I have been dying to tell you guys about this, and I think it plays into the discussion about showers in general and whether the GOH is "expecting" something. My friend Amy has a cousin, Ken, and Ken's wife Kate is expecting a baby. Amy really really really wants to throw Kate a baby shower, because Amy loves throwing baby showers.
Issue? This is Kate's FOURTH child. She was married before and has three teenagers.
All the reasons Amy talked about were the sort of thing that would make you cringe if it were Kate herself saying them:
--Kate's youngest child is 13, so she doesn't have much if any baby stuff around, and anyway it would be horribly out of date (like car seats).
--The new baby will be a boy, and Kate's only other boy is 18, so any "boy" stuff would be even older/less likely to be around.
--Ken and Kate can't afford to buy all the stuff they need for a baby themselves [this one really makes me mad... I don't know if it's true or not, but Amy has been telling me for a couple of years at least that Ken and Kate wanted to have a baby, so I would hope they've been saving up since then--and if they have, it's rather insulting of Amy to assume they haven't]
--The family members would be giving them presents for the new baby anyway, so they can just attend a shower and give them there.
--Kate's teenage daughters think a shower would be fun and were "devastated" when their mother initially told them she wouldn't be having one (before Amy had suggested it to her).
--It's Ken's first baby... Ken has social anxiety issues and no, he doesn't really care about the actual shower, but he would love to get free stuff for the baby.
I actually have never met Kate, but from what Amy has told me about her before, she seems very level-headed and not greedy. For example, when Ken and Kate got married Amy really wanted to throw them a wedding shower and Kate nixed the idea, so Amy basically threw them a surprise mini-shower at a family holiday gathering. (Amy was very pleased at herself for the sneak-attack shower, and put out that Kate didn't want a bigger one.) So I feel confident that Amy is the driving force behind this idea.
She told me Kate was hesitant to agree to the baby shower but finally said that if Amy really wanted to, she would go along with it. I think Amy is coming from a good place, and it's not about Kate being greedy at all--if anything she probably feels a little steamrolled. And Amy will probably press her into making a registry, because Amy loves registries.
So sometimes these things--grandparent showers, showers for child #4, etc.--get started because someone else really, genuinely wants to do it for the GOH, and they assume that everyone they invite really wants to do it, too. And maybe that's not a good assumption on the host's part, but I really can't blame the GOH in these cases--at a certain point it feels
like rudeness to turn down someone who wants to do something nice for you, especially when it has a welcome-to-the-family vibe.
But I think every time it happens, and reaches out a little beyond the circle of people who are 100% okay with it, it starts to create expectations
. Am I now worried that Amy is going to expect a shower for her second baby when it comes along? Yeah, I am, and that's going to be really awkward, because I'm 100% certain I'd be getting that baby presents anyway, but I really don't think it's right to have a gift-giving party for him/her. I wouldn't put it past her to start throwing #2+ baby showers for other friends and relatives, just because she enjoys it and thinks everyone
ought to enjoy it. And then if you don't want to go along with it, you're not being a welcoming, generous person. That's where I fear these things heading--not only does the GOH start expecting new things, but even other guests/hosts do too, and if you don't want to participate you're a grinch.