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This is my first pregnancy and I had my baby shower last Sunday.  My older sister was the hostess for my party and she managed to not only humiliate me with the horrid invitations, but she didn't even bother to show up for it! My sister plays the French Horn professionally and instead of hosting the party, she decided she'd rather go to New York for a horn lesson instead.  I wasn't told in advance that she wouldn't be there - since she knew a few days ahead of time that she wouldn't - but she didn't even call while I was at my parents house to apologize to me or even say "Hi!"  After I got home, however, I called my parents back to let them know that we'd arrived home safely and when I spoke to my sister on the phone, even THEN she didn't apologize to me.



I have a "friend" who should know better, but does all of her thank you notes by computer.  She has a good job, came from a pretty strict home, yet never learned how ungrateful it seems to people who spent their hard-earned money on her.  My Mom and I attended her baby shower.  She was expecting twins and, although I no longer saw her as much as when we were younger, we bought her an Exersaucer...pretty expensive.  The thank you note was computer generated.  I mean, come on...anyone could figure out that it's a fill-in-the-blanks-type deal.

Also, we attended the Christening of the twins that June of 2000.  Again, we received a computer-generated thank you.  Plus, we lost touch after that.  Foolish me for trying to be kind to someone we always knew was selfish!


I feel like this is partly a case of bad etiquette on my part, however I still don't know what I should have done differently...   My best friend was pregnant and was talking about baby showers, and I think she was hoping that I would volunteer to host it since I'm her best friend, which I did and was really happy to do.  This was in her 1st trimester when we first started talking about it, so we had several months to plan it.  Over the course of a few weeks I tried to get some details as to what she wanted, but most of the time she happily said, "Oh whatever you think will be fine!" She wanted me to choose everything for her, so she could just relax and have fun, which was fine with me, although I felt a little unsure of myself since I'd never planned a baby shower, and only been to one before in my life.    

So I contact her husband to get his help with a guest list and try and figure out some more of her preferences since I want to be as sure as possible that I do things that she'll like and she's not dropping any hints or anything for most of the decisions.  She has a huge circle of friends, but I don't know any of them or their contact info or anything, so contacting her husband is imperative for that anyway (she wanted me to make up the guest list too).  So she had given me his phone number before, although I've never called him before, so I call him up and tell him what we've been talking about and what not, and he says he wants to make the shower a SURPRISE baby shower for her!  I tell him that this won't work because she already knows I'm planning a shower, and he says that we'll tell her I'm too busy to do the shower, so we just can't do one, then we'll surprise her later.    

I'm sure everyone reading this will agree with me that this is just a BAD idea, for many reasons!  I mean, how can I just suddenly tell her I'm "too busy" now after committing and talking about it for so long?  That's sooo bad!  I would never actually do that to her, and having her think that I would would be just terrible!  And you don't mess with a pregnant woman's emotions!  And she would be so sad and SO disappointed because she would think that now she doesn't get to have any baby shower.  Isn't that just horrible?  So I explain all this to her husband, but he keeps clinging to the statement that, "But she'll be SO happy later!  She loves surprises!"  So we argue about it for a long time, but he keeps insisting on this course of action, and after a while I feel like I just have to go along with it.  After all, she is his wife, he logically has first say as to the plans for this kind of thing.  So I finally say okay but once again outline my concerns and tell him one moment of surprise isn't worth months of disappointment, etc (I also tried for the idea of two showers, but he wouldn't go for that either.)   

When I go to tell my friend, I feel so horrible, I just can't do it.  So I tell her honestly what's going on and that her husband wants to make it a surprise, and she told me that she was so happy I told her because she would have been SO disappointed (of course!) and she agreed to pretend like she thought it was cancelled.  I feel like a rat, but I'm kind of glad too that now she wouldn't feel so bad.   

But, to make matters worse, one time her husband calls me in the evening when my husband was home, and after the call my husband gets really mad at me for talking to him.  He knew I was planning my friend's shower and I had told him about the surprise idea and everything and he knew that I was talking to her husband once in a while, but he just started yelling at me and saying that her husband is famous for trying to have long phone conversations with other people's wives (he DOES tend to go on and on, and I've heard about this problem once from my friend) and that I shouldn't be talking to him because he likes to flirt yada yada.  "So how am I supposed to plan the baby shower?" I ask.  (I ask if emailing would be okay, but that was the same to him.)  But my husband just was in a bit of a rage and was totally unreasonable, and just said that if hosting this shower meant talking to this guy on a regular basis, then I had better just drop the shower. 

 One strange thing is though, that this guy is one of my husband's good friends.  You'd think he'd trust him a little...   Unfortunately this is not the first time my husband has been paranoid about other men flirting with me or me supposedly flirting with other men (I don't).  He was so upset I could tell that if I didn't drop it this would turn into a "you like him", "he and your friend are more important than me", "maybe we should separate for awhile till you get your priorities straight" kind of serious discussion, so I feel I had no choice, I agreed that I'd drop it.  So then I tell my sensitive, pregnant friend, that I'm sorry, I can't host your baby shower because it's "too hard to correspond with your husband, it's easier if just one person plans it and he really wants to plan it" which is kind of true I guess.  

So now of course I feel even more horrible than before.  When her husband calls again, I tell him something similar and give him all the info that my friend and I had previously worked out.  Then her husband for some reason (I guess he really wants to make sure it's a surprise and that I hadn't tipped her off after I told him I couldn't do it) makes a big deal one night about how sorry he is that she won't have a baby shower, so then my poor friend thinks that the whole thing really is off, and she's not getting any shower, surprise or otherwise.  She cried a lot that night.  (She told me this later, after the shower.)   

So, to make an already long story shorter, after that her husband never quite treated me the same, since he was peeved that I just suddenly didn't want to help anymore, which is understandable, since of course he didn't know the real reason.  My friend though, bless her heart, never at all got mad at me, she was so understanding and when the shower actually happened, she thought I actually had helped plan it, an idea I didn't point out the error in since I was feeling so guilty.  The shower was very nice, and she was very happily surprised, and it went very smoothly.  I'm waiting for the day when they actually talk about it more and she finds out that I suddenly really did stop helping with it :(  But really, what could I do here?  I feel like at every point I was trapped with no good way to resolve anything.  And although she had a very happy, lovely shower, thanks to her husband, that still doesn't make up for the months she was so sad, thinking she was going to miss out on one.   Moral of the story: Save surprises for things that are unexpected!  Don't crush someone's dreams just so you can surprise them with it later. 



Two of my very good friends are expecting their first child. Because they are the first in my close group of friends to have a baby everyone is really excited and ready for a great baby shower. So- another friend and I were planning on arranging a pretty traditional baby shower for 'Mommy' and were getting all the plans ready until we received an email from 'Daddy.' Daddy tells us that he and another friend are planning the shower and it would be at a very nice restaurant, which is fine- a little odd that the father is planning the shower but I let it go and was a little relieved to have the burden taken off. I offered to help out with decorations or favors, etc.

A few days later we received another email from Daddy. This email stated that the recipients of the email (about 8 or us) were the 'lucky ones' who are in the top circle of friends and therefore have to split the cost of the shower since it is too much for just the one friend and Daddy to cover on their own. As bad as this is, he tells us that no gift would be needed, pitching in is enough of a gift. So he expects the 'top circle' of friends to show up at a shower without a gift in hand so we can look bad in front of all the other guests who are expected to bring a gift, who probably have no idea who is actually paying for the shower.

So I decided to send Daddy a reply to tell him this is an all around bad idea and being such good friends we all would probably want to get a gift (my way of hinting we'd rather bring a gift then pay money) after all that is the point of a baby shower. In addition Mommy has decided not to register which sends everyone's tempers off since it is basically impossible to shop not knowing what other gifts their getting, what kind of things they want, etc.

In Daddy's reply to me he admits that he knows people will most likely pitch in the money AND also bring a gift, and was just feeling around to see how much money people would be willing to contribute to the cost of the shower. What's worse is she's having another shower with her family and is expecting to get the majority of her gifts there so it kind of explains why they'd rather have us pay for the shower then give gifts. The sad thing is I think if Mommy knew what was going on she could potentially be very angry.. One tip of advice- do not let men plan a baby shower!!



About a year and a half ago my friend who we will call "Stephanie" volunteered to throw me a baby shower. I was touched and accepted her kind offer.

She asked if there was anyone I would like to invite outside our shared group of friends and since I am rather uncomfortable being 'showered' I gave her the contact information for my mother and a two other local women who had met with this group on several occasions who's feelings I thought might be hurt if it was mentioned in front of them and they hadn't been invited.

Stephanie never sent me an invitation to the shower, just told me where and when to show up. She had reserved a room in a local tea house (which serves traditional English afternoon tea.) I was a little surprised as I was expecting a more casual affair but I was really touched that she would go to so much trouble for me.

Then came the afternoon of the shower. My mother and I arrived together and all the introductions were made. We then sat down to tea. The proprietress of the establishment explained our choices savory vs sweet food, tea choices etc. It was really a lovely party.

Unfortunately this is where the enormous faux pas began (at least that's what I thought at the time.) As we were finishing up the proprietress brought everyone separate checks! Evidently this had been discussed with Stephanie beforehand but I don't believe it was discussed with the guests! The bill for the cake was then presented to Stephanie and she asked everyone to chip in on it at the table! I was beyond mortified, but reached for my wallet. (My mother would have none of that and quite graciously paid both our portions.)

As my mother and I drove back to my house I apologized profusely and my mother had a good chuckle. She then made a remark about not being to surprised given the invitation. Remember that I had not been sent an invitation and had no idea what they were like.

It turns out that the invitations were evites, that did not bother me in the slightest. What did bother me was the wording of the invitation. I can't recall it word for word now but the gist was essentially this:

Please come and celebrate the impending birth of *Julie's* baby boy. Julie likes Baby Gap and Gymboree and does not care for clothing with characters (this is true enough but the only reason she knew that was because she had gone with me while I was shopping for baby things myself, I didn't even register and I would never in a million years turn up my nose at any present anyone gave me ever, nor would I ever point out my lack of fondness for a style of clothing that many in our circle do like.) 

There were a few more sentences that were equally horrific and then a sign up list (like for a potluck) where people were asked to sign up for the clothing size they would like to bring, I guess so I wouldn't just receive newborn clothes.

I am still chagrined even thinking about it, the worst part is I honestly believe that Stephanie was just trying to be nice in her own completely clueless way. My mother bless her heart was so relieved when I told her that not only had I not had any part in the planning of the party or invitation but was beside myself with embarrassment, that she looked like she was going to cry.



A friend of mine just got married last year.  She and her husband decided to have a child together; she has two from two previous relationships already.  We just found out she's having yet another shower.  She's had two already but she registered for the newest as if it's her first (strollers, car seats, etc...).  She already got all of that stuff with her last two kids.    Not to say she shouldn't celebrate the newest baby, but it seems to me to be a gimme fest.  It would be different if there was more time between the kids; my little sister is 17 years younger than me and there were no other kids in between so my mom didn't have anything.  We need to figure out a different way to celebrate our children without looking like we're begging for stuff.



Our best friends, Rick and Anna, were having their second baby. Anna, had thrown me a wonderful baby shower the previous summer for my first child. She really went all out and it was just lovely. So despite the "no 2nd baby shower" rule I thought I'd have a mini diaper-and-wipes shower for her with just a few of her girlfriends, something to cheer her up in those final uncomfortable months of pregnancy. I called Rick in January and told him I wanted to do something for Anna. Rick told me that Anna's boss's wife, Remi, was planning on throwing her a surprise shower and I was welcome to help her out.

I called Remi in the middle of January (the baby was due April 1). But Remi never called me back. Finally on February 25th she returned my call. Remi told me that she was throwing Anna a shower 7 days later and could I be there since I was the godmother. There were no written invitations; all the phone calls were made one week in advance. I told Remi I was sorry but the following weekend wasn't good for me because I had a houseguest in from out of town. I rarely see this friend and he had yet to see my new baby. We had plans for the day of the baby shower. Remi told me she would talk to the other ladies on the guest list and call me back about the final date.

Three days later I still hadn't heard from Remi. I called up Rick to ask if Anna knew about the shower yet and what the plan was. Rick told me quite plainly that Anna was angry and hurt and didn't want to talk to me because she'd gone to all the trouble to plan my shower and I couldn't be bothered to even attend hers. I explained to Rick that a) I had a houseguest that weekend, b) that I only had 7 days' notice, and c) that I didn't think the date was finalized because I hadn't heard back from Remi yet. Rick told me that they knew that I was having company and they knew that Remi had only given me 7 days; they were angry with me anyway. They didn't understand why I couldn't ditch my houseguest for a few hours.

Even if Anna would have spoken to me on the phone, there was no good way to explain my side of the story without telling them how uncouth Remi had been and how she had completely screwed me into looking like the bad guy. As Remi was Anna's boss's wife, that didn't seem appropriate. But I was the one who wanted to do a shower to begin with and I ended up looking like a terrible friend because I had plans and couldn't come.

The baby shower is in a few days and as of the writing of this story I have yet to hear from either Remi or Anna. I don't know if I'm still invited or when or where this event will take place.



This is my first pregnancy and my sister decided to host my baby shower at their house.  We knew several months in advance when the date would be, but the time wasn't even decided upon until one week before the date!  On top of that, the invitations weren't even received by the guests until 3 days in advance!  I know that at least one of my good friends didn't come because she didn't have enough notice to ask time off from work. 

And then there's the invitations themselves.  My parents are known for their penny-pinching but I NEVER thought they'd sink this low.  When I received my copy of the invitation in the mail, I just wanted to crawl in a hole and die of shame.  It was made in Microsoft Word with a terrible and embarrassing picture of me as a child at the top.  The whole invitation was just a giant cheesy poem and to make matters worse, the time was included, but NOT the date.  The address was included, but NOT directions.  For RSVP, was my sister's email address!!!Ugh!!


In work, when a co-worker is expecting the secretaries take up a collection and they get a variety of nice things. The company makes up the rest, provides a nice lunch for everyone and it is very... nice! No tallies are kept of who chipped in what amount of money. Until this...   

I was in the front office, and the receptionist asks me, in the midst of about 6 other co-workers, "Dana, have you forgotten to give us your money towards Robin's shower?" Everyone waited with bated breath for what I would say. Truth was, it had slipped my mind, but there was a week left to donate, so I wasn't worried. I thought the receptionist asking me this in front of people, and not in private, was kind of tacky.   So I got tacky back and said, "oh yes I did forget, how much am I supposed to give?" She says "Five dollars." I said "Oh ok!" and went to get my $5.    The punchline is, I was going to give my customary $10, but she ruined that! Was I rude? Maybe, but so was she!    



I am part of a women's book club that includes both family members and non-family members (people whom I've had no prior relationship with.) One of my cousins, who is a member of the group, was pregnant with her second child - her first is three years old. She decided that she wanted a baby shower and proceeded to plan and host one for herself. I'd heard about the shower because there was some debate amongst the family on whether it was appropriate or not (I was of course in the NOT camp.) I figured that I would receive an invitation, but when my mother received hers, and I didn't get one, I considered myself lucky. Nevertheless, it wasn't to be - a couple of days later  I received an e-mail that was sent to the entire book club that stated:   

We're having a baby shower that you can come to if you want. It is going to be at X community center on X date (the upcoming weekend) at 1:00. Let me know if you need the address. We're registered at Target and Babies R' Us if you want to give us a gift."   

Now, I was offended on several levels:   

1. Sending an e-mail invite (especially one worded like this) as an afterthought is tacky. Especially tacky considering the book club was only about a month old at this point and my cousin had just met some of these women. Not to mention, it reads like she doesn't really want us there.   

2. Why wouldn't you just include the address of X community center? I mean, most people are not going to know how to get to some random community center. Isn't it inconveniencing your guest to make them e-mail you back to get an address, that you could have easily provided to them in the first place?   

3. The registry information is tacky.   I should also add that the shower was taking place on the day of my birthday, so I had a convenient excuse for not attending. However, I was told that I should "cancel" or "rearrange" my birthday plans in order to be "supportive" of a family member. My response was, it's not my fault they waited until 4 days before the shower to invite me, if it was that important they should have given people more time.   I got a gift anyway, because I had planned to get one even before the tacky invite. I did not attend the shower (it wouldn't have mattered what type of invite I received.   About a week later I go another e-mail. This one was also a mass distribution e-mail that stated:   "Thank you to everyone who came to our shower. Thank you also to everyone who got gifts."        



I recently attended a baby shower for my ex-boss's daughter.  She is young (18) and very nice.  She worked as the receptionist for my former company and we always got along.  I was so happy when I got an invitation to her baby shower.  I called an old coworker and asked her if she was going so we could car pool, she said, "Yes, but did you know this is her 3rd baby shower?!"  Apparently her friends from high school threw her one, her mother threw her one, and the one I was attending was being thrown by her step-mother.  While that seemed like a lot of showers for one baby, I was still happy for her.

The day of the shower I went to the store where she was registered.   I noticed that no one had bought her a baby bouncer seat and after having 13 nieces and nephews I knew how important those things could be to a new mom. I purchased the seat and had it gift wrapped. 

I went on to the baby shower and was one of the first to arrive.  The shower was outdoors the first week of March and it was quite cool and windy.  The restaurant staff brought out heaters and we tried to make the best of it.  I felt bad for her because half the guest list that RSVPed didn't show up, but we still had fun.

When it came time to open presents we all gathered around and watched.  She got a lot of great things and really adorable clothes.  My present was the last one she opened because it was at the bottom of the pile.  When she opened it she said, "Oh thank you!!  This was the one thing I was hoping I would get today!"   My face instantly turned bright red and I looked over at a friend who rolled her eyes.  While I'm glad she liked my gift I didn't think that was the nicest thing she could have said in front of her other guests.   My friends and I laughed it off later and blamed it on her being so young. 



I was not actually a witness to this one but I heard about it from my sister in law who had her baby girl back in 2005, when the shower was.   Let me start by saying that when my BIL (DH's brother) got his girlfriend (my now SIL) pregnant; they were not married nor did they intend to be.  When they found out they were pregnant my MIL HAD to throw BIL's GF her baby shower, and provide ALL the necessities including crib, stroller, car seat etc... as this was the first grandbaby.  The only place my MIL could think of to throw the shower was her church so, being that the parents were not married at the time she knew the pastor would have a problem with it.  She got around this by LYING TO THE PASTOR OF THE CHURCH so she could hold the baby shower there.  Needless to say, a large amount of the congregation thought it was my DH and myself with the baby as he is the son who was married at the time.

  Somehow there were about 35 people there, I didn't realize SIL knew that many people in the area.  It turns out, she didn't.  Family was there and the other 30 people were all MIL's friends who turned out.  My MIL berated her friends who did not show up, including one who's daughter had just lost her baby.  She also didn't speak to me for a week when I couldn't go, excuse me for being 900 miles away.  It did not help that she sent invitations 10 days before the shower.


This isn’t really a baby shower story, but it qualifies because it could have been…

My first baby was three weeks early (we were both fine), so we expected that my second might be early too. About four weeks before my due date, SIL calls. She lives in a different city and doesn’t know any of my friends and hasn’t even met most of them. She knows a few of DH’s friends, but hasn’t kept in touch since she left our city four years earlier.

In her call, she suggests to DH that she call all of our friends and arrange for them to bring us meals on specific dates so we won’t have to cook after the new baby is born. When DH relays this to me, I’m utterly horrified. I can’t imagine being on the receiving end of this phone call, “Hi, you don’t know me but I’m calling to tell you to bring food to my brother and SIL after their baby is born.”

She couldn’t understand why I didn’t want this. When I explained that our friends would probably bring us meals without her organizing it, she figured if she organized then it would be easier for everyone. In her group of friends, someone always organizes it. She couldn’t see the difference between organizing a group of her friends (who she knows) and organizing our friends (to whom she is a stranger). I tried to explain to her that it was rude to tell people to bring us meals, but to this day she doesn’t get it and is a bit miffed that I wouldn’t let this be her gift to us.

(Her actual gift to us was a white, personalized three-legged coat rack that matched nothing in my new baby’s room, but that’s a story for another day.)



I really just need to vent here, not so much about the actual Baby Shower, but rather the tradition of late where the Mom-to-Be creates gift registries of hundreds of items she "thinks" she'll need for her baby. When expecting my son, now a teenager, I had no registry at all ~gasp~ and yet I had a shower held in my honor and received many wonderful, thoughtful and yes, practical gifts. I bought staple items myself: bedding, a car seat, some clothing, etc. and then received so many additional gifts I was able to donate some items to my younger sister 2 years later when she started her family. I had diapers in sizes newborn to 2, I literally did not have to buy a pack of diapers for close to 2 years.

But I recent years I have witnessed so many huge, ridiculous registries that I cringe any time a shower invite comes in the mail.

Some examples: - a "friend" who had 4 registries totaling over 200 items for her second son within 3 years. - 2 cousins who each had close to 200 items on 2 separate registries - my DH's cousin with 3 registries and 150+ items - another cousin with 3 IDENTICAL registries at 3 separate stores, and yet she wondered why she received 3 bouncy seats and 3 identical diaper bags!

I just can't wrap my mind around this blatant grab at gifts! A fair warning to any female who invites me to their shower, if your registry is more than 1 page in length you won't be getting ANY thing from it from me. IF I do attend your shower you will receive a practical gift you'll actually be able to use!

Moms - your family and friends should not be expected to give you every item you'll ever need to raise your baby to adulthood! We shouldn't be expected to by your nursing supplies, breast pump, highchair, toys or any other item that a newborn doesn't need.

Sorry, I just really needed to get this off my chest.



I was reading your site, and I was reminded of my last baby shower…

I had had my first child at 20, alone. I didn’t have a baby shower the first time around, and honestly, I was dealing with so much else at the time that it really didn’t bother me one bit.

Fast forward 4 years. I’m married, and pregnant with my second child. My husband’s family are literally fighting each other to see who gets to throw the baby shower for me. I’m touched that they care about me that much, that they’re actually arguing over it.

I found out shortly after that it wasn’t affection for me in any way; the family’s matriarch had died while I was dating my husband, and the family’s women were all jockeying for the power position that she’d left open – the top woman in the family (why there needed to be one, I’ll never know), who threw all the parties and made all the high-level decisions. They each wanted to throw an extravagant shower just to show the others that they were the best at party planning.

The one caveat was that the shower would be 4 ½ hours away from me, where almost all of his family was. So I got my husband and my daughter all bundled up and into the car, and ready for the trip – and then disaster strikes. It takes us 3 hours just to get onto the right interstate due to construction (it would’ve taken 1 hour normally). We then run smack into one of the worst thunderstorms I’ve ever experienced while in a car. We were forced to turn around for our personal safety.

I didn’t realize how much this shower meant to me until then; I cried the whole way home. We stopped as soon as we could, called my mom, and asked her to call my MIL and tell her what had happened. She did so.

When we got back home, we found out that they’d decided to have the shower without me. Completely and totally without me. They knew what had happened; they could actually have just held off until the next day, but they didn’t. It took them all of 5 minutes after they found out I couldn’t come to decide this. They opened my gifts, and they ate that cake I wanted a piece of so much. They then shipped the opened packages back to me with one of my SILs who lived in the same city we did.

Worst of all, until the day I wised up and divorced my now-ex-husband (the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree), I had to endure open talk about how utterly rude and terrible I was for not “bothering to show up” for the shower that “we spent so much time and love into putting together”.



How tacky is this? Our friends, who are going to be new grandparents July 07, are having a shower given in their honor by the other set of grandparents of the baby to be. I think this is so tacky ,classless, and rude!


Great!  Baby showers for grandparents to equip them for when they baby-sit Darling Little Fufu! 

Many moons ago, my mother was pregnant with me. My father's sister decided to throw her a baby shower, and not out of the jubilation of an aunt to be, but so she could be the center of attention and everyone would bestow honor on her for her creation. Moreover, she did so believing that after this fete, my mom would be so grateful to her for what she did that she would proclaim her godmother. 

My aunt has no children and I have reason to believe that she is jealous of any woman in my family who has given birth. My aunt loves being the center of attention and, similar to the story I read elsewhere on this site, is the type who would throw a fit to get noticed. So she envies women their pregnancies, I think, not because of the new life they are bringing into this world, but because of the attention that bellies and babies get them. And if she, who was also unmarried, could not have kids of her own, then she would find motherhood through godmotherhood. According to my mom, she had pulled the same stunt on another sister in law and the sister in law fell right into her hands, and indeed proclaimed her the godmother of her baby. But my aunt never got along with mom or this sister in law, and mom has reason to believe, many years after the birth of our children, that the other aunt lived to regret her decision. My mom herself later told friends, "I could have five kids and she'd never be godmother!" My mom could see through her intents, and she held her ground in making her favorite sister and my favorite aunt (who also has no children, but who I have always been closer to) my godmother.

This aunt, who I shall refer to as "hostess-zilla" is a stickler for propriety. At her worst, she can give an Oscar (or a Razzie) worthy imitation of Joan Crawford's "No more wire hangers!" rant. But there is a line I am sure between proper etiquette, and consideration for others. 

A month before the shower, and two months before I was born, my parents were dropping off my cousin to her house. My family is big on parties and evidently at my cousins' house they were celebrating something. But my mom, who had morning sickness and other bouts of nausea up until the day she delivered, had gotten sick on the ride over and was vomiting in the car. She actually was blowing cookies into a trash bag, so my dad wanted to get her home right away. He left her in the car while he walked my cousin inside. When he came out, he told my mom that his sister said that mom had been rude for not coming in to say hello, although my dad protested that Mom was too sick to even move. Years later, when I was an adult (I have strained relations with this aunt, to the extent that I and other family members feel we must walk on eggshells to not upset her) I joked to Mom that, if etiquette was so important to hostess zilla that Mom should have just gotten out anyway, and handed hostess-zilla the barf filled trash bag. Or, she should have just barfed on hostess-zilla on principle.

Anyhow, from the start, my aunt took control of the shower. She took over my parents' house. Two of my mother's sisters [including my godmother] tried to call her days before to ask what they could do to help. After all, they tried to reason with her, "M [my mom] was our sister." My aunt told them that there was nothing they could do, this shower was her affair. So incensed were they that one of my mom's sisters refused to come to the shower.

The shower is on a Sunday, a little less than 4 weeks from when I was born. Mom was tipped off to the fact that she was getting a shower because after church my parents stopped off at a restaurant which was packed with the brunch crowd. My dad is notorious for his impatience but that day was quite delighted that they would have to wait for a table, presumably keeping them away longer while guests came and hostess-zilla set up the house. And then of course when they get home there are all these cars outside.

The party is held in my parents' basement, but is remarkably Spartan. My mom told me that my aunt had no games there (I think that was hostesszilla's insistence.). I think the only "game" they played was where mom opened her presents and they made the traditional hat out of a paper plate and all the gift ribbon. My favorite aunt (my godmother) told mom in confidence that she'd had it up to here with her sister in law, only she didn't say so in sanitized language. There is an interesting picture that day, of my mom, my dad's sister and my mom's sister cutting the cake. My mom (with me fat in her belly) and her sister are huddled close and smiling as she holds the knife. But my dad's sister stands interestingly aloof, with a prim look on her face. An interesting juxtaposition.

The clincher came when Mom asked hostesszilla what the menu was. My aunt supposedly told her, in clenched teeth, seething with propriety, "Chicken SALAD", as if she had been rude to ask. So all you got that day was chicken salad (which my grandmother made) a roll on the side, and chocolate cake. Years later in jest, I asked my mom, "Well what if you were an ovo-lacto vegetarian, or allergic to wheat, and couldn't eat the chicken SALAD?? Mom then laughed, "Well I guess you didn't eat that day!" We make jokes about the limited menu but still we think that it should have been decent to offer guests a choice. Whenever Mom entertains she likes to have things like cold cut platters, various hot dishes that she caters or makes, assorted pastries, salads, etc., things to give guests a choice and also to offer people with different dietary restrictions or preferences at least a choice of what to eat. There was none of this at that shower.

Later on everyone goes home except for maybe my godparents, a cousin who we are close to, etc, to help clean up. My aunt, who supposedly insisted that the shower be held at my parents' place (as opposed to her own place, or a restaurant), left. She left my mother, eight months pregnant, swollen with toxemia, nauseous up until the day she gave birth, to clean up the party. But to this day, chicken salad is a joke between Mom and me. Whenever I order it we say to ourselves just as hostess-zilla did. "I'm having chicken SALAD."



My co-worker was having her first baby, and because I work the closest with her, I offered to help throw her a baby shower.  Other co-workers, knowing how expensive it can be to throw a party, offered to help with food and decorations, while I was in charge of games and prizes.  The soon-to-be mother asked if her sister-in-law could contribute, as she was also thinking of planning a party.  I contacted the SIL by email, and we arranged everything--she was in charge of invitations and RSVPs, and I would arrange food, games and decorations.  Because SIL lives out of town and is scared to drive in a metropolitan area, she asked if we could hold the shower at pregnant co-worker's house, so it would be easy to find.  Pregnant Co-worker was fine with this, and I arranged to help her clean (no word from SIL).  

One week before the shower, I received an email from SIL--Pregnant Co-worker's SIL #2 is bringing food and cake. I quickly replied--"I have the food arranged, but if it's purchased or ordered already, let me know so I can let others know not to bring food that won't be needed."  SIL #1 had also had everyone RSVP to SIL #2.  I asked that SIL #2 let me know how many had RSVPed so I could plan for the games, etc.  SIL #1 reply indicated that she understood, and we left it with me arranging the food.  I never did hear how many RSVPed.  So, on the day of the shower, SILs #1 and #2 arrive with armfuls of fruit, veggie, meat and cheese, punch, and cake.  They literally brought EVERYTHING.  SIL #2 made a point of saying that she had no idea who was bringing food, and she had it ordered by the time I replied to SIL #1's email, so she had to bring it.  The co-worker who had brought her special punch and was setting it up in the only punch bowl was pushed aside for SIL #2's punch--a disgusting concoction that apparently was A LOT better with vodka, or so we heard many times throughout the shower.  The guests consisted of older relatives who did not know the expecting couple very well, and co-workers who did not know the relatives at all.  The expectant mother did not complain, as she is used to this type of behavior from her husband's relatives.  The lesson of the story?  Even if it is too expensive, don't plan a shower with someone you don't know!



A few years ago, several of my friends and I were all expecting babies around the same time. As a result, we had several months of baby showers one after the other. They all kind of blur together, with only one exception. It stands out in my mind not because of the gifts, or the decorations, or the food... but because of the mom-to-be's family.

This was your average shower- some food, some cake, a few silly games, and presents. Family on one side of the room, and friends on the other, in the finished basement of some random family member of the mom-to-be. The family members were loud and obnoxious. They talked with their mouths full. They made rude comments about the mother being unmarried. They made rude comments about other people's gifts (or, more specifically, the amount of money spent on them). They talked over the mother when she was thanking people. They were blood-thirsty to win the games and literally tried to sabotage each others' papers.

And the worst part of the entire shower was the fact that almost every single family member LEFT the shower within minutes of their gift being opened. I am not sure the mom-to-be is much better.... we never got thank you cards.


A coworker was expecting her 2nd baby.  Her first was about 7 or 8 years old.   Her registry was filled with a number of expensive items, including a large wooden rocking chair.   We were puzzled over some of the selections on her registry such as two different wallpaper borders (don't most rooms only have one wallpaper border?) and 2 different "themes" being requested (Winnie the Pooh and something else .... I can't recall).  Also on the registry were those large wooden letters you hang on the wall to spell out the child's initials or their whole name.  She had listed a number of these wooden letters and we couldn't figure out what she was trying to spell.    

Suddenly one co-workers figured it out ..... the letters on the registry would spell out the baby's name AND the name of her oldest child!  That suddenly explained the two wallpaper borders, too!  She was trying to decorate BOTH of her kids' rooms with baby shower gifts!  They had just recently purchased a new house and were still in the decorating stage!   Needless to say, most of us ignored the items on the registry and bought basic baby things that she would need.  We felt the decorating of the new home and the oldest child's bedroom should come out of THEIR pocket, not ours!   


When I was in 8th grade a friend (also in 8th grade) got pregnant. I decided I would buy some essentials for the baby and so my mom, brother, and I went to the baby section of Wal-mart.    

I was standing there completely lost as to what a baby would need and I didn't want to buy something useless. An older woman and her daughter who was obviously pregnant were also looking at the baby stuff.  I'm talking to my mom about what a baby needs and my brother is rambling about how 14 year olds shouldn't be getting pregnant. I notice the older woman glaring at me. I should probably mention that at the time I was 5'5 and probably 90 lbs. The older woman starts grumbling to her daughter about pregnant teenagers and very obviously staring at my (nonexistent) belly.   My mom (totally oblivious) is telling me that we won't need to worry about getting the baby stuff until later since the baby isn't due till August.  

My brother also having noticed the woman grumbling starts saying loudly, "Yes, JOY, you don't need to buy MISSY stuff for HER baby for a few months yet," and, "I'm so glad YOU'RE NOT PREGNANT."  By this time I'm laughing uncontrollably and the woman and her daughter have walked off still grumbling about sluty teenagers.  


Page Last Updated September 18, 2008