs to unsubscribe to the list. As it seems it is drawing more than it’s fair share of the entitled….

  • Karen L July 16, 2018, 2:38 pm

    I think it might be partly an entitlement thing, but also partly a we’re-all-in-this-together kind of thing. You joined a group where everyone is going through the same experience at the same time, and all people need to vent sometimes. People may be venting to “kindred spirits” INSTEAD of venting to their friends, family, etc, which would indeed be rude.

    • staceyizme July 16, 2018, 6:50 pm

      I hadn’t considered the idea that this might have been considered a private, safe space in which to get out some frustrations that would otherwise be unacceptable, if expressed to those who are near and dear. Add to that the fact that many women experience being marginalized, objectified and infantilized when pregnant, and maybe some of the remarks are a little less about which pattern was on the registry and a little more about the rude things that people do at times under the guise of being “helpful” (like buying a gift that requires thanks but doing so KNOWING that it won’t be what the mother and father prefer/ think is safe for their child). It’s not a nice thing to say, in one respect. Still, it would be a bit disingenuous to deny that there is another side of the proverbial coin. Maybe some expectant ladies would just like their close networks to listen to what they said and follow through on what was requested, if they took the trouble to ask, and planned a comparable gift in any event. Otherwise, it could come off as being a bit of an “I-know-better-than-you” gambit. (Not in all or even most cases, obviously, but sometimes…)

  • NRoss July 16, 2018, 3:15 pm

    I think social media definitely makes it easier for people to justify their gimme pig attitudes. Groups like this are big enough that there are sure to be many people who will agree with a gimme pig if they don’t have anyone personally in their lives who agrees with them and helps them engage in their gimme attitude.

  • Tanz July 16, 2018, 4:10 pm

    I think it’s more the whole concept of showers in general that’s flawed; it’s just that social media makes these things more visible.
    In my country we don’t do showers, and people are expected to buy their own baby gear. That doesn’t stop people giving presents, of course, but it’s low key and they usually get given in the hospital or afterwards, when the giver first sees the baby. And it’s never anything costing hundreds of dollars like a pushchair or cot! But what we do have that doesn’t seem to happen too much in other places, is a huge tradition of handing on/handing down baby gear. Clothes, cots, prams, carseats (within safety dates/parameters) etc; the moment you tell people you’re pregnant you’ll get a cascade of “ohhhh… do you need XYZ? I still have ours…” I think that attitude keeps a lot of the gimmies at bay.

    • Bridget Smyser July 17, 2018, 10:00 am

      For my two kids, I scored free cribs from friends and at least one free car seat. I found a stroller for $20 at a yard sale, got a pack and play for about $5, and got a host of used clothes and other stuff as well. I never bought into the whole ‘babies will die if they have used things’ mentality, which prevents people from being open to used things. My kids were adopted at 6 months and 5 months of age, and so I just didn’t even bother with a lot of baby stuff like swings, baby bathtubs, etc. My kids somehow survived to teenagerhood without half of the stuff that people insist you ‘need’ for a baby.

      • LizaJane July 17, 2018, 9:52 pm

        Agreed. My parents bought a rather large bassinet when my oldest sister was expecting her first. I think every grandchild except one slept in it. There were two simultaneous pregnancies and SIL had one from her family to use. My other sister still had her crib, high chair was a group gift from husband’s aunts, car seat from cousins, pack-n-play from my sisters…no one went crazy and my children survived and thrived.

      • Sarugani July 20, 2018, 4:50 pm

        Considering how fast babies and toddlers grow out of their clothes, I think it‘s brilliant to have used baby clothes sales. My sister told me she scored some very high quality onesies at one in her corner of the world, from an excellent, but quite expensive brand she never would have bought new in a store. And I‘m pretty sure those onesies have been sold on at a subsequent event or have been handed over to a friend with a younger and/or smaller baby. As the aunt, I happily provide new clothes for all my nieces and nephews on occasion, it‘s almost become some kind of birthday tradition: a toy the child wants, a book I want the child to have and a piece of clothing either of my sisters wants or needs her child to have.
        Still, my sisters and I grew up wearing clothes passed down from older/taller cousins or family friends and that happened until well into teenage years (though later, we mostly wore the hand-me-downs for playing outside or chores on the farm), so I don‘t see the harm in passing stuff along until it‘s become unusable.
        The good thing: Baby showers are events I only know from TV and books, they don‘t seem to have become a thing in Germany. When friends/close relatives of ours announce their first pregnancy, they get one specific CD from my partner and me, later, all the friends in that group go in on one nice present together (like a specific high chair), the person organizing it is usually the friend closest to the expectant mother and will also be giving the gift once the baby is born with a card everyone in on the present has signed. Thank you‘s tend to come with a within a very short time included in the birth announcement with a cute picture of the baby.

  • Trish July 16, 2018, 5:25 pm

    I was recently part of a wedding party and was quite taken aback at the money grubbing. The bride created a facebook group for the wedding party so we could all communicate. It turned into, “Who is throwing me a bachelorette party? Who is throwing a lingerie party?”. By the end of it they had an engagement pot luck party (don’t even get me started), FIVE showers – two co-ed, two from work and one for the bride. They also had bachelor/bachelorette party weekends and multiple “planning parties”. Not to mention a huge rehearsal dinner for 50, a blow out wedding and a morning after brunch where they opened all of their presents. I DREADED logging onto Facebook and seeing the words, “That was fun everyone, our next event will be…”. How many events do you need?!? How many gifts do I have to give you for one marriage?!? Sheesh.

    • ladyv21454 July 18, 2018, 8:47 am

      I think I would have exited the wedding party after the pot luck engagement party. That is beyond tacky! If I didn’t leave then, I would have left as soon as it dawned on me that the bride was planning multiple pre-wedding events. She would have gotten a “regretful”, “I’m sorry, I can’t afford all of the events you have planned – I just don’t have the time or money.” I would have then bought ONE wedding gift (and maybe ONE shower gift, if I was feeling charitable) and ignored all the other events.

      I am curious, though – what exactly did the “planning parties” entail?

  • DancerDiva July 16, 2018, 6:03 pm

    Although I understand OP’s being upset at her friend inviting so many people for a baby shower, I’m not sure that a person who has fear/discomfort with social gatherings is the right person to plan such a party. I understand that she’s a close friend, but it seems that with those triggers, someone else might have made the better host.

    • ladyv21454 July 18, 2018, 8:49 am

      The OP said she had an issue with LARGE social gatherings. She might have been just fine with a dozen people. I’m like that – I do well with small groups, not as well with large ones.

  • k July 16, 2018, 6:14 pm

    I’m pregnant now and can’t handle much of what goes on in these groups. I joined a group for those in my “birth month” at around 7 weeks. Since then I’ve seen countless posts regarding showers. Who’s having one? Is it okay to throw your own? Whom should you expect to throw you one? Then there are the registry questions and drama over that. To say that I’ve been shocked by the contents of these posts would be an understatement. The overwhelming consensus is it’s totally fine to throw your own and if you don’t it’s acceptable to essentially demand a relative do it cause “you’re pregnant and people should do things for you”. God forbid anyone suggest this behavior is horrifying. The verbal abuse thrown at anyone who dares make these people feel guilty for being horrible human beings… it should be illegal.

    I very rarely pop in to these groups now. I’m dealing with some other issues and I can’t deal with these types of people anymore. I’ve found there are baby groups with actual supportive people, but groups like these are becoming a rare find. Funnily enough one person in the supportive group actually recommended I have a shower as it might help me cope with my situation. I don’t think I’d think anything of someone in my position throwing one for themselves (even though I still won’t do it). So I guess they can be a good thing. But showers are definitely abused and the behavior surrounding them is booming worse. In large part due to actual encouragement from other women online.

  • MzLiz July 16, 2018, 6:17 pm

    The way I understood the origin history of showers (source: my Grandma 🙂 ) is – Long ago, most women got married/became mothers at a younger age & were a lot more sheltered. There just wasn’t as much free-flowing, easily attained information then like there is now. Back then, the shower might be the first time a young woman was actually made aware of the mechanics of what was gonna happen on her wedding night or during birth & the party atmosphere was a way to make all the info seem a little less scary. This is why you were only supposed to get one (you can’t be a clueless virgin or a first-time mum more than once!) That makes sense to me in a way modern showers don’t because sex & pregnancy are no longer discussed in hushed tones, away from the men-folk. The bridal shower gave way to the bachelorette/hen night in terms of pre-wedding celebrations & baby showers are not necessary nowadays. Their purpose has become antiquated so as far as I’m concerned, all showers are gift-grabs, no matter how you dress them up or who throws them. I’d think more of a person who came right out & said, “I’m super stuck for baby stuff & really need some help”. Help would be on the way if that was the case. Anything else is pure entitlement & attention seeking & I don’t want to take part.

    Put simply – I’m a Shower Grinch. I’ve been to one baby shower in my life, only as a show of solidarity because it was a very close friend & her family are AWFUL people who showed zero excitement about their family’s first grandchild/nibling. I’ve never been to a bridal shower (I don’t think any of my friends have ever had one & if they did, they knew me well enough to not invite me). My husband on the other hand actually LIKES baby showers & chides me when I make fun of them, saying, “You’re so mean! I think it’s nice to have a party for a new baby”. But he’s a sap (and I love him for it). So he goes to the baby showers & I stay home, reading the paper & huffing at the headlines.

    Seriously though, if you want to have a shower, have it for the people who you know for a fact are truly invested in your situation & leave the rest of us out. Nobody else really wants to go to these things (unless you’re my weird, wonderful husband).

  • kgg July 16, 2018, 7:26 pm

    While I am certainly anti-shower-for-myself, I don’t begrudge other people their showers. I haven’t really come upon the greediness the OP has. Most people I associate with – family members included – tend to be even-keeled and appreciative.

  • LizaJane July 16, 2018, 8:40 pm

    Regarding self-hosted showers (which are an indefensible abomination):
    I wonder how many of the brides/mothers-to-be who are wondering why no one is planning one for them have ever hosted one for someone else?

    Honestly, if my mother hadn’t hosted (family only) showers for my cousins, I would be pretty dense to wonder why no one was going to the trouble for me. Reciprocity is a cornerstone of good manners.

    If an appropriate person offers to host a shower for you, accept if you want and don’t let people who don’t approve make you feel badly about it, but remember their kindness when they or their son/daughter has an occasion.

    If you don’t want a shower, decline politely, firmly and repeatedly if necessary. If you don’t like showers, send regrets to all invitations. That’s all. There’s no need and no polite defense for telling people how horrible their traditions are just because they’re different from your culture or because it’s something you don’t like.

  • LizaJane July 16, 2018, 8:55 pm

    Speak for yourself. I go to showers because I LOVE the games. My sister and I are irrationally competitive and shamelessly call out cheaters. I rarely have to buy soap for the guest bathroom. Yes. I’m that good.

    And there’s usually cake.

  • ann campbell July 16, 2018, 9:01 pm

    I hate showers too. I avoid them when possible. I can only remember two showers I actually enjoyed.

    One was a total of five friends. One of the friend’s fathers cooked a fancy dinner for us (so sweet of him). We gave the mother to be gifts, but it was more about celebrating our friendship and support for the mom to be.

    The other one was a long distance shower for a member of an online group we were active in. Those who were willing and able sent gifts, from all over the US and Canada, sent them to one member. She forwarded them to the mom to be in a big box to be opened at her leisure. The theme was something pertaining to either where you lived or something related to the subject of the group. It was so much fun picking out the gifts.

  • kingsrings July 16, 2018, 11:02 pm

    It’s the retail pressure to buy, buy, buy that gives people such a huge sense of entitlement, too. They really drill into folks that they’re nothing unless they have tons of stuff. That’s how society ends up with rudeness like women throwing their own showers because they’re entitled to one and nobody stepped up, and how else are they going to get what they need? Or showers going from small get togethers at someone’s house to huge, elaborate functions at an event hall. And shower presents going from small gifts to expensive appliances.

  • Bridget Smyser July 17, 2018, 9:46 am

    I don’t really get the enormous baby shower thing either. We had one very nice, small, surprise shower that a coworker threw for us, and we were very touched. There were about 5 people there other than us She invited us over under false pretenses for dinner – we were truly surprised! My sister in law also arranged a small, family only shower that we didn’t ask for, but again, were grateful for. We never registered anywhere, just came up with a general ‘what we need’ list when asked. I think the only big ticket thing we needed was a car seat – everything else we either didn’t need, got at a yard sale, or had given to us. I would have felt awkward and greedy at a big shower, and I would have been ok with none at all.

    I just went to a huge, 100 person baby shower for my niece, thrown by her mother (this same sister in law). Unlike our small, intimate shower, this one was enormous. There were personalized party favors (side note: They gave out purple beer cozies with ‘Baby So-and-S0 is due in June’ on them. Who gives out beer cozies at a baby shower???), games, everyone was supposed to decorate a bib for the new baby, address their own thank you notes, etc. Took niece almost 2 hours to open everything. It was nice, I guess, but I felt like I knew no one other than my nieces and a few other of my husband’s relatives. No one made any effort to talk to anyone they didn’t know or introduce anyone to anybody (I tried, but got no where in particular), and I felt like I was plopped down into some random party with random strangers. Niece was sweet, appreciative, and gracious, but it was clear that the purpose of the party was for her mom to show off and party more than anything. I guess she has what she needs for the new little one (actually, she has about 3 of everything she needs as far as I can tell), but I definitely preferred the small, intimate, low key shower I had a lot more.

    • Whatkingsrings July 17, 2018, 1:55 pm

      100 people for a shower?? Wow. I’d feel like I was really at a wedding or a bat mitzvah instead! It sounds like it wasn’t about the baby at all, which is quite sad. It lacked the intimacy and fellowship that a shower is supposed to be about. And what’s a cozie?

      • LizaJane July 17, 2018, 9:06 pm

        A cozie, aka coozie or coolie, are those foam can/bottle holders for keeping drinks cold.

      • ladyv21454 July 18, 2018, 8:54 am

        A cozie is a fabric “sleeve” that you slide onto a beer (or soft drink) can to keep the beer cold longer. And yes, the idea of that as a baby shower favor boggles my mind.

  • bopper July 17, 2018, 10:35 am

    On the other hand, I have been on a email list (pre facebook) for a Due date group of 1993…and we are still going!
    So I would say lay low for a bit, but these groups can be very useful over the long run.

  • Catherine St. Clair July 17, 2018, 12:10 pm

    I don’t blame you a bit for wanting control over a party you agreed to host. It’s not a blank check for a friend to go hog-wild and spend your money on her dream baby shower. Set a budget, a guest limit, and a time limit.

  • KEMcL July 17, 2018, 6:25 pm

    My (Now long former) husband & I had been co-managers of a very nice mobile home park (Expensive doublewides) in California for less than a year when I got pregnant. We had relocated across the country & I didn’t have any close friends there. My husband asked one of the tenants (An acquaintance at best, but very nice) to throw me a surprise baby shower. He took care of the guest list.

    Having a baby shower had NEVER occurred to me. I was DEEPLY MORTIFIED to walk into the clubhouse (Which was where my office was) and see a large gathering of women from the park waiting with gifts.

    I had only talked to these women in the course of performing my managerial duties and exchanging pleasantries. I think they sensed my acute distress and their previously resentful faces (I think at feeling coerced into attending) melted into sympathetic kindness as they all sought to put me at ease. They got me some very nice gifts (Including a handmade baby quilt from the hostess).

    I promptly sent out thank you notes. Which, FYI, I had never done before, not having been taught to by my parents. However, the hostess kept a list of people & gifts and also gave me the cards, quietly explaining what they were for (I seriously had NO clue). I’m forever grateful (30 years later) for THAT lesson, even more so than the quilt, which I have kept despite my baby eventually becoming a man and several long distance moves.

    Many years later, my boyfriend (Now Hubby) of 18 years & I decided to get married. I refused all offers of a bridal shower. I was almost 50 – I think I HAVE or can certainly buy for myself anything I need.

    I suspect that lingering memories of my baby shower mortification MAY also have contributed to my absolute rejection of having a bridal shower.

    We also, despite MANY requests, refused to set up a registry. When people asked what we wanted or needed, we said that we just wanted them to come witness our wedding and enjoy the reception.

    Everyone came except for one person (He RSVPed “yes” but Hubby knew from the get-go that he wouldn’t show up – Too shy, but the point was he WAS invited to show my hubby’s high regard for him. About half our guests (~50 guests total) brought gifts. Half of those gifts were generous checks.

    EVERYONE promptly got a personal thank you note for attending, even the date of one guy that we had never met before. And their gift (If they gave one) was specifically mentioned in that note along with how much we liked
    it and would enjoy using it. Hubby and I split the note writing responsibilities. He even sent a note to the guy who didn’t show up, thanking him for calling after the wedding & reception to wish us well and to apologize for not coming (Warmheartedly assured all was good).

    I have only been to one baby shower besides mine (It was more than enough). It was about 2 years ago (Several months after my wedding). I went only because my best friend (BF) was hosting it for her daughter. My BF & I had only known each other for a few years and had bonded instantly. I had met the mother-to-be (MTB) but really didn’t know her. My BF needed help setting up then cleaning up after. The MTB was having her 1st baby, a boy.

    The MTB was, per printed on the the shower invite, registered at several baby stores. I stopped at one on my way to the shower, which was an hour away from my house, across a major city, at my BFs new house. I, with my son long past the baby stage, was not familiar with this store.

    The registry was 15 pages long. Things on that registry included multiple (For ONE baby) cribs, changing tables, car seats, swings, bouncy chairs, high chairs and strollers. Some of these things cost more than my 1st car (Which admittedly was 30 years ago and VERY used).

    I bought the cheapest thing on the registry, a $18 teething ring (Am I clueless or is that as exorbitant as I think it is?). Then I went off the baby shower registry reservation to Target & bought a bunch of NICE onesies in assorted sizes with cute trucks & dinosaurs on them, a large package of boy diapers (Not newborn), and hardcover Alphabet AND Dinner at the Panda Palace books. Altogether, I think I spent about $80 (Including card, HUGE gift bag that could accommodate the diapers along with everything else & tissue).

    There were over 150 people at the shower (Backyard event). Guests included the MTB’s sibling’s subordinates (She’s a bar manager & they were bartenders & wait staff) and some of my BF’s college students (She was their professor). These people had never met the MTB or her hubby AND they were NOT friends of the sibling or my BF.

    The gift opening took 4 hours. The only baby room furniture was purchased by my BF. She bought the Most Expensive Crib on Earth that isn’t a precious metal or jewel-encrusted ($4,500 – My BF bragged that the baby had to have the best). Other relatives took care of the other big ticket items. Most non-relative real friends provided gifts more or less on par with mine (The ones from Target). The sibling’s subordinates & BF’s students brought token gifts and snuck out as soon as possible. I saw very few things that I recognized from the registry of the store I had been to amongst the gifts from non-relatives.

    Now I am one of those quiet people who has learned to WATCH and I will often see, while not appearing to be looking at all, what others usually miss. So let me tell you what I saw…

    The MTB expressed delighted appreciation for each and every gift. However, the gifts were also immediatly (But quietly) sorted into almost NOT discernible keep & return piles. There was a third pile for diapers, wipes & such, which I only later realized also had keep & return sides.

    Gifts passed to mom of the MTB (My BF) went onto a pile to the left. Gifts passed to the sibling went onto a pile on the right. Sibling was getting a LOT more passed to her. Her available space was rapidly shrinking while my BF had plenty of space. It didn’t make sense (Yet).

    After my gift bag was opened about half way thru the gift opening extravaganza, the onesies & books (Not on the registry) went to the sibling. The diapers went to the diaper pile (The keep side as it turned out since they were specifically for boys). The teething ring (Only thing off the registry) was handed to my BF.

    Once attention was fixed on the MTB opening the next gift, my BF spoke quietly to the sibling who then “casually” searched for the onesies & books she just just put on the enormous pile o’ loot. Then (Trying to hide them at her side) she slipped them to my BF. My BF (Hiding them behind her) slowly sidestepped nonchalantly over to in front of her pile and slipped them down behind her onto her much smaller accumulation of loot. That was my “Ah-HA!” moment.

    It was during the cleanup, that I confirmed my suspicions of the purpose of the two piles. The MTB was supervising me load the keep pile into her SUV (Which would be nowhere near full when loaded) when she spotted the Target onesies & books. She called out to her mom (My BF) that there had been a mistake and these were supposed to be with the “stuff” (Return pile) in the garage. My BF hastily remarked that surely she (The MTB) wanted to take *MY* gifts with her tonight (Implying the rest would be taken home later despite the SUV still having room NOW). The MTB started to say she would just have to bring then back later but a look from my BF cut her off.

    So yeah, it was DEFINITELY a gift grab but at the very least the MTB wasn’t QUITE as obnoxiously obvious about it AT the actual party as many others have been (Many examples having been posted on this site).

    No thank you notes were sent but I did, despite my mostly non-registry gifts for Baby Boy #1, get an invite the shower for Baby Boy #2 the very next year (About a year ago). It was also hosted by my BF. I sent my regrets. My BF replied that I could drop off my gift before the shower. Lets see… Two hours of driving there and back to provide a gift to woman I barely know, that no doubt wouldn’t measure up and be returned? I don’t think so. I didn’t drop off a gift before the shower.

    My BF then called after the shower and left a message saying that I could drop off my gift the next weekend. She reminded me where the MTB was registered (Same stores). She said there was still lots to choose from in the $100 range and that the MTB was still hoping to get some of THOSE essentials (Making it clear my Target Faux pas should NOT be repeated).

    This really irritated me. Especially as I had NEVER dreamed of nagging her about getting around to giving my hubby and me ANY wedding gift after our wedding, LET ALONE told her what I thought she should spend on it. I had thought our friendship was based on far more than material objects. I guess I was wrong.

    I never dropped off the demanded gift. In the months since then we have had no contact whatsoever.

  • LizaJane July 17, 2018, 9:35 pm

    I’m not sure how one comes up with 100 person guest list, but for my baby shower, it was about 50. My aunts, female first cousins, sisters and sisters-in-law was 35 people.

    Husband’s family is much smaller and more scattered, but add his GM’s best friend (no bio family so she was included in everything), my best friend (since 4th grade), her mother and my mom’s best friend and it added up quickly.

    I’m not sure who shouldn’t have been invited.

  • Julie July 18, 2018, 2:05 pm

    I come from a culture where bridal showers and baby showers are not really the norm. Most friends and relatives just send money or a nice gift when an engagement or pregnancy is announced. The immediate family may get together to celebrate but that’s about it. I’ve always found these types of showers to be more painful than fun, even my baby shower was a lot of work for the hostess. I refused to have to have a bridal shower for this very reason.

  • Miss Jagger July 19, 2018, 12:06 pm

    I do not want to put all of the blame on the younger generations but I will say that the social media available today definitely seems to offer a platform for all those gimme pigs out there.

    I have a friend from college who has recently had her second baby. Prior to the baby’s arrival she posted several photos of the heartfelt cards she had received with a note that if others felt this way as well, they should feel free to send gifts too (I am not making this up). There was also a link to the schedule she had created so that well wishers could sign up for times to bring her meals, hold the baby for naps and do chores around the house. This is middle/upper class woman with a husband, parents, and in laws. She is also able bodied and 30.

  • Heather July 22, 2018, 1:17 pm

    As a mom to a 4 month old, those groups are ridiculous. Having a baby is expensive, I think we can all agree, but begging for donations through these groups (formula, clothes, etc.) and trying to strategize how to get the best gifts is absolutely outrageous (not to mention the appalling number of moms looking for medical advice from the Facebook universe). I appreciate those groups for posting sale notifications, activities for babies, and moral support, but I created my own group of local friends with similarly aged babies to get away from the gimme moms who have gone beyond just begging from their friends and family members to soliciting donations from strangers online!

    As to my own shower, I didn’t ask for one, but my best friends generously threw me a shower that had a total of about 15 of my closest family and friends and the focus was far from being on the gifts. My husband and I also threw a BBQ for about 50 people as a last hoorah before baby that specifically said not to bring gifts just as a way to see everyone before I disappeared into the cave of motherhood for a few months, and it was a blast! No present opening, no lame games, just socializing and hanging out with our guests.

    As to the registries, businesses have gotten smart and offer discounts and credits for percentages of your registry being purchased, so even if you expect others to purchase gifts, you are compelled to make one to try to earn those discounts. Also, joke was on me with my registry, I had no clue what I actually needed, so most of it was returned anyways when I realized what the baby actually needed!!!

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