1 Yakkin' About Baby Showers | The Billfold

Yakkin’ About Baby Showers

Mike: You will probably getting a package from Target from me today.

Meaghan: Oooh.

Mike: I had them send it to your house instead of having to pick it up.

Meaghan: Ha, that makes sense! Should I not open it?

Mike: You can if you want! It’s for your shower.

Meaghan: Ha, obviously.

Mike: At the last shower I went to my friend asked, “Should I open gifts in front of everyone?”

I asked, “Do you want to?”

She said no.

Meaghan: I mean there is no WAY I want to, but I feel like I have to?! I hate nothing more.

Mike: I told my friend, “Okay, you can do whatever you want. Don’t do it if you don’t want.” It’s mostly for the grandparents.

Meaghan: Yeah my mom is gonna be there, she will make me.

Mike: She wasn’t going to open gifts but then her mother-in-law was like, “AREN’T YOU GOING TO OPEN MY PRESENT.”

Meaghan: I feel like, yeah, opening things in front of people is how you earn the things. It’s your tax. Everyone but one mom hates it. And I think they just want to punish us because they had to do it.

Mike: Also, I feel like some people get weird about it. They compare what other people bought to what they bought. “Wow, you spent money on that and I only got this book, but listen, this book was my favorite book when I was a kid,” etc.

Meaghan: Oh, and you mean you have to do that big performance.

Mike: Yes.

Meaghan: That’s why I hate it, I am bad at hiding my reactions.

Mike: Just go as quickly as you can and don’t dwell. “Cute! Okay, what’s next.” It takes a long time with all the gushing.

Meaghan: NEXT! Ha. There is going to be a baby there, can I make the baby open the presents. That would also take three hours.

Mike: A tax on us all! Hah, I think that it helps that you are providing some booze.

Meaghan: What if I said, “If I can’t drink, no one drinks!” and had a dry shower. A “dry shower” wow that’s an oxymoron, is that why they are called showers, all the booze you need to rain down on people to get them to endure it, haha.

Mike: Hah, I mean, it’s your shower and I would go with it!

Meaghan: No, but I do feel incredibly weird about the whole thing—the whole having a registry and being like, BUY US THINGS. That there is a website out there that has a list of things I have the gall to ask for, is just horrendous. Then again I still did it so I can’t complain. And also having people send us stuff we want is also, I will be honest, amazing.

Mike: And people do want to do something nice for you, and this is a good option for them. And you have a range of things so there is a price point for everyone.

Meaghan: Yeah. I think at first I wasn’t thinking about it, just making a list of things we needed. Then when my friend sent it out with the shower invite, I looked at it and was like, OH NO people will think I am awful because I put an $80 baby piano on there. So late at night—sometimes in a fit of shame—I just take things off.

Mike: Hah, that piano was kind of awesome.

Meaghan: But someone got us the baby piano yesterday! Which is amazing because I would never be able to buy that without feeling bad about it.

Mike: Whoa! I’m looking forward to seeing it.

Meaghan: Ha, start practicing your piano skills now.

Mike: One of my other friends didn’t have a shower. Instead she had a calendar for after the baby was born.

Meaghan: Ooh.

Mike: There were time slots for when people could visit, and you sign up for the days you wanted to come. And you’d bring dinner. That was the gift because the parents had no time to cook.

Meaghan: Aw, that is nice.

Mike: I think it’s a nice alternative. Because people will want to see the baby.

Meaghan: Yeah they will be wanting to come over anyway, so it makes it less awkward. And food!

Mike: Yeah, and it fixes the problem of everyone wanting to come over at once

Meaghan: It’s expected and planned for.

Mike: Which is great because the last thing parents want to think about is coordinating and planning for people to visit. It was nice! And it makes the first few months a bit easier on them.

Meaghan: Well I’ll pencil you in to make me dinner in addition to buying me something. JK. You can hold the baby when I bring it into the office every day.

Mike: Our first office baby!

Meaghan: What could possibly go wrong?


Photo: Clever Cupcakes


20 Comments / Post A Comment

Nibbler (#5,331)

Every story about having a baby should end with “What could possibly go wrong?”

That calendar sounds like a terrible idea, sorry, Mike! Do NOT have too many visitors, and seriously limit your house guests at first so you can sit around and be a feed bag while watching re-runs of Frasier and not have to be nice to anyone. Advice from one past due with her second child. :)

Mike Dang (#2)

@xtinamartinson Hah, it was not my idea! The parents were into it. Obviously if you didn’t want to have one you would not do it.

shannowhamo (#845)

@Mike Dang I think there should be a Billfold follow-up with the couple to see if they ended up liking their calendar idea!

readyornot (#816)

I’m in favor of registries (and gift wish lists) in general, just because if I am going to give a present, I’d like to know it’s something the recipient wants. But I feel like it is even MORE important for new parents, since philosophies can differ so widely and you never know what hand me downs somebody already has. I usually do one thing off the registry, plus the books Pat the Bunny and Goodnight, Moon.

For our friends who just had twins at the end of January, though, they didn’t have a registry and we just gave them a week of frozen meals delivered to their house, since they’re in Chicago and we’re in LA and we couldn’t make them ourselves.

madrassoup (#929)

One one hand, I just spent the past three days organizing a joint gift purchase for a dear friend’s baby shower. I was happy to do it. But on the other hand (and because I can hold two thoughts at once), I really abhor the idea of grown adults with incomes registering for anything other than marriage licenses, voting, or the like.

I know people like to give people they love gifts. I went through that when getting married and not registering and putting as delicately as possible (“your presence is our present” or whatever) that we didn’t want people to subsidize our life choices when they were already doing so by planning to be there for us. Not everyone was down with that, but we’re all still related/friends.

I have probably written this verbatim before. But I do think it’s interesting that we have somehow settled on “I’m uncomfortable with it but I still did it” as a solution. And I do mean “we”; I’ve done that exact thing.

Meaghano (#529)

@madrassoup It’s true. I mean, sometimes doing things you’re uncomfortable with is good or fine or leads to personal growth or a way to just get over yourself — often the case with me, but not really applicable to this situation (ha).

But yeah isn’t sometimes just a way to have it both ways — I get the stuff AND I get to disavow the practice? And how often do I do that in life? Even just in blogging!

I mean for this I was specifically takes with trying to articulate how I felt, it’s not like I am complaining to the people I sent the registry to (unless you count Mike).

I think often it’s like, am I uncomfortable with this because I genuinely think it’s a [insert whatever applicative negative attribute] or am I just being self-conscious, worried OTHER people will think that?

I don’t really know in this case!

j a y (#3,935)

@Meaghano Heh that’s honest. I mean, it’s nice to get stuff, right? And it’s even nice to be surprised. But it kinda sucks to get stuff you don’t want – just because you know someone spent their hard earned money on it. So there are conflicting emotions.

When I want/have to give a random gift (no registry) I use Sweethome or Wirecutter. I think it really increases the odds of success. Haha, I’ll usually even print out the article and include it!

tw0lle (#4,354)

I’m 30 and most of my friends are just starting to get married and have babies now. I appreciate the invites that state that you don’t HAVE to buy a present, and that’s what I would probably do. I also like the ones that have some kind of general donation pot, sometimes for a specific purchase, like a trip or the down payment on a house.

I have to admit that sometimes when I get an invitation that includes a link to a registry, I sometimes buy the stupidest thing I can find as a kind of fuck you to the practice. I bought my high school friend a compost pail, my college friend a “bucket ‘o’ tools,” and another friend a gravy fat separator. Some people seem to feel obligated to provide a registry because it’s standard practice, and it seems sort of insulting because these people are adults and they could probably buy their own damn selves a gravy separator if they really wanted one.

Hey, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it’s also insulting to know that if you don’t choose these particular life events, you’ll never have an occasion on which to get rather-arbitrary presents from Amazon and Williams Sonoma. “Not pregnant!” showers notwithstanding.

EmilyAnomaly (#4,238)

What about this new trend of gender reveal parties . . . are you supposed to bring a gift for those? I think the idea of those parties is ridiculous (pink vs. blue? come on)

j a y (#3,935)

@tw0lle If a general donation pot were to be a ‘thing’, it would be cool if there was a service that was like: Not even the recipient knows who contributed what. So you can’t feel obligated to donate more than you can afford (heck, you could just “sign the card”), nor are you expecting extra gratitude if you decide to contribute a lot. You’re ONLY doing it because you want to.

Poubelle (#2,186)

@tw0lle But if you don’t choose to have a baby, you don’t need to have a bunch of baby stuff. I get that wedding showers mean less now that people marry later and tend to have household good already, but there’s nothing saying single people can’t have housewarmings.

I don’t want a wedding and am reaching an age where unless I make some massive life changes, kids are out of the question. But there’s still my birthday and Christmas if I want presents. “Rather arbitrary gifts from Amazon” is how my grandma does the holidays.

AitchBee (#3,001)

@j a y I love that idea! So many people do registries online now, I don’t know why it hasn’t been implemented.

PicNic (#3,760)

I’m actually totally ok with baby shower registries. I agree with another person that peoples needs and parenting styles vary so much, and when someone I know and care about is having a baby I genuinely DO want to get them something that they will like/want and will maybe make even a minute of parenting a little easier, so I like being told what to get.

on the other hand – every shower I have been to so far has been a dry shower. my people are clearly doing showers wrong. I also hate. hate with the fire of a thousand suns, the opening of the presents where everyone has to ooo and aaaah when if it’s a big group you can’t even see it, and you don’t really care at all about it. As an introvert, I would also hate to be the mom-to-be and have to do that. so maybe I wouldn’t deserve presents?

shannowhamo (#845)

@PicNic I think, just like weddings, it should be everybody’s right to not be the center of attention if they don’t want to. I’m not a huge extrovert but if given the floor, I don’t mind attention (hence enjoying having a wedding where all eyes were on me, not minding opening up wedding gifts at my shower etc) but it’s weird that it’s just expected (usually by older relatives.) I feel like once we’re the old ladies of our families, we will be more conscious of how this makes lots of people uncomfortable!

Lily Rowan (#70)

I know it’s too late for Meaghan, but the best thing I’ve found for showers is having something for people to do while the parents open presents — decorating a onesie or whatever. So you’re not just sitting there oohing and aahing.

I’m in my first pregnancy like Meaghan and the whole shower/gifts/etc thing has been overwhelming to me just like it was at my wedding. I am already fielding emails/calls/carrier pigeons from relatives asking if they can “call dibs” on big gifts like the crib, stroller, etc. which is SO kind and SO awesome but also so awkward… like if I bought the crib myself I’d probably do the $199 Ikea thing but Grandma won’t think that’s good enough so now I guess I’ll look at the $499 Pottery Barn ones but yikes, that’s $300 I could put towards my unpaid maternity leave or just towards like food for my family? Or food for other families that need it more than we do?

My in laws want to throw me a shower in their home town where I know no one and strangers will be buying me gifts and I will have to open these gifts in front of these strangers and I already did this five years ago with our wedding shower and swore never again then but here we are.

My friends keep telling my to just smile and take the free stuff but the whole process is so weird and awkward and really I wish they had maternity leave/child care fund websites like they do when couples ask for you to fund their honeymoon at weddings. Does that exist? If not it’s my startup idea, please don’t take it.

Trix Oh@facebook (#6,294)

My shower was this weekend. I did not want a shower, but was socially obligated by other people to have one. I had several registries, which sounds greedy, but the benefit is the “completion discount.” I also am really picky about things that I want, so I felt like registering would curtail some of the ridiculousness. I really didn’t want a lot of things (I don’t have the room room!) and my registry reflected that (e.g. value placed on diapers rather than toys) so people just bought whatever. I also would have preferred funds or gift certificates.. but then! everyone is so nice and happy for you, and they just want to do nice things. The whole process is so conflicting. I did not open gifts in front of the group (I polled people and no one seemed to care).

babyli.st lets you register for anything (please see post above) — I’ve seen it for subsidizing doulas, for example, so I can’t imagine that maternity leave help would be difficult to also register for. I would just feel funny asking for direct funds.

shannowhamo (#845)

@Trix Oh@facebook The baby shower I threw a while back, it seemed like most everyone did gift cards anyway so it was a little anti-climatic. I feel like the idea with the baby showers is to see a bunch of cute widdle clothes (I will admit, I am delighted by this myself hence why we got her bebe all the little clothes, trying to keep in mind our friend’s style and distaste for overly-girlie shit) but as people move more and more into gift card territory, perhaps the gift opening ceremony will end (which many people hate so good riddance!)

madeline (#6,071)

I don’t actually know anyone who is getting married or having a baby at the moment (I think), but are you supposed to get a gift if you don’t attend the wedding/shower?

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