We’ve all been there.
You pick up your mail and find a cute little envelope with a handwritten address, tucked between your credit card bill and your favorite magazine.
You open it up to find you are invited to yet another baby shower.
When I was younger, I seemed to get bridal shower invitations every other month. Since I was planning my own wedding, or recently married, I could totally relate to the bridal shower.
I checked the couple’s registry, picked out something I would love to have myself, and wrapped it up in pretty wedding paper with frilly ribbons and bows. I looked forward to the pretty luncheon with fancy sandwiches, seeing my friends, and maybe even buying a new dress to wear.
Then somewhere along the line, the invitations shifted from bridal showers to baby showers, and I felt like a fish out of water.
I looked up registries to find endless lists of products I just didn’t get. What was this stuff?
I had no idea, so I usually picked some wall hanging to match the crib sheets. Or a toy. Everyone can understand toys.
For the child free, a baby shower can be an awkward experience. Here are some tips for getting through it, unscathed:
1. If you truly don’t want to go, I believe it is far better to send a gift and your regrets than to attend and have a frown on your face the entire time. If you don’t think you can be congenial, spare everyone and stay home!! You are not obligated to come up with a lengthy reason why. I simple “I can’t make it” is all that’s required.
2. If you feel you must go, be a good sport about it. Your friend really is excited about this new phase in her life. Even if you are worried about the future of your friendship (and many of us are), try to find some small place in your heart to be happy for her.
3. Showers don’t drag on for days. It’s only a couple of hours. Try to enjoy something about the event – the food, the conversation with old friends, something. Focus on that.
4. If/when people start pestering you about when you’re going to have kids, be honest about your life choices, but not antagonistic. This is not a time to start a fight with Aunt Tilly. I like to say light little things like, “Our cats keep us busy enough!” Or “I’m much better at being an aunt than a mom!” Then I change the subject.
5. When choosing a gift, find something you can really get excited about giving. I absolutely love little, tiny clothes! Let the mothers in the crowd give the “practical” gifts. You be the one to wow them with a newborn jean jacket or a tiny little argyle vest!
6. The conversation will most likely leave you out. This is a fact of life when it comes to the baby shower. All of the mothers will start sharing birthing, puking, and parenting stories. Of course, you can’t relate. And that’s OK. Remind yourself of all the benefits you enjoy because you’re child free. And nod and smile.
7. When the last present is unwrapped, gracefully make your exit. Treat yourself to something you enjoy – a gourmet coffee, a new pair of shoes, a pedicure. You deserve it!