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I was teaching in a school when one of the teachers approached me for money for a double baby shower. Two former teachers were expecting and she wanted to throw them a shower. Two manila envelopes were kept in the main office so that people could put in twenty dollars for each teacher towards a gift. After you put in the required amount of cash, you put a check next to your name.  Not knowing the teachers well I opted to stay out of the gift giving and shower. Upon afterthought I should have at least ticked off on the envelope as a giver so the teacher throwing the shower would not come after me.

The day before the shower the said teacher came in my classroom and ASKED me for the money. I thankfully had no cash but she insisted a check would be fine. Sigh. Since she was the wife of one of the school directors (the couple is a very kind couple but I guess the wife lacks the etiquette on these things) I was coerced into giving forty dollars to the teachers I did not know. Now forty dollars is not a small amount of money for teachers especially since they get paid so poorly. I'm talking 20,000 +/ year.

I asked her what the school was buying them to which she replied that the expectant mothers did not need anything and she would be giving them the cash as a gift. I was invited to the shower which was the next school day.

I wondered how we were going to attend a shower when we were teaching our classes. Turns out that during our "free period- the time we have to correct homework etc during the day" was when each of us, by ourselves,  would go to the main hall and get food.

I went to the said hall. The expectant teachers didn't even thank me for my gift nor I believe spoke to me. They were too busy talking amongst themselves from what I remember. The food laid out  to bring  down to my class to eat were the leftovers. Seems the party had already happened and we were there to get leftovers. And No I never received  thank you cards for my cash gift.


One of the girls at our church (K) was expecting her second child. The children would be 12 years apart, so she felt a shower should be held in her honor.  When no one offered a shower, she approached a friend, Lou, to hold the shower for her. Lou was reluctant and quite frankly, put her off without giving her an answer (in other words, that was her answer).   K, apparently, was absolutely blind to this.  

Suddenly, a month before the day that K had asked Lou about having a shower, invitations arrived at most the ladies of the church group's homes inviting them to a shower at Lou's house, given by Lou and someone else. First Lou had heard of it. Personally, this was one time when being one of those not on "the list" did not hurt my feelings at all. I had been at group meetings where these invites were being passed around and laughed at. Lou is a dear friend of mine who had called me the minute the invite showed up in the mail screeching about what the devil was she going to do?! And to make things even better, K had included in the invitation a printed list of suggested gifts-most of which were not baby shower related at all, but things she and her family wanted (ex. membership in the local zoo, gift certificates to various restaurants).   Not to mention that K had not invited everyone in the church lady's group. Therefore, there were people slighted. And of course, everyone was looking at Lou as though this was all her doing. 

No one would have ever imagined at that point that K had sent these awful invitations. As a happily non-invited person, I spent the month doing damage control for poor Lou. Not knowing what else to do, now that her name was smeared all in this mess, she went ahead with the shower. And no, she never heard from or laid eyes on the other person whose name was on the invite. Of course, all of three people showed up. K's sisters and mother did not even come or send gifts   And can you imagine, K's feelings were hurt that no one showed up!             


My mother threw me a baby shower when I was 6 months pregnant with my first child. She wouldn't allow me to help with any of the planning and preparation, so I was totally out of the loop about what was going on. 

About 2 months before the shower, I started getting emails from my grandmother asking me when the shower was, if she was invited, what the sex of the baby was (we didn't want to find out, and I told her this... for the fifth time already), and saying that we needed to get invitations out soon. Of course, I had no say over when the invitations went out, so I politely told her so, reminded her we weren't going to find out the sex, and let it go at that. 

Well, the invitations got mailed out a few weeks later. My mother used a bunch of invitations given to her by her sister (my cousin had a baby shower a couple of months earlier - and actually gave birth the week before my shower). Unfortunately, they invitations didn't have a spot for a phone number to RSVP to, and my mother didn't realize this until after the invitations had already been sent out. So, of course, I soon got another email from my grandmother. Of course she was coming, but did I know that I had forgotten to put my phone number on the invites, and did we know what the baby was going to be yet? 

Once again, doing my best to be diplomatic (this woman has called me a pig, said my mother is a bad mother, and basically been horrible to my family for as long as we've been a family) I apologize for the missing phone number, assure her I'll let my mother know that she's planning on coming, and once again remind her that we will not know what the baby is until it's born. 

Well, the day of the shower finally comes. People start showing up, and soon we begin. Things are going great, until my mom announces one of the games. It was some sort of quiz, and the 'prize' was that, for every correct answer, you had to put a dime into a piggy bank she had bought for the baby. I admit, I didn't exactly like the idea myself, straight out asking for money, but most of my family was fine with it... Except my great-aunt. She sat there for 15 minutes complaining about it, and repeating over and over "This money is for the baby, not the parents! They better not spend it on themselves!" Everybody was horrified with this response, especially with me sitting right there, but we eventually ignored it and went on with the day. 

The rest of the shower was great, except for the occasional complaint from my great-aunt (chair not comfortable enough, she didn't get to hold my cousin's 1-week-old baby, she didn't like the choice of food, etc...) Well, a month after the shower I get another email from my grandmother. Apparently one of my cousins wasn't invited to the shower. Now, I didn't know this. That side of my family has never been very in-touch with the rest of us, and they usually don't show up to events (and don't invite us to their own events), so I had just assumed that they had decided not to come. Of course, my grandmother was furious about this, and let me know that, and in the mean time asked me where the thank you notes were (I admit, I still haven't gotten them mailed out - 3 months after the shower - but I'm STILL working, just finished moving into a new apartment, and 9 months pregnant!) and once again, asked me if I knew what the baby was. I apologized about the thank you notes, and once again had to explain that I had no hand in the invitations - my mother had done them without even asking me who I wanted invited, and if she wanted to complain, she'd have to talk to her, and I was not going to know the sex of the baby until it was born. And she still hasn't gotten the message - she emailed me yesterday requesting my sister's email address and asking me whether or not we knew yet.



My husband's brother Danny and his wife Mary were expecting their first child four years ago. One day I got a call from my husband's sister Amy, telling me that Mary has asked us to give her a baby shower. My first thought is how tacky it is for her to ask us to give her a shower, followed closely by the inappropriateness of a family-hosted shower. I agree, however, mostly to keep the peace. 

A few days later, I call Amy so we can decide who will purchase what for the shower. She informs me that Mary has called her again, this time to tell her exactly what theme and colors she wants for the shower and where the decorations should be purchased. The store where the decorations are to be purchased is just down the street from Mary's office, but a good 30 miles from either Amy or myself. Mary does graciously offer to buy the decorations herself and says Amy can pay her back. Amy agrees, thinking this will be at least one thing she won't have to worry about. It is agreed that I will purchase the cake and the two of us will split the cost of food. We decide to keep the food simple but abundant, as we are both newly married and have limited budgets, but also want to be sure there is ample food for the guests (I think it's also tacky to run out of food at a gathering, but that's another story altogether.) 

Not long after hanging up with Amy, I get a telephone call from Mary. She reiterates her chosen shower theme and tells me at which bakery to purchase the cake. I'm fairly familiar with the bakery, as it is one of the more well-known and most expensive in our town. Mary proceeds to tell me that she and a co-worker had gone to this bakery at lunch one day to sample their cakes and she had decided which flavor she wanted for her shower (I can understand doing this for your wedding cake, but for a shower?!?) She had even given the owner my name and told her I would be coming in and also made sure the owner knew what I should order. I called the bakery to order the cake, figuring actually going in to do it was pointless since Mary had pretty much already ordered the cake herself.

The day of the shower arrives and my mother and I stop at the bakery on the way to Mary's house (oh yes, did I mention Mary requested we hold the shower at her own house??) My mother and I had been talking about how ridiculous it was that Mary was putting all these demands on what to buy and where to buy it, especially since she had "volunteered" my other SIL and me to throw the shower in the first place. We also talked about the wonderful cake we'd gotten for my nephew's birthday party the weekend before. The cake was delicious, beautifully decorated and served 20 people for around $25. It was purchased at a local store where we had purchased many outstanding cakes in the past. So upon getting to the bakery and seeing the shower cake, we were shocked. I could have done a better job decorating it, and I'm not the least bit artistic. It was extremely plain and honestly did not look like it had been done by a cake decorator. It was a small cake, designed to feed maybe 12 people, and when the owner told me the total cost was $55 I nearly fainted. Of course at this point I had no choice but to pay $55 for an ugly cake that would most likely not even feed everyone at the party.

We get to Mary's house, arriving (as agreed) about an hour and a half before the shower is to begin. This will give us time to decorate for the party, and arrange the food on the serving trays. When we walk in the house the first thing I notice is that it looks as if it hasn't been cleaned in about a month. There are dirty dishes in the sink, dirty clothes on the floor, clean towels to be folded on the couch, and the vacuum cleaner is sitting in the middle of the living room floor, unplugged. Ok, so maybe Mary had formed an idea that at least the carpet needed vacuuming. 

The second thing I notice is Amy in the kitchen, looking very annoyed. Apparently Mary had walked into the kitchen, put one dish in the dishwasher, then proclaimed she was tired and going to lie down for a nap. Yes, Mary is seven months pregnant and I'm sure she needs her rest, so I say nothing as I go about helping Amy clean the house. We finally get the living room, dining room and kitchen clean (thanks to my mother for helping or we may not have made it in time!) and figure we'd better start putting the decorations up. Amy opens a closet door and pulls out a bag that holds enough decorations to fully decorate a coliseum. There were streamers, balloons, paper bells, paper flowers, literally enough to decorate for five showers. Not to mention the fact that most of what Mary had bought looked like wedding decorations. Amy tells me when she got to Mary's house that afternoon Mary had presented her with a receipt for $115. So much for Amy not having to worry about the decorations.

Mary finally comes out of the bedroom 10 minutes before the shower is to begin. She announces she has to take a shower and get ready, and for us to entertain the guests when they get there. Exactly one hour after the shower actually began, Mary is ready. Amy and I are again grateful that we have plenty of food and drink for the guests to help pass the time.

Mary mingles and eats and drinks for about 10 minutes. The next thing I know, I hear ooohing and aaahing from the guest room. I go into the guest room and there is Mary with her sister and best friend, opening up the shower gifts! I don't know about anyone else, but if I'm at the shower I actually like to see the person open my gift. Not to mention the fact that I thought it rude for her to shut herself into a room with her sister and best friend while she had over 20 guests there in her honor. We did finally ask her to open the remaining gifts where we could see them, and the rest of the shower went pretty well.

About half an hour later, Mary tells everyone she is tired and they will have to leave. Everyone seems appropriately surprised, but not altogether disappointed as Mary had made little effort to socialize with any of them and had not once thanked anyone for being there. Once they had all left Mary tells Amy, my mother and me that she was merely just tired of all those people in her house. The three of us proceed to clean up the remains of the shower (including the wrapping that Mary had scattered throughout the guest room and living room while opening the gifts) while Mary gets on the telephone with her mother in another state to talk about some of the tacky gifts she received. (As an aside, none of the gifts was tacky, but not surprisingly the ones she was mentioning to her mother were all the ones costing under $50.)

My mother and I go into the dining room to get our purses and leave, when lo and behold, what sits on the dining room table but the shower cake! With the delay in getting the shower started, having to convince Mary to open her gifts in front of everyone, and the surprise of her telling everyone to leave, we had totally forgotten about the ugly, $55 cake! At least we didn't have to worry about if it would feed everyone there!


I was recently at a baby shower for a young single mother.  This new mom lives with her mother who is an "avid"  smoker.   While the mom to be was opening the baby gifts, her mother was carefully inspecting each item.  Imagine everyone's surprise when Grandma began to loudly shame the giver of a gift because the outfit was not fire retardant.  The room was silent as Grandma carried on about how rude it was to give a non-fire retardant item when everyone knew she smoked! How could the giver live with themselves if Grandma were holding the baby while smoking and the cigarette were to fall on the baby and it caught on fire?  I was completely appalled!



My sister-in-law and I were pregnant at the same time. She is the type of person who, if not in the spotlight, will throw a hissy fit to get attention. There are SO many times that I could write of when she's been rude, uncouth and lacking any sense of class or tact, but I will just write of the day I gave birth to my son and some of my pregnancy. 

*Angie* was due 6 weeks after me. From the getgo she was miffed about having to share the glory of a new addition to the family with me. At my baby shower she sat there, bored out of her skull and checking her watch. When my brother came back to the house to see how things were going, she hopped up and said she was ready to go. Two weeks before my due date I went to her baby shower. I guess I didn't catch them, but later my sister told me that Angie had made snide remarks about me being small or something. See, Angie was huge before she was pregnant, and even huger after, whereas 8 and 1/2 months pregnant I just began to show. 

Well, birth days are a big deal in my family so when I went into labor my family came from miles away to be at the hospital to see the brand spankin' new baby. (They like to watch the weighing, poking the foot, etc.) I looked really crappy when I was in labor so I didn't want anyone to come in and see me until it was all over with. I tried to hold out on drugs, but finally gave in. I felt better and looked so much better after the epidural so I decided to let some family members come to my room to see me. My brother came back and I asked him where Angie was. He told me that Angie didn't want to come and see me because it would upset her too much. My sister stood behind him rolling her eyes and I had to hold back laughter for my brother's sake. 

Well, less than 15 minutes after they left the room, I gave birth to my son (Yeah, he was FAST!) I was elated, overwhelmed, in shock. After we switched rooms and got my son in the room with about 12 family members there fighting each other to hold him, Angie felt neglected. I didn't know any of this went on at the time. Weeks later my best friend Katy, asked me what was up with my SIL. According to her, Angie was sighing loudly and shifting her weight around. Granted she was 7 and 1/2 months pregnant, but that wasn't all she was doing. If my brother tried to get up to look at the baby, she pulled him back down next to her by his shirt. She frequently whispered in his ear. (I believe this because she frequently does this to him at family dinners. Very childishly with her mouth at his ear covering it up with her hand.) After a half hour, she says as loud as she can, "Ed, I'm tired and this couch is uncomfortable. I want to go home." Everyone in the room was went quiet, even my brother. After a couple seconds he found his composure and said, " yeah, okay." He grabbed their coats, told me congrats, and left. She continues to do rude, obnoxious things to this day. My sister and I wonder which one of us will break first and really let her have it.


My husband’s family is pretty well spread across the country and generally doesn’t keep very close contact with each other. But recently, one of his many cousins (most I’ve never met and he hasn’t seen in over 20 years) committed the ultimate act of bravery and organized a family reunion in honor of the monarch’s (his grandmother’s) birthday. I especially enjoyed the opportunity to meet in-laws I didn’t even now I had. Although most of all them had been invited to our wedding that took place five months before the reunion, none of them attended and very few bothered to send so much as a card. Not a very tight-knit family.

So shortly after the very successful family reunion, one cousin (“K”) discovers she’s expecting. This is great and exciting news for not only mom and dad to be, but for most of the extended family. Given that K’s only family in that she lives in is her husband and that this is her first baby, one the aunt’s (not the K’s mom) sends an e-mail to most of us asking if anyone would be interested in throwing a Cyber Baby Shower for expectant K. We all think it’s a great idea and know that K will be so surprised and grateful (maybe even slightly embarrassed at the generosity). We, all but one, that is. Another aunt responds to the group e-mail by reminding us not to forget that her daughter, “L”, is also expecting in the same month as K and that L being left out of the Cyber Shower surely was an oversight.

Being that I had developed quite a nice e-mail relationship with K and consider a good friendship made, I was most excited to send to her mine and my husband’s best wishes for their new baby with a gift from her registry. (She created an on-line registry only after it being suggested to her by the family.) Not to mention that K and her husband sent my husband and me a very lovely wedding gift a few months earlier.

Not long after, L’s mom sent an e-mail to the same group of us to let us know where we could find BOTH of L’s baby registries. Since my husband and I didn’t get so much as a card or even an e-mail acknowledging our wedding from L or her mother. And since L still lives in the same home as her mother and brother (I would assume she has enough family and acquaintances there to have a proper shower). And since L is a cousin that my husband hasn’t seen in 20 years and I’ve never met, I felt quite respectable about sending her a very lovely card with all our best wishes and nothing more.


Well, this is a second hand story told to me by my best-friend, but what I have heard is full of some very tacky behavior!! For starters, the mom-to-be is throwing HERSELF a baby shower, and not just any baby shower, a SECOND baby shower!! Her oldest child is only two, yet for some reason she has managed to give away all of his belongings (even though they had always planned on more children), and has now decided she is in dire need of more baby items, so voila--she will throw herself a shower. And the clencher, she has let all of the guests know on the invite that they need to bring a pack of diapers in addition to their "regular" gift if they wish to be eligible for the door prize. I was flabbergasted at the audacity of some people!


I have belonged to a mother's group of about 12 women since my child, now a year and a half old, was 3 months old.  Recently, one of the mothers in the group gave birth to her second son.  I was surprised enough to find out that one of the mothers in the group was hosting a shower for the new baby, given that it is a second child (with a sibling of the same gender a mere 18 months older, no less).  However, I was even more surprised when I received today the following email (names and locations disguised for obvious reasons):   

Hey there! 

I just want to remind everyone that play group will be at my house from 1 to 4 p.m. tomorrow. The play group will also be a little baby shower for (New Mom), who is bringing (Older Son) and (New Baby). Lunch will be provided. There is no need for you to bring anything except yourselves and your children. If you'd like to bring a small gift for (New Mom), that's fine. If you are interested in making a donation to (Local Hospital) to help pay her hospital bill ((New Baby's birth was not covered by their insurance), please write a check to (Local Hospital) for whatever amount you feel is appropriate and put (New Mom's) name in the memo area on the check. Then slip the check into an envelope and seal it and give it to (Friend). (Friend) will deliver the envelopes to the hospital billing department. That way your donation remains private. No one except the hospital will open the envelopes.   See you tomorrow!         



My husband and I attended the wedding of Charles and the obviously pregnant Lisa, the wedding itself is another story for etiquette hell.  We gave a generous cash gift in a card.  A few weeks later, we received a thank you note from Lisa.  Enclosed in the thank you is a Baby Shower invite from Lisa.  The invitation was written in Lisa’s handwriting and was filled out in the following manner:


A Baby Shower for: Lisa

Given by: Me (meaning Lisa)

At: My House


It went on to give the time and date.  Having only met Lisa twice, I hadn’t planned on going.  My husband has worked with Charlie for about five years and thinks a lot of him, so I agreed to go.  I had to drive an hour and a half to get to the shower. 

Upon entering, Lisa asked if I wanted something to drink.  I said yes, and followed her into the kitchen.  She asked if I wanted some wine.  I told her no, as I don’t drink.  Lisa began to pour a plastic cup of wine.  She corked the bottle and pointed to the refrigerator and said “See if there is anything in there you want.”  I managed to find a 2 liter of flat soda.

I went to the living room where a huge pile of presents were.  Everyone was drinking wine except for me.  Before the shower actually started  Charlie’s mother blew up and left because Charlie’s stepmother had shown up.  Everybody witnessed the soon to be grandmother ranting and raving about the nerve of the stepmother to show up.  At this time, Lisa decides it is time to start the shower, she sits down in the middle of the living room surrounded by presents.  Her mom asked her if she had any games to play and she didn’t because “she didn’t think about that.”  We sat around for about two hours watching the mom-to-be open gifts.

After all of that, somebody asked if they needed help sitting out the food.  Lisa said they didn’t have any food except the cake that Charlie’s step-mother had brought. 

So, Lisa had thrown herself a baby shower, with no food, no games and only wine to drink.


I love this website and I felt the need to share with you a personal experience with a mother-to-be I once knew.   I had met this girl in passing in high school.  None of us knew her very well...she just sort of "showed up" one day among my small group of friends and made it clear she intended to stay awhile. We assumed that Christine was lonely and harmless, just wanting some people to talk to and so we befriended her.   We quickly regretted this choice as she used our friendship to her every advantage. In return for paying for countless meals for her, arranging special outings to cheer her up during her many depressions, and offering her shoulders to cry on, she repaid us all with manipulation, drama, ridiculous demands, vicious rumors, and various other nastiness.   

There was a collective sigh of relief among us when we graduated high school (she was two years behind our class) and we thought that we'd shaken her off and she would find a new group of people to sink her claws into.  Unfortunately, this was not the case.    Christine, after a few months of silence, resurfaced in all of her weeping, dramatic, and now-pregnant glory.  It seemed that, as a summer job, she had found work as a hostess in a private golfing club and, in doing so, had met a man old enough to be her father who she had then coerced into bed and...well...the rest is history.   She wailed that, on top of the pregnancy, her parents had kicked her out upon finding out.  We would later learn that they had not done anything of the sort, but rather she had approached them with the news, they were understandably upset, and she had thrown a fit and stormed off saying she would find somewhere else to stay without giving them any idea of where to find her.    

After calming her down and assuring her that our doors were open to her (though, privately, we wondered how she could have been stupid enough to have let something like this happen to her at nineteen), we started trying to make the best of a bad situation.  As she shacked up in our friend Shelly's spare bedroom since she was the only one among us living on her own at that point, the rest of us set about planning a baby shower for her in the following months.   It was meant to be a surprise, but Christine, of course, caught wind of it and set about making herself a huge wish list on behalf of her child.  Christine, I should mention, had no qualms with telling anyone who asked (or didn't!!) that she carried herself like a princess and expected to be treated as such.  So, of course, this fatherless unplanned child that Princess Christine could not afford was expected to receive only the best from everyone.  

My friends and I, after shaking our heads at the ridiculously elaborate things she'd asked for, pooled our money with some that her aunt had donated to our cause and we headed to Kids R Us to go shopping.   Being that we were just-graduated high school kids who were saving our money for our impending college years, I think we did fairly well.  When all was said and done, we'd acquired a crib, a playpen, two sets of bedding, an infant carrier, a feeding bottle kit, and a bathtub for the sink.  Her aunt, along with her monetary donation to our baby shopping spree, contributed some new clothing, washcloths, and a single item from Christine's wish list, a ridiculously-expensive baby bonnet.   You'd think that an unwed mother who had nothing prepared for her child's arrival would be grateful to receive such things, but not Christine.  

On the night of the baby shower, she decided that she didn't want to make an appearance and could not be convinced to come out of the guest room.  After Shelly spent the better part of an hour pleading with her to come out and greet her guests while the rest of us sat uncomfortably in the living room, she finally decided that she would grace us with her presence and sulked in.   The complaints began almost immediately.  First and foremost, she was offended that only ten people had shown up.  Bear in mind that by then she had alienated most of her family and, aside from the original four of us, we'd had to coerce a few of her other acquaintances from school into coming as well and that they had shown up out of awkward pity.  

The next thing we'd done wrong, apparently, was we had brought a homemade cake rather than bought one for her in 'her colors'.  Her next complaint was that the ribbons we had used on the gifts were a bright sea green color when we, as her friends, should know full well that she -hates- the color green.  We were growing extremely fed up with her behavior by then and I suggested, a bit tersely, that maybe she should open her baby's gifts and then she wouldn't have to look at the 'horrible' ribbons any longer.   Christine opened her packages in silence.  No pause, no examination, no 'thank you', she just methodically moved from one to the next, tearing off the paper and throwing them into a pile without even looking at who they were from.  

As she unwrapped the crib's box last, she burst into tears.  When her aunt asked what was wrong, she started pointing fingers and making accusatory statements.  "I'm not letting my baby sleep in this piece of K-mart s**t!!  Where'd you find all of this crap,  Goodwill!?"   As she continued to weep and then to go so far as to accuse us of being "retarded" for not being able to read and follow her wish list, I'd had enough, grabbed my coat and left.  I heard later that the others had followed my example shortly afterward.    

I moved away a month later to be with my fiancé, but in an Emailed update from Shelly, she explained to me that Christine had returned the shower presents and used the combined money from all of the gifts to buy an antique cradle she'd asked for on her original list.  Due to her poor planning and ungratefulness, all that was awaiting her daughter when she was born was said cradle with no bedding (towels had been substituted), a pack of onesies, and a bag of Huggies.   I was further relieved to hear a bit later that the father of the child had turned out to be a reasonable man who cared about the well-being of his daughter, planned or not.  At the first sign of abusive behavior, he had gotten her away from her psychotic mother and was currently living out of her reach three states over and trying to obtain full custody. 

It is my extreme hope that Christine has been able to see past her own self-pity to learn SOMETHING from this experience.  I dread to this day that she might turn up pregnant again and that this time the child might not be so lucky.



I have a cousin (H) who was raised by parents who frankly, couldn't be bothered with a child. When she did bother them...well lets just say that H was a very unhappy child. Some of us tried to help, but it wasn't easy since my uncle, though he treated her terribly, was very possessive of her. Calls to CPS were useless.

H is now barely an adult. She has her share of problems, but she has managed to be a rather decent, sweet, human being. At 18 she was having problems with severe depression as well as health problems (linked to abuse.) She thought that her problems would melt away if she were part of a happy family. So she has decided to have a baby with her unstable boyfriend.

I was more than willing to offer support to H, even though I thought it was a terrible idea. But what happened nearly made my jaw go through the floor.

H gave birth last month and my aunt (not her mother) called up my parents with the good news. The aunt told my mother that she (the aunt) had registered for everything H would need. She then explained that she has already apportioned out the registry assigning items based on her assessment of the givers financial status. H's poor, college-aged friends were asked to contribute onesies or nail clippers, my aunt who has two kids on college could afford some receiving blankets, my other aunt could put in a car seat. It seems my parents got signed up for a rather pricey jogging stroller (the kind that are called "Sport Utility") because "they could afford it."

My mother wasn't sure that they could afford it. She and my father retired last year and are still adjusting their budget. The Aunt insisted that they had lots of money in the bank and could just go blow it. After all, if they spent it all, they could just live on Social Security, right?

Think this is tacky? Well in the course of the conversation, Aunt mentioned that no one else had complained when they had gotten their assignments in the birth announcements. Birth announcements? Birth announcements? My mother hadn't gotten any birth announcement. Aunt had bought these really expensive, engraved things so that H would feel "pampered" and "special about herself." They were so expensive they didn't have enough.

So the lowly ones aren't good enough for a baby announcement. But they are expected to come up with what is by far the most pricey item on the registry.

My parents (and their children) sent some money, but not enough to buy that stroller. (Another cousin had been assigned a less expensive one anyway.) According to other relatives, H cried tears of joy when she got our cards. I think it's good of my aunt to take H under her wing, but I still can't believe what she did!


My SIL means well and tries to do the right thing. However, since she wasn’t raised with any concept of etiquette nor has she read anything about etiquette, she sometimes gets it quite wrong.

She recently had her second daughter. In Judaism, a large party is typically thrown for a boy baby (at his circumcision) but until recently, and to this day in some traditions, no such party is held for girls. To right this wrong (?) a ceremony was invented called a “Shalom Bat” or welcoming of a new baby girl. One throws this party shortly after a daughter is born. It involves a few blessings, readings from friends and family, a meal and those attending typically bring gifts for the new baby.

SIL threw one for her first daughter (a story in itself, but too long to go into here) that was a bit of a fiasco but, to her, was a success.

With the birth of her second daughter, however, she has a huge number of people she can invite – and therefore get more gifts. She has a group from her temple, various playgroup families that she knows because of her older daughter, other friends, relatives and neighbors. In all, about 150 people are invited. The party itself was lovely. The food was wonderful, many of the children played in the basement where babysitters had been hired to take care of them and the caterers even did most of the clean-up.

However, after the party the ‘fun’ began. SIL started to open the gifts from the attendees. SIL really only likes fancy baby clothes with fancy brand names (Baby LuLu, Cache Cache, etc.) and she received some outfits from (horrors) The Gap or Gymboree. She’s going to return them. Fine. However, each one gets a comment like, “They should have spent more, they have gobs of money.” or “We bought them a much more expensive gift when they had a baby.” 

Worse, when she opened a few of the gifts she didn’t like, she commented on how inappropriate it was and how she didn’t like those people anyway. Finally, I couldn’t stand it anymore and asked her why she had invited people she didn’t even like. Her response, she had to invite them because (a) they were part of the group and she couldn’t invite only some of the people in the group for etiquette reasons and (b) she had been to their parties and gotten their children gifts and felt that it was only right to get gifts in return.

I guess that she never realized that she could decline to attend a party. I guess she also never realized that one doesn’t have to invite an entire group. One can actually invite only those with whom one is friends as long as only one person from the group isn’t being excluded.

Once I said my piece about perhaps not making fun of every gift, not ever really knowing how much money people have, etc. she started to tell me that I should get over it because part of the fun of opening gifts was gossiping about the gift giver. I’ve put serious effort into gifts for her and her children in the past, but from now on I’ll either get her exactly what she tells me to get (and she does) or a gift certificate (which I hate giving) because I’m sure my gift is wrong too and I’d hate to think that she’s gossiping about me to someone else.


Why should anyone care what a rude, boorish, greedy person thinks of them?  I wouldn't acquiesce to that kind of person's gift demands to keep the peace either.  People like that will find any opportunity to gossip so why not give her a really juicy reason by not giving her anything at all.  

I did not experience this directly but I did experience the perpetrator boasting about it.  Apparently this young mother received a package full of gifts for her baby from her MIL. She acknowledged that the gifts were "thoughtful" and "cute" but went on to say that she found the signature on the card unacceptable. So she wrote a thank you note that said "Thank you but I told you that I do not like the name "Nonnie" (sound too much like "Mommy") so I crossed it out and wrote in "Grammy." She went on to say (proudly) that she plans to do the same with any future cards and gifts until her MIL "learns her lesson."     


Page Last Updated May 15, 2007