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Baby Shower Q&A:
Solutions for Sensitive Situations


In an ideal world we would all get along splendidly and there would be no personality conflicts or family fueds. Sometimes however, we have to accept (whether we like it or not), that there are simply some circumstances that are beyond our control.

This section has been created because there have been a substantial number of readers who have asked vexing questions dealing with sensitive or difficult family and friend relationships.

Please note that all our responses and suggestions are based purely on experience and good sense. They are intended purely to assist with difficult situations and may not be the only available options.

Before getting down to individual questions, I'd just like to remind our readers that regardless of the complexities of family and friend relationships, we need to remember that the focus of a baby shower is to celebrate the arrival of a new life into the world. By setting aside our likes, dislikes and perhaps even prejudices, we have an opportunity to provide an example to the newcomer of what the world could and should be like. So relax, take a deep breath, perhaps even take a step back and keep in mind that we should begin in the manner with which we wish to proceed.

Quick Lookup Topics on this Page: Inter-Family Difficulties   Unbalanced Family & Guest Numbers   xxxxxxx

Inter-Family Difficulties

I am a step mother and my stepdaughter (S) is having her first child in January. My two daughters are hosting the shower at a local restaurant before the baby arrives and there will be another shower held by the father's family after the birth. S's mother and I do not speak, neither do S's mother and father. I have been married to S's father for 28 years and these have been years filled with bitterness.

My question is "does S's mother have to be invited to the shower held by my daughters?"

I have suggested to both S and my girls that S's mother could attend the next shower and the first is the shower I will attend. As well, since the father of baby's family is planning a shower does the father's family get invited to the first shower as well. Since last year there has been an engagement party, a stag and doe, a bridal shower and now a baby is on the way. I should mention that the mother and father to be are not yet married, this will take place next June. I am feeling a little embarrassed at this time as it is gift after gift and event after event. Please help me!!!

I can understand all of your feelings and I am not sure what the best solution would be. Let me start by answering the less sensitive question first: In regards to the father's family, it is recommended that you invite the immediate family to the shower. So that includes the father's mother, and any sisters that he has. It is a common courtesy that the most immediate family members will go to all the showers.

With the event after event situation, there really isn't much you can do about it ... things happen. Simply invite people and ignore them if they grumble. They can always say no and there is no reason why you need to send a gift for a baby shower.

In regards to your situation with your stepdaughter's mother, I think it is important to ask your stepdaughter what she would like.

Does she want her mom to be at the shower or is she fine with her just being at the later one? Remember that this is her time and she should be the one who is happy with the arrangements.

You choosing for her or forcing her to do what you want will only cause a rift that doesn't need to be there. If she wants her mom to be there, simply go and make yourself busy. Try to avoid being around her for the sake of your stepdaughter and show that you are the bigger and better person by being polite. You don't have to be best friends but a temporary truce can make things easier for you.

Remember that you are going to have a lot of birthdays and other family events that she will be part of, so starting now will let your stepdaughter know that you care about her happiness and are willing to go out of your comfort zone for her and the baby.

If your stepdaughter is fine with her mom not being at the first shower, then make sure that it is really worth the battle not to invite her and if you are certain that she will be invited to the father's shower, then don't invite her.

Unbalanced Family & Guest Numbers

There may be times when the guest list includes more family/friends from one side of the family than the other. This may lead to thoughts of having two showers, rather than a single 'all inclusive' one. Though there is nothing wrong with having more than one shower, it may create difficulties later on if not managed very carefully.

It is all too easy to end up in a 'tit-for-tat' situation where family B excludes family A because they weren't invited to an earlier family A event. On the other hand, in cases where there are serious or simmering tensions between families, a dual shower scenario may prove to be a mutually acceptable short-term solution. - Editor

I want to have a shower for my son's first child with our family and close friends in my home. My daughter-in-law said her mother is planning a big shower at a social hall and she has decided that she doesn't want me to have one. My family is small and at other big happening in their lives I know we will be stuck in the back and not have the intimate gathering that is tradition in our family. Please help!

I'm sorry that it is a difficult time for you in regards to finding that happy medium with the in-laws. I would talk to your son about the shower and specifically how you would like to do something small and intimate with your immediate family. Let him know how you feel and ask him to discuss it with your daughter in law if you feel you cannot do it yourself. If she is still opposed to having a second baby shower, offer to host a welcome baby when baby arrives. This way you can do something small, everyone can meet the new baby and you can celebrate the arrival of your new grandchild in a manner you enjoy. The best I can offer is to talk to everyone involved and find some way to compromise.

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