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I received a baby shower invitation from a friend a couple months ago. This is what it said....   

You are invited to BLANK'S baby shower on march 7th 2006 at 2pm to help us celebrate the upcoming arrival of BLANK'S birth.   ( Meanwhile 3 gift registry slips fall out of envelope including target, babies r us, and baby depot)   This is a potluck so please bring a salad, appetizer or meat dish. Please also bring a box of diapers.   Hope to see you there! ( Yea right)   

So I am thinking, should I also bring some decorations, maybe the cake too? Geez, I can not believe some people.  Can you see everyone arriving at the shower with arms FULL of gift, box of diapers, AND a potluck dish!?!



My husband's older daughter, Jean, was expecting a baby, and  I decided I would host a shower.  I had hosted her bridal shower, which went very well.  So well in fact, that I was very disappointed at how badly she behaved throughout the planning of this new shower. 

I guess I have the wrong idea about these things, but I think it's rude to make demands on someone who is doing you a kindness.  From the moment I made known my decision to do this party, I regretted it.  The ONLY thing I wanted from her was 1) the addresses of her in-laws, and 2) a date.  That's all.  What did she tell me?  "I only want one shower."  Uh, okay.    And, "I don't want any men at this shower."    

I got into my party planning mode, and began thinking of neat menu ideas.  I thought of creating a lovely tea party, and mentally arranged my home to accommodate all the table settings that it would entail.  I looked through all my cookbooks for more ideas.      Then one day I went to see my husband's other daughter, Sally.  She told me about a conversation she'd had with Jean.  Evidently, Jean was agonizing about this shower.  She was worried that there wouldn't be enough parking at our house.  It wasn't a problem for her bridal shower, and that was in the winter!  Why would it be a problem now?  She whined to Sally that she really wanted it in a restaurant.  That was enough for me.   My husband, their father, has always been very proud of the parties I host.  I told him I was going to email Sally and tell her, all things considered, it might be better if she took over the planning of this party, that Jean would be happier if it were in a restaurant.  DH really wanted me to reconsider, but realized it was pointless when I told him this was what she wanted.    

I was still handing the cake, since I knew a very good baker, as well as the invitations.  Sally sent me the names and addresses, AND the inserts from the shop where she was registered.  Those, I threw into the circular file them moment I got them.  She was positively ballistic over the phone, screaming HOW WILL PEOPLE KNOW WHERE TO BUY ANYTHING?!?!?   By now, I was so sick of the whole thing, I wanted to boycott the whole affair completely.    I now have nothing whatsoever to do with showers at all.  I have since learned that in other countries they are unheard of, that it is tasteless to host a party which sole purpose is to extract loot from the guests. 


After dating for a few months, my 26-year old brother “Chip” moved in with his 18-year old girlfriend “Cindy”.  A few months later, he proudly announced that she was pregnant.  My family and I were shocked and a little fearful, as Chip may mean well, but he isn’t what you would call parent material.  Nevertheless, we all wished him well.  

A few months later, Chip called my mom and asked her if she could help with a shower that Cindy’s sister was throwing.  My mom said OK and offered to print up the invites.  Later that day, she was greeted to an email listing the NINETY people they wanted to invite.  Even more impressive was the info for three different registries that they wanted printed right on the invites.  All three registries were comprised of very high-end items, such as a $400 crib, $350 stroller, etc.  I called Chip to let him know that having a registry was fine, but that that info did not belong even with the invite, never mind on it.  Chip responded that I was full of it and that he had spoken to several girls at his work and they all agreed “that was how it was done”.  Chip then called our mother to comment how I must be jealous of all the gifts he was going to get, as why else would I lie about putting the info on the invites?  Needless to say, I did not attend his gimmie-gimmie extravaganza.


My mom called to tell me that my second cousin, Michelle, was having a baby shower on Sunday at Aunt Karen's house (Michelle's grandmother) from 3pm to 5pm and she was having a boy.  I figured I would go but I was a little pissed that I was not sent an invitation, my mom's invitation was addressed to both of us.  I was even more pissed when I found out that my sister Tina received an invitation MAILED DIRECTLY TO HER HOME.  I am 39 and single but I own my own home.  I should have stayed home but I did want to see other cousins that I knew would be at the shower.   

My mom called me Sunday morning to tell me she forgot to tell me that we were supposed to RSVP.  I told her that if they had sent me an invitation of my very own I would have seen to note the RSVP and I would have.  My mom said she mentioned this to Aunt Karen when she had RSVP'd.  Aunt Karen said she didn't have my address.  My mom told her that it was in the phone book (not to mention Aunt Karen could have called her to ask).  Aunt Karen said she didn't think to look in the phone book because there was a period when my address wasn't in there...NOT TRUE!  Because I do have a land line my address has always been in the phone book.  There was one small period (9 months) after I separated from my husband and lived in an apartment (before I bought my condo) when it was in  between book printings.  I have lived in the condo 5 years as of September and it has been in the phone book all that time!  

I have decided this is the last shower or wedding I will ever attend if I do not receive a personally addressed invitation to my home (not parent's) address.  Isn't the rule of etiquette that you should send a separate invitation to any child over the age of 21 that does not live with their parents?  I haven't lived with my parents since I was 18!    

Anyway...I took my return address labels and some 3x5 cards.  I put my label on the card and wrote in my phone number.  I handed them to Aunt Karen and cousin Lisa (my first cousin/Michelle's mom) at the baby shower.  Aunt Karen said since she only had my cell phone number in her address book she didn't think I had a land line so I wouldn't be in the phone book.  Flawed logic!   Also, now that I think of it I don't think that I ever received a thank you note from Michelle for her wedding present which was last August (a year and a month ago).  Thank you notes are supposed to be sent out within a year of the wedding.  Do you think she sent it to my parent's house and they forgot to tell me?



I received a baby shower invitation recently.  Enclosed in the invitation was one of those store-issued registry cards, which reads:

“Baby’s registered at Bullseye* and*.  But what if Baby’s picky?  Better get a gift receipt.”

Hold on.  BUT WHAT IF BABY’S PICKY????  Last I checked, newborns didn’t ask for much except regular feedings, clean diapers, and lots of cuddling.  And besides, the whole point of a registry is so the parents-to-be can be as choosy as they like about which make, model, and color of everything they receive!  If you don’t want it, don’t register for it!  This smacks of the “all I really want is the cash but I can’t come right out and tell you so I’ll just return your gift the first chance I get” tackiness we’ve read about so many, many times on Etiquette Hell.  The fact that large companies are endorsing this type of behavior is, while unsurprising, rather sad.

Guess I’ll just get “Baby” a gift certificate….


My friend and his wife were recently married.  The wife is from a well-to-do family, while my friend comes from a more financially modest background.   The newlyweds are expecting a child very soon.  She has a child from a previous relationship; the family said "so what" and decided to hold a baby shower anyway. I think it's very nice--it is, after all, their first child together.  I know tradition used to dictate a shower be held for just the first child, but times are changing.   My friend called his mother and said, "How much can you contribute to the shower?"  His mother said she'd give $200.  Where we live, this is a goodly sum of money with which to plan a baby shower.  Typically, a family member holds the shower at their home and everyone brings a dish to pass along with a gift, and a good time is had by all.  Or someone will have access to a community room at a condo or apartment complex, and the group will gather there.  My friend said to his mother, "Well, when I talked to you before, you said you'd give us $500."  My friend's mother said, "Well, if that's what I said, then that's what I'll give you."  Even though the mother wasn't sure that's exactly what had happened, she was prepared to stand by it.   

The new wife got on the phone at that point and hollered at her mother-in-law about how cheap she was, and that she hadn't done anything to help with their wedding (untrue, the mother-in-law gave a substantial amount of money to help pay for the reception and also hosted the rehearsal dinner, even though the bridezilla-wife called all the shots on it), and that she wasn't giving enough money to help with this baby shower, which was already being arranged to be held at an expensive banquet hall complete with expensive catering, etc.   It has been three weeks, and the bridezilla-wife has not apologized, and my friend's mother feels shell-shocked and wondering what in the world she did wrong to deserve such a tongue-lashing.  My friend hasn't spoken to his mother either. I think it's the ultimate in tacky to call someone and tell them how much they have to contribute to a party, when they're not invited to help plan the party. It's very much as if the newlywed expectant bridezilla wife from hell decided that she was going to have a party, and other people were going to pay for it, and if they didn't comply, then they were just cheap skinflints. 

I'm sure whatever gift I bring will not be up to the wife-momzilla's standards, and if I give a certificate to a store where she's registered, it won't be a big enough amount.  I'm debating whether or not to find an excuse to not attend (prior commitment, etc) because I really don't like my friend's new wife. I'm happy for him that he's married and has a child on the way, but I think his wife's behavior is deplorable.   


My husband’s step-sister baby was due four months before my husband and I were due.  About a month before her due date, a shower was being thrown for her.  I had only met the step-sister twice prior to the shower.  I am still not sure who the hostess was as I never received an actual invitation, just a phone call from the Grandmother-to-Be, my husband’s step-mother.  As my husband and I live about 2 ½ hours away and not having an easy pregnancy at all, we decided that to attend the shower, we would have to go down the Friday night prior to the shower and stay with husband’s family.  (I get along very well with my husband’s father and step-mother and consider step-mother to be my mother-in-law as my husband’s mother is deceased.)  I called my MIL a few weeks before the shower to confirm the time and ask for gift ideas.  I then went to the store and picked out a few gifts for the baby and also a few things just for mom, i.e. facial mask, foot lotion, etc.  I even searched for and found wrapping paper to match the nursery décor as I was told the wrapping paper would be carefully saved to line the nursery dresser drawers.

The weekend of the shower comes around and my husband and I make the drive the night before.  The next day, I get up and get ready for the shower.  I ride with my MIL to the shower.  On the way there, she told me she had a great idea for the shower and I could use it at mine as well.  Her idea?  At the end of the shower, her daughter was to stand up and give a verbal thank you to all the guests for attending and the gifts, that a written Thank You note would be too much work for a new mom!  I was shocked and stated that if I had a baby shower (seeing as I wouldn’t be throwing one for myself) that I would still do Thank You notes as I had been raised that it was the proper thing to do.  MIL then informed me that written thank you notes were passé and I would have too much to do with the baby to write them.  Anyway…

Silly story contributor!  Of course thank you notes are passé in Gimme Pig World!  You're supposed to be grovelingly appreciative of having been given the opportunity to work at a job and spend your money on shower gifts with no expectation of ever receiving gratitude.  Get with the program, girl!  That's how it done in Gimme Pig World!

We arrive at the shower a bit early as MIL needs to help set up.  I pitched in to put out the food, set up chairs, etc.  The Mom-to-Be never acknowledged my presence there, not even with a hello, but I figured it was due to everyone scurrying around trying to get things ready.  After the shower, the ONE verbal Thank You was given to the entire room of about 50 guests then clean-up began.  I went up to the Mom-to-Be and thanked her for having me, congratulated her on her upcoming girl, and complimented her on a few of her gifts.  She did thank me for coming the distance to attend the shower.  She never did send out Thank You notes.

Two months later, due to complications, I gave birth to my daughter.  She arrived 12 weeks early.  We were totally unprepared and spent most of our free time visiting our baby in the NICU.  A friend threw us a baby shower a few weeks after the baby came home from the hospital when things had settled down a bit.  (Caring for a preemie, in the hospital or at home, takes up a lot of time!)  Said step-sister-in-law was mailed an invitation.  No RSVP and she did not attend the shower as she was too busy with her baby.  Understandable.  But, I did manage to send written thank you notes to all who attended the shower, gave or sent gifts, and all who brought us food during the hospital ordeal.  I didn’t have a lot of free time, but I couldn’t NOT send out thank you notes.


This was pretty recent, but I couldn't help but post this to let others know what NOT to do!   Several months ago I received an invitation in the mail to my father's cousins' baby shower. Right off there are 3 major problems:  1) she spelled my name wrong, 2) I live 14 hours away, and 3) no one knew she was pregnant! My mother and my aunt decide that they will attend and the three of us will go in together on a gift (well over $200, most expensive thing on all THREE of her registries). 

About a week before the shower my aunt decides she can't go because of her health. My mother and father are still planning on going, but had the gift delivered and sent a card to the cousin just to be on the safe side (my mother has scary intuition). Sure enough, the day before the shower my mother is admitted to the hospital needing emergency surgery. My father, focusing on my mother and trying to make sure that my grandmother is taken care of (my mother being her main help) forgets to call his aunt and let her know they can't make it.

Nine days after the shower my aunt gets a nasty phone call from my great aunt. How dare we not attend the shower or even send a gift! Aunt protests that she said she could not be there and my mother was in the hospital, and that I had never planned on being there and they knew that, BUT a gift was most definitely sent. Then she calls my father and bawls him out as well. He calmly explained what had happened and that they had sent the gift and card directly to his cousin two weeks before, just not through her, but to please not discuss this with my mother as she is still feeling poorly.

It was only at this point that anyone thought to ask what my great aunt, her daughters and daughter in law got me for my baby shower two years before--a $30 gift card two months after my daughter was born and they RSVP'd yes to the shower and then did not show--no phone calls or hospitalizations to excuse them either!

I don't care about the gift from them, if I did I would have spent far less on my cousin, who I am hoping is clueless about her mother's actions. I just want people to realize that an invitation does not automatically mean a gift and that if the person lives more than a few hours away then they should not receive an invitation!



I was invited to the baby shower of a co-worker of mine and my husbands. I wouldn't call the mother to be a friend, a close acquaintance.

First, the baby shower was for her 2nd child. Okay, that's fine. I understand a little bit - it's a second marriage, first child for mom to be and her 2nd husband.

Arrive at the shower just fine, get seated and the first thing the 'hostess' does is hand everyone a small sheet of blank paper. She asks all attendees to write their name and address on it. Okay, maybe I'm not up on all the baby shower games. Then a few minutes later, the hostess tells the group that everyone is addressing... wait for it.. their own thank you notes. Oh yes, I have the honor of filling out part of my thank you note. She explains that the mom to be will be much to busy with the new baby (who is already born at that point) to fill out addresses to thank you cards.

Hoo-kay. I shrug that one off and dutifully fill out my name and address. Just as I finish the zip code, another guest at the party - I think some sort of relative to the mom to be, bellows at the top of her lungs, 'Heck, why even do this, the mom to be can just thank everyone here.'



Some of the women in our church group hosted a baby shower for another member of the group who was expecting her first child. The hostesses did a lovely job and the shower was well-attended. It came time for the mom-to-be to open the gifts and everyone watched and commented appreciatively while munching on appetizers and passing the gifts around to admire.

Toward the end, the mom-to-be opened a very large gift which was from one of the women in our church group, "Leigh". It turned out to be the car seat she had registered for, a rather extravagant gift from a person with whom she wasn't particularly close. The mom-to-be was suitably impressed and thanked Leigh profusely for such a nice gift. Leigh then said, loudly enough to carry over all the background noise, "Oh it's nothing. I found it on sale at Wal-Mart so it only cost me $XX."

There was total silence in the room for several long seconds. Fortunately, the mom-to-be, ever gracious, thanked her again and moved on to the next gift. The rest of us gratefully went back to watching, noshing, and commenting.

Later, after all the gifts had been opened, five of us were standing around chatting in a group which included Leigh. I don't remember what in the conversation precipitated this comment, but Leigh felt the need to mention again how she couldn't believe what a good deal she had gotten on that car seat and started to go into an exact breakdown of the discount. Simultaneously, two of the women in our group turned around and started to pick up more hors d'oeuvre from the dining room table, and another woman and I turned toward each other as if we were going to leave the group and have a private conversation. Before she could finish her sentence, Leigh was suddenly talking to no one. I guess each of us thought at least one other person might stick around to hear her painfully tacky gloating.


There seems to be a real fondness at the moment for this little poem to appear on baby Shower invites:   

For Naptime and PlayTime and Feeding 
There are so many things that XXX will be needing 
Let's Get Together with our mum to be 
And shower her with gifts because baby makes 3.   

Now I don't approve of that generally because the focus is on the presents, not the impending joyous arrival but I recently got it on a card from a mum-to-be who was hosting HER OWN SHOWER.   And then I found out it was the SECOND shower she was hosting for herself - she had one in her hometown and one where we now live. Gimme gimme gimme.


I attended a baby shower for a “step-relative”.  I brought a beautiful gift and I was the perfect guest.  I later found out that this young woman had three showers; one hosted by her sister, one hosted by her mother-in-law, and one hosted by her co-workers.  The mother-in-law comes from a huge family so obviously she wanted her daughter -in -law to profit from this connection.  She even invited her four ex-sisters- in-law, who would have never even wanted to be seen in the same room as this woman. Why would anyone need three baby showers?  Gift grab, pure and simple.  Next time I find out someone is having multiple showers, I am going to down-size my spending and let the greedy little honoree figure it out for herself.  P.S.  Same subject had four or five wedding showers. I should have seen it coming.



Even as I type this story, I feel like no one will believe it. I still can't believe it myself and I witnessed it personally.

My sister, "Emily" had a baby right after she graduated high school. She wasn't living with our mother at the time, so Mom hosted the baby shower for her. It was rather low-key with about a dozen people invited, which were mostly Emily's friends from school, plus family members. We were all having a good time until Emily's friend "Monica" and her sister showed up.

Monica and her sister had a girl with them that no one knew who was around 17 to 19 years old. (I mention her age merely because she should have known better. Well, even a child should have known better, but I digress.) Monica pulled my mother aside and whispered an apology. She said that this girl, "Stacy", was a friend of her sister's who had been dropped off at Monica's house for a visit earlier in the day. No one had come to pick her up at the agreed-upon time. Since Stacy lived so far away and they were already late because of waiting for the ride that never came, Monica had brought her along, not knowing what else to do with her. My mother just smiled pleasantly and said, "The more the merrier and a chance to meet a new friend!" Little did she know...

Stacy remained silent, sitting in a chair in the corner, clutching a duffle bag to her chest during the party. My sister's friends and the family tried to draw her out of her shell but she had very little to say. She blended into the wall so much that no one noticed when she disappeared.

A while later, I was going into the hall closet to fetch something from my coat pocket when I heard water running upstairs. I whispered to my mother about it, figuring that one of the children at the party might have gone upstairs and turned on a faucet. Everyone was supposed to be using the downstairs bathroom, so it seemed odd, but kids can be mischievous and I couldn't think of any other explanation off-hand.

My mother went upstairs and came down a minute or so later with her eyes bugging from their sockets. "It's Stacy," she muttered to me. "She's up there taking a SHOWER."

"She's WHAT?" I said, thinking I must have misheard.

"She's in the shower," my mother repeated, shaking her head. "I walked into the bathroom because the door was ajar and there she was. She just poked her head around the curtain and looked at me. I said 'Oh, excuse me' and left because I just... I didn't know what to say."

"Emily..." I said, thinking she must have allowed this total stranger to shower in the middle of her party for some unknown reason. Perhaps the girl had had some sort of accident... I approached my sister when I could get her away for a moment and asked her about the girl upstairs bathing. Her jaw dropped and then she burst into laughter. Stacy had said nothing to her. We decided just to keep quiet about it rather than making a scene and go on with the party.

Stacy came back downstairs a while later, resumed her chair and waited until Monica was ready to leave. Without a word, she followed Monica out the door, never to be seen nor heard of again.

When we went up to the bathroom after everyone had left, we found my mother's makeup scattered over the counter top and her toothbrush suspiciously damp. Nothing was missing, but everything had been used. We ended up throwing away a lot of expensive cosmetics and Mom used her travel toothbrush until she could get to the store for a new one. I just can't imagine someone slipping away, going upstairs and looking around until they found a bathroom and then deciding it was a great opportunity to take a quick shower.

To this day, no one else knows about it, but I'm sure they all wonder why we laugh when we look at the shower pictures and see Stacy sitting in the back of the room, clutching that big bag.


This isn’t quite a faux pas, but it was funny.

A coworker of mine, “Kate”, was expecting her first child.  Our workplace was almost entirely young women so we decided to throw her a small, informal baby shower in addition to the one given by her mother (none of us really knew her family, anyway).  We closed early on Thursdays so it was scheduled for a Thursday afternoon about six weeks before the baby was due, at the nearby home of one of our supervisors.

That Thursday, we all scrambled to get our work done and get the place cleaned up on time before our boss found an extra project to keep us there all afternoon.  We were almost ready to go when Kate came out of the bathroom and said calmly, “I think my water just broke.  Could someone give me a ride to the hospital?”

Shock (after all, this was the *day of* the baby shower and she wasn’t due for a month and a half!), and then panic.  Teresa threw Kate into her car and took off for the nearest hospital.  The rest of us finished cleaning, gathered up the gifts and snacks we had brought for the party afterwards, and went home.  Another coworker later collected all the gifts and took them to Kate’s house in person, since most of us had gotten her useful items from her registry list.

We ended up setting a new date for three months later and the baby got to go to his own shower!


Anyway, my fiancé and I were happy to hear in July of 2007 that his older sister (We'll call her "Maggie") was pregnant with her first baby. We were so ecstatic that Maggie and I decided we would even do some baby shopping together. Maggie and I were very close, or so I thought... I hadn't realized that she'd been using me and her brother and I would later find this out. 

Big mistake #1:  Maggie requested that my fiancé and I go together and buy her a VERY expensive crib that we could not afford (she knew this as I had just been laid off of work and so her brother was the only one who had a job). We suggested we'd get it for her for Christmas to which she replied: "NO! This crib is for the BABY! You can't get it for ME for Christmas!" We were so appalled by this that we didn't buy her the crib or a Christmas present at all. (Ironically, her mom bought the crib for her for Christmas!)

As the year went on my fiancé came with me to see my family for Christmas. Over Christmas he and I had a falling out with Maggie because we were both tired of her using us. When we told her that we were tired of being invited to her house to CLEAN and also instructed to BRING OUR OWN FOOD, she threw a hissy fit. It would have been fine had she done it once, or even twice, but she did this EVERY weekend! It was a huge argument with several abusive e-mails from her and my fiancé was very angry. At that time we found out about big mistake #2,  Maggie was planning her own baby shower!

Big Mistake 3#:  A few days after the e-mails had been sent I received another e-mail from Maggie requesting my address. I prompted why and got a reply of "I really want my brother there and he won't come unless you do." My reply "You do realize that it's RUDE to invite someone to a baby shower just so someone else will go, right?" Her response "Well, I was also thinking that this could be a way for you and I to start over." So I gave her my address.

Big Mistake #4:  Maggie decided to use her father for everything including painting the baby's room, moving the washer, rearranging furniture and so forth. Her husband (we'll call him "Joe") was there every single time her dad came over to do something for the baby! I don't know why Joe was allowed to sit on his butt instead of doing the things needed for HIS child. My fiancé felt so bad for his dad (who would always hear "Well, if you REALLY love me then you'll do it!") that he went along with his dad on one of these excursions...

This was big mistake #5:  Maggie began to send my fiancé text messages fussing at him on his way to her house to help paint the nursery. My fiancé was so angry that he actually called her and told her to stuff it or he would force his father to turn around and they could paint the baby's room. Her response "I'm PREGNANT and Joe has been dealing with it all month!" My fiancé's response "Well HE got you pregnant, I did NOT!"

Big Mistake #6:  At Maggie's baby shower (remember, we were supposed to be working things out) I was CLEARLY not welcome. She did not speak to me except to inform me that about 30 people were expected and since there wasn't enough seating (or space) us "kids" would have to sit in the floor. I have a knee problem which is not fixable and I'm not supposed to sit in the floor! She knew this as I was on crutches for a month and was at her house CLEANING for all of those weekends! Not to mention, I had to miss MY niece's birthday party for this baby shower!

Big Mistake #7:  My fiancé and I decided to go visit my family for Spring Break and his sister was livid because "What if the baby is born while you're down there? You HAVE to be there when the baby is born!" Why does he need to be there? We'd planned this trip BEFORE she got pregnant! He flat out told her he'd had enough of her and the baby nonsense and when that baby was born he could visit her ANY TIME! So, we went on vacation. I'm assuming as payback we were not informed of the baby's birth until my fiancé's mom called us TWO hours after the baby had been born! She had forgotten but had managed to call my fiancé's half sisters and Maggie's best friend! My fiancé was so angry! Then at about midnight, Maggie calls and informs us of the child's birth. My fiancé tells her that he had already been informed and that we were sleeping. I was angry to be able to hear Maggie's response "Who the h*ll can sleep when a baby has just been born?!" Well, we'd been awake since you'd been induced and NEVER got a call about what was going on! We were utterly exhausted!

Since then, my contact with my future SIL has been VERY limited. We talk every once in awhile, but otherwise, we don't have much contact. I have yet to be able to visit her and the new baby as I have yet to be invited. But hey, as long she doesn't decide to have a SECOND one, I'll be perfectly fine. 


Page Last Updated September 18, 2008