Author Topic: Politely Refusing Work Baby Shower  (Read 3490 times)

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AreaWoman

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Politely Refusing Work Baby Shower
« on: January 17, 2013, 05:09:54 PM »
I'm trying to obscure my identity a bit here, so please bear with me on some of the vagueness in my question.

I'm pregnant with my first, and our office manager approached me asking about timing of a baby shower.  I'm very uncomfortable with this, because I'm in a semi-supervisory position and don't want staff or others buying me gifts.  However, I know that the staff really appreciates parties generally and would like to have a celebration before I go out on leave.  If I say no to a shower, then it would disappoint/potentially upset some of them, which I don't want to do either.  I know that the most commonly-proposed solution is a meet the baby party, but that won't work here for various reasons. 

Could anyone help me with either phrasing a polite refusal or coming up with an alternative so that folks can have a party if they want?

Moray

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Re: Politely Refusing Work Baby Shower
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2013, 05:19:05 PM »
I'm trying to obscure my identity a bit here, so please bear with me on some of the vagueness in my question.

I'm pregnant with my first, and our office manager approached me asking about timing of a baby shower.  I'm very uncomfortable with this, because I'm in a semi-supervisory position and don't want staff or others buying me gifts.  However, I know that the staff really appreciates parties generally and would like to have a celebration before I go out on leave.  If I say no to a shower, then it would disappoint/potentially upset some of them, which I don't want to do either.  I know that the most commonly-proposed solution is a meet the baby party, but that won't work here for various reasons. 

Could anyone help me with either phrasing a polite refusal or coming up with an alternative so that folks can have a party if they want?

Tell your office manager exactly what you just told us; that you're touched by the idea, that you're uncomfortable with the idea of a shower for reasons cited, but that you'd really like a chance to get together and see everyone before you go on leave.

At my office, we don't do showers, but we do throw a mini going away party where we have cake and punch. We each chip in maybe a dollar or two to buy a reasonable gift, like a gift certificate for a mani/pedi.
Utah

Redneck Gravy

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Re: Politely Refusing Work Baby Shower
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2013, 10:59:15 AM »
I think phrasing it as a going on leave party is a good way to put that you don't want/expect gifts.   

Put a buzz in the ear of your office manager so she can spread the word that gifts are not expected.  Then just be sensitive to those that want to give you a gift, some people just love to give.   

I am one of those that once worked at an office where someone had their hand out for some dang gift/cake/party everytime I turned around - I hated it and eventually got rid of that scheme.     

camlan

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Re: Politely Refusing Work Baby Shower
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2013, 11:18:12 AM »
When one of my co-workers was having her second baby, the social committee in the office wanted to throw her a shower. But the office had already thrown her a shower for the first baby.

The compromise, because people really wanted a party, was a party on her last day of work before maternity leave, with cupcakes and fruit punch. Very informal, just an email notice in the morning that there would be a party at 3 pm. That way no one had time to get a baby gift. (Those that wanted to give baby gifts could have easily done so anytime in the preceding months.)
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BeagleMommy

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Re: Politely Refusing Work Baby Shower
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2013, 03:53:46 PM »
Talk to your supervisor and tell him/her exactly what you've written in your post.  You will not be able to keep from disappointing everyone.  There are people who just don't understand that not everyone wants a celebration.

SPuck

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Re: Politely Refusing Work Baby Shower
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2013, 04:34:40 PM »
What about asking her in lieu of a baby shower you would prefer a going away celebrating? Or some better wording because you will eventually be coking back.

AreaWoman

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Re: Politely Refusing Work Baby Shower
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2013, 05:19:02 PM »
OP here -- thanks very much for the thoughts and responses.  I wanted to address a couple of items to clarify, because, as I frequently do, I left out some details.  And I know how sometimes those details matter, so I apologize for that.

I did already talk to the office manager about no gifts -- that didn't really help.  She wanted to "just make it voluntary," which of course made me worry about what they normally do!  I also don't have a supervisor.  And this unfortunately can't be a last-minute thing, as the powers that be require that any parties be scheduled well in advance (I want to say a month) to avoid conflicts with other meetings etc.  And probably the most important detail -- there is a staff member who is a couple of weeks behind me in her pregnancy, so I gather they want to do something combined.  Maybe that is my out -- make it just for her and leave me out of it?  I just don't want folks to feel bad.

I do really like the idea of something more like a "going away" or "maternity leave" party.  If there is no notion of a combined thing, I will definitely try that.  Thanks again to all!

auntmeegs

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Re: Politely Refusing Work Baby Shower
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2013, 05:32:04 PM »
Ugh.  I am in a very similar position right now and I don't know what to do either.  Our office always does a cake party when someone has baby or gets married and that person is presented with a (very generous) gift, paid for entirely with company funds, not a collection from the employees.  When I got married a few years ago, there was a party for me and  some the coworkers I am close to even gave me gifts, which was so nice.  Now here we are, three years later and they want to have another party for me before I go on maternity and I just feel so weird about it!  Like, come and celebrate AuntMeegs's life choices again at another party for her!  The coworkers I am close to say of course no one would think this for a second and if nothing else, its an excuse for everyone to take a break and have some cake!  I can't deny everyone cake by refusing the party!!!   But I can't hep feeling weird about it becuase I feel like we just had a party in my honor. 
I did agree to the party and its not that I don't appreciate it, I really do.  So anyway, I don't know if any of that helps you at all, but I totally understand how you feel. 

Oh Joy

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Re: Politely Refusing Work Baby Shower
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2013, 08:47:37 AM »
Congratulations on your upcoming leave!

Is this one of those opportunities to turn it around, and also emphasize what you do want instead of what you don't?  Like, instead of having a celebration in advance, ask that you be able to bring in bagels or cookies the week you return to thank everyone for covering for you?  You can play the 'I'm a supervisor and don't want obligate others' card, or the 'I'm superstitious about celebrating in advance' card, or the 'I'm not comfortable taking time out of the work day for this when I'm already taking a leave' card, or something else that works for your office dynamic and doesn't make the other coworker's celebration awkward.

Best wishes.


delabela

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Re: Politely Refusing Work Baby Shower
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2013, 03:45:13 PM »
Although I fully understand your reticence, and I absolutely respect where you're coming from, I think that there's also an element of needing to accept what others do for you gracefully.  It's entirely appropriate to ask that no gifts be given, since you have a supervisory role.  However, it seems to me that if they really want to do a small party, it would be best to accept - at some point the refusal makes it a bigger deal than it needs to be. 

cicero

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Re: Politely Refusing Work Baby Shower
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2013, 04:29:23 AM »
Although I fully understand your reticence, and I absolutely respect where you're coming from, I think that there's also an element of needing to accept what others do for you gracefully.  It's entirely appropriate to ask that no gifts be given, since you have a supervisory role.  However, it seems to me that if they really want to do a small party, it would be best to accept - at some point the refusal makes it a bigger deal than it needs to be.
i agree

if you really don't want them to throw this for you - then maybe you should throw your own party (as others suggested)

and i also think that people *will* give gifts or at least will want to. want to - not because they *have* to but because they want to.

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AmethystAnne

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Re: Politely Refusing Work Baby Shower
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2013, 10:50:23 AM »
For the managers here, may I offer my opinion?

I'm 1 of 6 cooks in a local school lunchroom. Our manager is a hard worker, a patient and consistantly fair boss, and a good woman. She has been through several life events (becoming a grandmother, her Mom's passing, marriage). To commemorate these events, we have given her something as a sign of our respect and admiration.

I bet it's the same feeling behind what your workers are wanting to give to you too!






bopper

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Re: Politely Refusing Work Baby Shower
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2013, 05:08:51 PM »
Another idea is to agree to a shower find away to make it not cost much.
For examples, you could provide some blank bibs and ask that people decorate them.
Or bring their best piece of baby advice.
Or have a baby book shower...pick out their favorite baby book.

That way they can support and celebrate you without it feeling like the lesser paid people have to pay for the higher paid people's baby gifts.