Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“Do I Have to Ask My Sister to be My Baby’s Godmother?”

I am seven months pregnant and facing a dilemma. I am 33 and have an older sister who is not married and does not have children, nor is she even dating anyone. This is my husband’s and my first baby, and he is an only child. My dilemma is that I don’t want to ask my sister to be Godmother to my baby. She and I do not always get along, and though things are”okay” right now, she has a history of getting mad at me over absolutely nothing and running to our parents to complain about how I’m not a good sister to her (because I text instead of call, for example). My mother and others have suggested that this is an extreme case of jealousy, and that she’s upset that I’m passing her by in terms of life milestones. She has barely asked me anything about being pregnant and the upcoming birth, or shown any excitement about her future (and only) niece or nephew. She also behaved similarly when I got engaged and at my wedding — barely speaking to me beforehand, vindictively not even opening the invitation to my bacherlorette party, coming late to and leaving early from the wedding.

She is pretty socially awkward, and I know (from our conversations when we are getting along) that she would love more than anything to get married and have kids. I know that I’m happier in my life right now than she is in hers, and I want to be empathetic and magnanimous. But I’m struggling with the notion that she can’t seem to look beyond herself to be happy for me. It has even been suggested that she might have mild autism, which could explain her odd reactions and poor self-expression.

Unfortunately, it would crush my mother if I did not ask my sister to be Godmother, and I’m at a loss. We’re not very religious, so it’s more of an honorary title, but since I have a great relationship with my Godmother, I want to pick someone special for my child. I suggested not picking a Godmother at all, but my mother seemed upset by that too.

Am I obligated to ask my sister, in the weak hope that it will improve our relationship in the future? — Godmother Drama

Oh Good lord, you’re 33 — it’s time to start living your life for you, not for your mother. What’s the worst that will happen if you forgo having a Godmother for your child? Is your mom going to stop talking to you? Is she going to avoid her only grandchild? I mean, really. What will probably happen is she’ll be so overcome with being a new grandmother she’ll either forget all about this whole Godmother business or she’ll passive-aggressively bring it up from time to time in the years to come. And if she chooses the latter route, you can simply tell her, “The decision has been made, Mom. It was my decision to make, I made it and the discussion — not that it ever included you — is long over. It’s time to move on.”

Honestly, I get letters like yours all the time — from grown adults who are so afraid to make decisions that will make their moms mad. Ladies! It’s time to cut the apron strings. Have you always agreed with every single decision your mother has made? No? Have you been able to carry on and have a relationship with her despite it? If so, then why on earth do you assume your mother is incapable of doing the same? Your mom isn’t going to ground you or withhold your allowance or anything else she may have done when you were a child and you did something against her wishes. You are a grown-up now. It’s perfectly OK — nay, healthy — to choose what is best for you and your immediate family even if it isn’t your mother’s first choice for you.

But for argument’s sake, let’s say you do decide to make your sister your baby’s Godmother. Since you aren’t religious, the role is pretty much honorary, as you say. I mean, you wouldn’t be expecting your sister to carry out religious-themed duties; you’d expect your sister to, like, be a special person in your kid’s life … kinda the same way you’d expect her to be a special person in your kid’s life as an aunt. The role between an honorary Godmother and an Aunt are basically the same. If anything, the expectations for an aunt are much greater than for a Godmother. And if your sister fails to meet them, do you think your kid is going to think, “Man, by Godmother sucks”? No, she’s going to think, “Man, my aunt sucks.” What I’m saying is the role of Aunt, whether it’s embraced or not, trumps the role of Godmother. So, if it keeps some peace among your family members, make the honorary designation. It’ll make your mother happy and your baby won’t really care one way or the other.

One final point: If you have someone in your life — a close friend — you’d like to give the honor of being your child’s Godmother to, I say go for it. But if it’s a choice between your sister and some random person you’d probably lose touch with in a few years without the help of Facebook, go with your sister. It won’t be any skin off your nose, and it may help create a deeper connection between her and your child. Don’t use your kid to try to improve your relationship with your sister, though. That’s a road better left untraveled (even if your destination is well-intentioned). Kids need to be kids, not pawns in a variety of relationship games.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com and be sure to follow me on Twitter.

144 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Zepp January 26, 2012, 7:05 am

    what!! picking your sister you don’t get along with would be crazy! pick your best friend. My mom’s best friend is my godmother, and she is the ‘relative’ I am closest to. My absolute favorite family vacations were when we would go visit my godmother, her husband and her daughter (I call them my aunt, uncle and cousin). My mom and her just laugh for hours when they are together and it’s the happiest time for everyone, such great vibes. We all spent christmas together this year and it was the best time.

    Friends are the family you choose, and the ‘godparent’ title kind of makes it official.

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    • avatar

      Anna January 26, 2012, 7:55 am

      “Friends are the family you choose” YES! Just because you are related to someone by blood does not mean you owe them anything, especially if there are people in your life that you are closer to.

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  • avatar

    Tax Geek January 26, 2012, 7:35 am

    >It has even been suggested that she might have mild autism, which could explain her odd reactions and poor self-expression.

    I have an 11 year old with autism and also a seven year old who is “typical.”

    This may not be popular, but I hope my younger son has more sympathy and empathy for his older brother when he is an adult than this LW seems to have for her older sister.

    And that doesn’t even include the Godmother issue. It may be her Mom is pressuring her to pick her sister because Mom does understand and sympathize with her sister’s issues.

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    • avatar

      amber January 26, 2012, 8:07 am

      My only issue with that is that she said suggested. Does that mean that her parents never did anything for the child? That maybe someone at school at some point suggested it and the parents didn’t want to hear it? I know you have a son with autism and I have a friend who works with autistic children and a friend whose parents chose to not help their son. If she was never formally diagnosed or got treatment, it could have been difficult growing up with her. I think much more difficult than dealing with someone whose family deals head on with the diagnosis. Like I’m sure you explain to your younger son what is going on, did the LWs family do that?

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      • avatar

        Tax Geek January 26, 2012, 8:17 am

        Fair enough that there may not be an official diagnosis.

        And again, the LW is free to choose whoever she wants to be the Godmother of her child.

        But at 33 I would hope that she realizes that everyone’s “wiring” is different; as she has seen with her sister and her. And the fact it has been brought up might lead to a little more sympathy.

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      • avatar

        amber January 26, 2012, 9:21 am

        I agree, I think as an adult it would be nice of the LW to take some time and research autism. And it would be nice if she could be more sympathetic. I think I was trying to say that it is very hard growing up in a house where the parents don’t take hold of the diagnosis. I think it can do real damage to relationships between family members.

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      • avatar

        iseeshiny January 26, 2012, 8:46 am

        To be fair to the parents, there was not nearly as much information on the subject twenty/thirty years ago as there is now, particularly the idea that it’s a spectrum disorder with varying degrees of severity.

        Not to mention it’s in fashion lately to armchair diagnose anyone with social issues as having “Aspergers,” like it’s some sort of catchall for awkwardness. Also like Aspergers is the only mild form of the disorder they’ve ever heard of. “It has even been suggested” – by whom? I’m not saying the sister isn’t on the spectrum, just that we don’t know.

        (Fair disclosure: My youngest brother does have a diagnosis, and it really drives me nuts to hear grown ass people use their “autism” as an excuse for their poor behavior. Like, if you really think you have it, go see a professional about it. Otherwise I’m not buying it.)

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      • avatar

        amber January 26, 2012, 9:25 am

        I definitely agree with that, obviously the way autism is treated now is much different than it was before. But, I was confused by the idea that it was suggested and what that even meant. I also agree that Aspergers is thrown around as a term when it shouldn’t be. It’s very frustrating to see people actually living with the autism and not get frustrated at the people who misuse the diagnosis.

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      • rainbow

        rainbow January 26, 2012, 12:50 pm

        Exactly. It’s like the summer of love of self-diagnosed Aspergers these days.
        It was the same for with bipolar disorder a few years ago.

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      • JK

        JK January 26, 2012, 12:51 pm

        Don´t forget OCD, as well!

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    • landygirl

      landygirl January 26, 2012, 10:45 am

      You are personalizing the LW’s story to your own circumstances and that doesn’t seem to be the case.

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    • avatar

      CollegeCat January 26, 2012, 12:23 pm

      Empathy? Sympathy? Thats all I am getting from this LW. If she did not care about her sisters and her mom’s feelings she would have said no way sis is going to be the godmother and ended the discussion. She also would have left out the fact that her sister may have autism and is socially awkward/lonely and just led us to believe that she is a jealous B who couldn’t be bothered to care about her sisters engagement or pregnancy. After all there are plenty of adults who may or may not be on the spectrum who have managed to sit through their sisters wedding in its entirety amirite? Instead the LW is trying to somehow justify giving her uninvolved sister a big role in her child’s life to make someone else happy. If anything the LW has too much empathy, sympathy and desire to please others. You are seriously projecting your own fears on to this LW and its not fair.

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      • avatar

        Tax Geek January 26, 2012, 1:52 pm

        >After all there are plenty of adults who may or may not be on the spectrum who have managed to sit through their sisters wedding in its entirety amirite?

        Very true.

        But there are also plenty who would have serious trouble doing so, and know it. So they might cope in ways that others may view as odd or even anti-social. One of the things that people/kids on the spectrum are taught is how to cope with situations that are anxiety inducing

        I think we are coming at this from best case and worst case. Maybe the sister is an anti-social jerk. Or maybe not.

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      • theattack

        theattack January 26, 2012, 8:53 pm

        I agree. And honestly, even if she had autism and everyone knew, is it the LW’s responsibility to designate her sister as the godmother out of sympathy for her? I sure don’t think so.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom January 26, 2012, 7:54 am

    This is your decision and don’t feel that you have to bow to family pressure. Make the decision, with your husband, that you both feel is in the best interest of your baby. If your sister is negative and somewhat unstable I don’t see a good reason to put her feelings or wants ahead of those of your baby. Your baby is your primary concern here. Parenting means making the best decisions possible for your child. What is in the best interests of your child? One final thing to consider is that choosing a godparent shows a level of respect for that person and it can be considered if a guardian is needed for your child. If I wouldn’t want that person to be considered as a guardian for my child I personally wouldn’t choose them to be a godparent. If your sister is choosen to be the godparent she could stand in court some day and say I am the only aunt that this child has and her parents chose me as the godmother and so it shows that they would want me to be the guardian of this child. Please choose someone you would actually want and also write a will that states who you would want as guardian of your child because if she is the only aunt and there are no uncles then the courts would probably make her the guardian of your child if anything happened to you.

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    • avatar

      TMSC January 26, 2012, 9:31 am

      Yes, I feel like the aspect of gaurdianship is being overlooked. Generally, if you agree to be a Godparent, you are in essence agreeing to possibly taking responsibility for that child if something happens to the parents. At least, that has always been my understanding. So I agree, I think the LW needs to do what is best for her child, regardless of what anybody else thinks, or who might get their feelings hurt. If the LW honestly doesn’t feel her sister is the best person when taking this aspect into consideration, she should ask somebody else.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest January 26, 2012, 9:44 am

        I think that might have been how it worked a long time ago, but nowadays, you actually have to appoint a guardian in your estate planning documents. A godmother would never just get your child should something happen to you. So, I don’t think that really has any weight to the choice in godparent.

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      • avatar

        ForeverYoung January 26, 2012, 9:57 am

        Yeah I agree, my understanding is that now it really is just an honorary title. I know my “godparents” were not in the will as the people that would take care of me in the event my parents died.

        LW don’t be stressed about this. Frankly you don’t even need to pick a godparent at all if you dont want to. You have such an exciting event coming up you should focus on that. My godparent was one of my moms friends that I now havent seen in 15 years (although my mom still does). Godparents are kind of like bridesmaids, some people really think they’re necessary, other people think they’re for show, and other people get by in life just fine without them.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom January 26, 2012, 9:59 am

        But if you have no documents then they look at close relatives. They would choose from available grandparents and aunts and uncles. In this case there is only one aunt and the grandparents. The decision would be based on who they thought would be most able to care for the child. Grandparents are usually choosen first but if they aren’t healthy and/or there seemed to be an indication that the parents might prefer the aunt then that would be considered by a judge. It is very important that the parents have given some indication of who they want to raise their child if anything should happen to them. Even if they can’t afford a lawyer right now they could write out a document in their own writing, telling who they want to raise their child if they can’t and sign and date it and have other people sign and date it and give copies to multiple people. That would give evidence of who that wanted to raise their child. A formal will would be better.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest January 26, 2012, 10:29 am

        You’re right, but appointing a godparent would hold no bearing on the determination of guardianship whatsoever. Also, I assume there is a huband/father in this situation and his entire family, so to say there are only 2 grandparents and this sister (who may/may not be autistic) is likely incorrect and there are probably many other options of guardian, but that’s beside the point.

        Anyway, another good time to remind everyone with children to get their estate planning documents in order!

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      • avatar

        Francine January 26, 2012, 6:47 pm

        It’s a little OT but just thought I’d mention, since this thread has ventured in this direction, that when no guardian has been legally designated by the parents, the court does not attempt to determine who the parents would’ve wanted. They determine who, among those petitioning to become the minor children’s guardian is best suited for that role. First consideration would be given to immediate family members (the children’s grandparents, aunts, uncles or adult siblings) if any have petitioned the court for guardianship. If no family members have petitioned or been deemed suitable then other petitioners would be considered but the court would still be determining who would best fill the role of guardian, not who the parents would’ve picked if they had legally designated someone. And the title of godparent or notes written by the parents would hold little weight in making that determination.

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      • avatar

        bethany January 26, 2012, 11:55 am

        One of my Aunts is my Godmother, and another was appointed as my legal guardian, if something happened to my parents. Legally, being a Godmother is equal to just about mothing.

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  • avatar

    Addie Pray January 26, 2012, 8:02 am

    You guys, for the last hour and a half I thought it was Friday. Well shit.

    (Sorry, LW, I don’t have anything to add to Wendy’s perfect response, and this random thought that I clearly had to share wasn’t Forum Board-worthy.)

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    • avatar

      Tax Geek January 26, 2012, 8:04 am

      But it is.

      In Austalia.

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      • avatar

        Tax Geek January 26, 2012, 8:05 am

        And Australia too [grumbles over spelling].

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    • avatar

      jlyfsh January 26, 2012, 8:14 am

      me too, AP, me too. such a sad thing.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray January 26, 2012, 8:46 am

        Are we so sure it isn’t? How can we really know? Fuck it. I am not changing out of these jeans. If anyone from HR asks, I am starting a new policy called Denim Thursdays. It’s going to be a thing.

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    • avatar

      honeybeenicki January 26, 2012, 8:14 am

      Its my Friday 🙂 I work 4 10 hour days at my full time job and 20 hours every other weekend at my part time job and this happens to be the weekend I don’t have to work, so once I’m done with work today (9 hours and counting), I am off for 3 days.

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    • avatar

      ReginaRey January 26, 2012, 8:14 am

      I get the day off tomorrow since I worked overtime this week (they have to comp me any overtime by giving me the same hours off – score)…so today kind of IS Friday…for me. 😉

      Also, I also don’t have much to add to Wendy’s response, other than to second the notion that we need to stop worrying about what our parents will think at every turn.

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      • caitie_didnt

        caitie_didnt January 26, 2012, 8:18 am

        ahhh my old job let me bank my hours like that…it was the best! Especially those two weeks when I worked three 17-hour days each week. I got an EXTRA long weekend after that 🙂

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    • JK

      JK January 26, 2012, 8:22 am

      I´m glad it´s not friday just yet, a group of mums from my daughter´s kindy have organized to go tomorrow on an outing with the little group of friends, but I´m freaking out about it, its going to be the furthest I have ever driven, and I´m REALLY not looking forward to it.

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    • avatar

      daisy January 26, 2012, 9:06 am

      In Israel our work week is Sunday-Thursday so every Thursday is Friday, which is awesome! But when the alarm goes off at 6:30 Sunday morning it’s about a million times worse than Monday!

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      • avatar

        rangerchic January 26, 2012, 9:38 am

        I so wish it was Friday. My daughter’s birthday is Saturday and she is having a few friends over for a sleepover and I’m taking them to the movies to see We Bought a Zoo. Kind of looking forward to it! 🙂

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    • avatar

      ktfran January 26, 2012, 10:30 am

      All day yesterday, I thought it was Thursday. In my mind, that makes today Friday. And it’s not. Yuck!

      This week is dragging on forever and ever and ever.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray January 26, 2012, 10:33 am

        Oh you know what? It’s kind of Wendy’s fault. Because she unveiled the Forum Boards on Monday when DW’s birthday wasn’t until Tuesday, and so now we’re all a little (ie, a day) off. That’s it. Or we’re stupid.

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    • CatsMeow

      CatsMeow January 26, 2012, 11:53 am

      See, I keep thinking it’s Wednesday. And yesterday I was SURE that it was Tuesday.

      In my defense, I just got back from vacation.

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  • FireStar

    FireStar January 26, 2012, 8:20 am

    If you are willing to forego having one at all then making your sister godmother should not be that big a deal. If you want a special friend of yours but don’t want to upset your mom then have two godmothers. Plenty of my friends gave their children more than two godparents – more people to love the kid, no one gets offended. Win win.

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    • avatar

      ktfran January 26, 2012, 10:19 am

      I kind of like this statement. My niece has two dodmothers. Me and her other aunt “ktfran.” Yes, both of her dodmothers have the same name.

      Anyway, my parents had three girls and my brother in law has one sister. The oldest niece has both a godmother and father. When the second one came around, there was no male in paticular they were close with. Hence the two godmothers. LW, look into your options.

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    • avatar

      summerkitten26 January 26, 2012, 11:16 am

      I was hoping someone would suggest this! LW, my siblings and I grew up with each of us having at least 3 godparents. Our parents put thought into each decision (since godparents are supposed to help form you into a person and our culture is a “it takes a village” kind, our parents thought that exposing us to at least 3 adults who weren’t family would give us different perspectives to grow up with). And what having multiple godparents has done is expand our family and the number of loving people we grew up with. But what it has also done has provided a cushion for when a few of those godparents turned out to be bad eggs or actually unhealthy for our development. Our parents minimized or cut off our contact with them (one of mine tried to steal my identity when I wasn’t even 6, another refused to talk to my brother because ‘she didn’t like men and he was going to grow up to be worthless anyway.’) and explained to us that sometimes people take different paths in life, but we still had family ad other godparents who loved and supported us.

      what I’m saying is that it’s possible and not uncommon to give your son or daughter multiple godparents, ESPECIALLY, I think, if s/he is meant to be an only child. godparents’ children can be like siblings or cousins. you get to soothe your mother/pacify your sister, and ensure that your child could still have someone to form the special bond with that you have with your godparent. and if your sister does abuse her position as godparent, you’ll be able to explain to your child that sometimes, people like Aunt ______ do inexplicable things, and it’s not because she doesn’t love him or her, but because they’ve got their own issues. And (godparent # 2) still is there for him or her

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  • caitie_didnt

    caitie_didnt January 26, 2012, 8:23 am

    I dunno, LW. I’m kind of glad you’re not my sister, because mostly what I hear in this letter is “wocka wocka wocka my life is so much better than my sister’s, I’m so much happier than her and I just pity her so much”. Nobody wants to be pitied, and your sister is an adult who is choosing to live her life a certain way and doesn’t really need your judgement.

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    • avatar

      iseeshiny January 26, 2012, 8:48 am

      Wish I could like this twice.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray January 26, 2012, 8:52 am

        Wait, can’t you? You mean all those times I tried to like my comments multiple times, it only got a measly pfff ONE like? All that energy wasted.

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      • avatar

        iseeshiny January 26, 2012, 9:48 am

        It even fades out like it’s thinking about it and then just comes back with the same number! The thumb is a tease!

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    • avatar

      Something More January 26, 2012, 9:09 am

      Hmm… I really didn’t get that from her letter.

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      • caitie_didnt

        caitie_didnt January 26, 2012, 9:51 am

        that whole “i’m passing her by in terms of life milestones” just killed me. KILLED ME. What kind of asshole says that, out loud, about their older sister?? I’m sure some people *think* it, but honestly, who comes right out and says it out loud?

        Also, the LW makes sure to let us know that the most important facts about her sister are that she’s umarried, childless and older than 33. quel horreur!!! It’s obvious that the LW feels that those are absolutely the most important things a women can do with her life. And that’s cool, for her. But why does she feel her sister should feel the same way? Does her sister have a fantastic career? A great group of friends? Amazing pets? Is she a talented artist/musician? We don’t even know, because those things don’t matter, according to LW.

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      • avatar

        kittyk January 26, 2012, 10:37 am

        I didn’t read it like that at all. In fact, she even says that her mother and others have suggested that the sister is likely jealous over the LW meeting these life milestones ahead of her. So while it might be a thought she’s had as well, I’d imagine the sister is saying or doing things to make people around her come to this conclusion of jealousy. She knows from conversations with her sister that her sister would love more than anything to be married and have kids.

        I agree with you that there is much more to life than just being married and having kids, but I don’t think the LW came across as thinking that all those other things don’t matter or even having a negative opinion of her sister’s life. It sounds like her sister is the one who might think like that, which is why she’s possibly jealous and not very supportive or happy for her younger sis.

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      • caitie_didnt

        caitie_didnt January 26, 2012, 10:51 am

        Somehow, I just don’t think that a meddling, over-involved mother is an unbiased source of information about jealousy…..

        I think it’s much more likely that the mom doesn’t “get” the older sister (whether b/c she has Asperger’s, which I don’t buy, or social anxiety), doesn’t agree with or respect her life choices and doesn’t understand how she expresses herself. Just because the sister isn’t fawning over the LW and trying to live vicariously through her doesn’t mean she’s not happy or excited to be an aunt, in her own way. Mom probably just assumes that because sister hasn’t followed the life path that her and her youngest daughter deem the ONLY acceptable one, she *must* be totally, ravingly jealous.

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      • avatar

        kittyk January 26, 2012, 11:20 am

        Now this I will agree with- you framed your original response as the LW being the one projecting these values on her sister and I just don’t think that is the case. But it is very likely that the mother is doing so.

        And you’re absolutely right about the them probably not ‘getting’ the sister and misinterpreting her actions as jealousy.

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      • avatar

        meg January 26, 2012, 11:20 am

        “What kind of asshole says that, out loud, about their older sister?? I’m sure some people *think* it, but honestly, who comes right out and says it out loud?”

        Yea, she didn’t say it out loud, she wrote it in anonymously to an advice column because it’s what was suggested to her. > “My mother and others have suggested that this is an extreme case of jealousy, and that she’s upset that I’m passing her by in terms of life milestones.”

        She’s simply relaying her sister’s behavior and her family member’s conclusions about it in her letter. She’s not running around town saying, “My sister’s jealous that I’m more awesome.” She’s asking ANONYMOUS advice for a real problem. If someone in your family started fights with you for no reason and blew you off during your wedding and pregnancy, wouldn’t you try to figure out why (if only to provide some context within a letter to an advice column)?? I think her conclusion drawn from all the given information is fairly reasonable and doesn’t necessarily mean that she thinks marriage and babies “are absolutely the most important things a women can do with her life.”

        Her letter is being taken WAAAAAYYY out of context here.

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      • caitie_didnt

        caitie_didnt January 26, 2012, 11:39 am

        Maybe I am taking it out of context, but the fact that the LW even had to write in for advice shows me that she’s making a huge deal about this. Not to mention the fact that her phrasing of wanting to be “magnanimous and empathetic” and “i know I’m happier in my life than she is in hers” rub me in WAY the wrong way. I really think that the LW comes off as self-satisfied and smug, at best, and clearly things she’s doing her poor, barren, spinster sister (who’s obviously totally jealous of her) a gigantic favour and she should totally get a medal for even thinking of it, you guys.

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      • avatar

        kittyk January 26, 2012, 11:58 am

        I read “I know I’m happier in my life than she is in hers” as “magnanimous and empathetic.” LW’s got the genuine impression that the sister isn’t completely happy with where her life is and is somewhat jealous of the joys the LW is experiencing in her own life.

        Anywho, we obviously got completely different impressions of the LW here. I can completely picture the type that you’re talking about, but I don’t think thats the case here. Agree to disagree 🙂

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    • avatar

      cporoski January 26, 2012, 9:15 am

      Totally agree! LW, if your life is so much more blessed then your sister, be the better person. You want to be gracious then DO IT. You have the choice of being a loving sister who could give this honor to someone who would appreciate it more then someone with a big life. You have everything your sister wanted and you don’t think she is happy enough for you?

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest January 26, 2012, 9:45 am

      Yep.

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    • landygirl

      landygirl January 26, 2012, 11:28 am

      I didn’t interpet it that way at all.

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    • avatar

      Trixy Minx January 26, 2012, 2:19 pm

      I don’t see where you got that from. The older sister sounds like a whiny brat.
      “she has a history of getting mad at me over absolutely nothing and running to our parents to complain about how I’m not a good sister to her”. Really? She’s in her thirties and still throws temper tantrums.

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  • avatar

    milli January 26, 2012, 8:30 am

    I have a feeling that this will be an unpopular opinion, but here it goes: the fact that your sister does not seem to be excited by all the news in your life does not mean that she is not happy for you. Maybe she just does not know how to express it. I have the same problem when friends tell me this kind of news. Of course I am happy for them, but a big display of happiness is just not my thing.
    Now, on another note, why do you feel the need to hear from her that she is unhappy with her life? Maybe she just does not feel that she can open up to you regarding her problems because you keep telling everyone about the “perfect” life you have, and how you are “passing her by in terms of life milestones”.

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  • avatar

    silver_dragon_girl January 26, 2012, 9:00 am

    1. Some people really don’t care about weddings and kids. I mean, seriously, not everyone is going to be falling over herself to ask you about your wedding and pregnancy and marriage and child.
    2. If you don’t want your sister to be your child’s godmother, don’t ask her to be. It’s as simple as that. This is a decision that really has nothing to do with your mother, it should be between you and your husband.
    3. Consider the fact that your sister might not even WANT to be your kid’s godmother.
    4. How do you know that more than anything she wants to be married with kids? I just notice that the first thing you tell us about your sister is that she’s not married, doesn’t have kids, and “isn’t even dating anyone.” This suggests that you feel these are the most important facts we should know about her. Is that how she feels, or is it how you feel? There are a lot of life milestones that don’t involve babies- how is she doing on those?

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    • avatar

      kittyk January 26, 2012, 10:41 am

      “4. How do you know that more than anything she wants to be married with kids?”

      From the letter:

      “She is pretty socially awkward, and I know (from our conversations when we are getting along) that she would love more than anything to get married and have kids.”

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        silver_dragon_girl January 26, 2012, 10:47 am

        Yeah, I saw that, but for some reason I doubt it. I don’t know why- probably just projecting my own stuff here, but people have a way of hearing what they want to hear. Unless her sister specifically said, “you know, I’m so jealous of you. I would love to be married and have kids! I feel like you’re beating me to all these milestones,” I’m guessing that the LW is interpreting their conversations the way she wants to.

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        silver_dragon_girl January 26, 2012, 10:53 am

        Also, because in my experience, when anyone says “he/she is jealous of how awesome my life is,” 99.9% of the time the person in question is not, in fact, jealous.

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        kittyk January 26, 2012, 11:24 am

        Yes, it’s very possible she misinterpreted things her sister has said. It seems to be a common interpretation on here, but the whole letter just read differently to me. It isn’t completely outside the realm of possibility that the sister is legitimately jealous. Her social awkwardness makes me think that her mom and the LW are reading more into her (lack of) actions than necessary, though.

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      • Just Max

        Just Max January 26, 2012, 11:53 am

        This. There have been times when I have said out loud that I don’t want kids and others just dismiss it and say “oh, you’ll change your mind.” There are some people that only hear what they want to hear.

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        ForeverYoung January 26, 2012, 12:47 pm

        Ugh that’s the worst. It drives me crazy when people assume the only way to have a fulfilling life is to get married and have lots and lots of babies. Know what’s really fulfilling for me? 5pm tequila time.

        This LW kind of irks me. Not to relate every LW to reality tv, but this LW is Kyle Richards twin.

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      • katie

        katie January 26, 2012, 10:53 pm

        i hate the “oh, you’ll change your mind”!!!!!! so much!!!

        in the break room a couple nights ago, one of the guys actually said “thats an awful thing to say”, when i said i didnt think i want kids… how is that awful??? i didnt get it.

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  • avatar

    LeahW. January 26, 2012, 9:00 am

    From everything you’ve said, it doesn’t sound like your sister would WANT to be the baby’s godmother! She’s not even acting excited (note I said acting, as there’s no way to know what she actually feels if she doesn’t tell you), so why would she want to be put into a situation where she’s obligated to care for and about your new baby? Even if you don’t do a baptism or other religious ceremony, she’ll likely have all sorts of family members chiming in about this role at future family gatherings. It seems like that would really put her on the spot when all her actions suggest she wants to fade into the woodwork when faced with your big life milestones.

    I would go back to your Mom, say that making your sister the godmother to your baby wouldn’t work for either of you and that she seems like the only person who would actually be upset by this turn of events. I would be apologetic but firm. After all, it’s only natural that a mother would want her daughters, and grandchildren, to be close, but it’s not healthy to pretend that you have that kind of relationship when it’s not actually there. Letting your sister off the hook here would be doing HER a favor, one that might make her more likely to feel comfortable playing a role in your child’s life later on. Like Wendy said, she will always be an aunt to this child and it’s up to her, not you or your mother, to decide what that relationship is going to look like.

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  • Budj

    Budj January 26, 2012, 9:12 am

    Do what you want.

    I don’t think your sister would even want to be Godmother from the sounds of it…if she does have autism I would spend some time researching it and how you can better navigate your relationship with her.

    Parents that like to be in control of their kids (or adult children) will eventually warm up to the idea that they can offer an opinion, but have no say in our decisions…they just have a hard time getting to the realization that they won’t always and don’t have to be in control of our decisions. Long story short – your mother will get over it.

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  • avatar

    Tax Geek January 26, 2012, 9:15 am

    I commented above about the relationship with the sister, but I have a thought or two about Godparents in particular. I don’t think the Godparents of my two boys are involved any more or less in their lives than they would be had they not been Godparents. And I am the Godfather of one of my nephews; again, I am not in his life any more or less than I would be if I was not his Godfather.

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    • Budj

      Budj January 26, 2012, 9:22 am

      This too. Both of my God parents are not really involved in my life. Both live 10 hours away, one is mostly estranged, and the other comes in town once a year.

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  • Jess

    Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com January 26, 2012, 9:18 am

    Yes, I think the strongest argument you have is what Wendy mentioned about the role of Aunt vs Godmother. “What I’m saying is the role of Aunt, whether it’s embraced or not, trumps the role of Godmother.”

    I totally agree. And I think this is an excellent reason to choose ANOTHER person to be your baby’s godmother. Because even if you had a wonderful relationship with your sister, the idea is to have an ADDITIONAL person to your child’s support team. Right?

    Let’s hope that the sweet innocence of your little baby will woo your sister into action. Sometimes little babies have the power to cut through selfish bitterness in a way that nothing else does.

    Good luck and congrats on your impending arrival!

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  • fast eddie

    fast eddie January 26, 2012, 9:19 am

    I’m a non-religious godfather to my friends children who are now adults and have children of their own that I adore. This started over 50 years ago before my friends even meet. I asked them if they would let me call myself that and they approved for which I’m very grateful.

    My point is that this is something that MAY be important to your child down the road. I spoiled the kids rotten and continue to do so with no intention of stopping. It’s your call and yours alone. Your mother would be way out of line for interfering but consider that she isn’t going to drop out of you or your kids life if you decide to not approve your sisters nomination. Your sister’s going to be an aunt. If that’s not enough for her that’s her problem so don’t let it be yours or put it on your kid(s). Your going to be a parent thus it’s your responsibility to be as good at it as possible. The child’s well being overrides everything else.

    Your sister is going to be part of you and the child’s life forever thus at least compromise must be attained. I’d leave her to be the crazy aunt that must be tolerated. The kids will figure out for themselves how to deal with her. You have enough to handle already and will soon be overwhelmed with a new born as Wendy has been and shared with us. Put this issue on the back burner an concentrate on preparing for your baby’s birth.

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  • Just Max

    Just Max January 26, 2012, 9:34 am

    I don’t know what to say to the LW; so I’ll just share what happened to me a couple of years ago.
    I was the “older sister who is not married and does not have children, nor is she even dating anyone” while one of my sisters was pregnant. I was ecstatic for her; and told her I’d support her and be there for her. But things didn’t turn out so great; to say that our relationship was, er, difficult, is putting it mildly; she just couldn’t stand me the whole time; pushed me away as much as she was capable of; for days at the time, wouldn’t even talk to me. Now, I was not in her house all day, every day, or calling her all the time; I was working and attending college full time; had my own things going on. But I did make it a point to let her know that I was available; and I was there the times she needed me and actually called. Was I jealous of her wonderful life? No; I was exactly where I wanted to be. Was I upset that she was younger and married and having a kid? No. I don’t want kids of my own and everyone knows it. So, why was she so mean to me? I have heard her say that it was her crazy hormones; but I don’t know. I’m still hurt, and we have spoken about it; but I have never gotten a real explanation. (Hey, DW mothers: did you ‘hate’ someone in particular while you were pregnant? Why?).
    I guess the point of my rambling is that perhaps the perception the LW has of her sister is not exactly correct or how her sister sees things herself. Also, like someone said on another post, perhaps she doesn’t feel as if she could open up to you about her own life, while you are more vocal about yours.

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    • JK

      JK January 26, 2012, 9:42 am

      I never hated anyone when I was pregnant, I did have very little tolerance for everyone, though (with my 2nd pregnancy especially), come to think of it, I must have been a real pain with that!!!

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    • avatar

      savannah January 26, 2012, 9:53 am

      Agreed. Its possible that as the LW is building up this life she thinks they both want, her sister is looking on and is content with her own life choices, not envious. In the same way that my friends are signing year long leases and job contracts–sure I am happy for them because I know thats what they want. However, its not what I want and they know that.
      Also this statement “I know that I’m happier in my life right now than she is in hers, and I want to be empathetic and magnanimous” mades me wanna give her the stink eye. Kings and Queens are magnanimous, little sister are not.

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      • avatar

        silver_dragon_girl January 26, 2012, 10:48 am

        Yeah, this letter really reminds me of the “how can I not be bothered by my fiance’s best man’s lack of teeth?”

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      rangerchic January 26, 2012, 9:58 am

      Hi Just Max. I’ve had two kids and I didn’t hate/dislike someone just because of my hormones when I was pregnant. I did have mood swings and cravings and slight morning sickness but I didn’t take it out on anyone in particular. I’m the oldest of 4 kids so I was the first to have a baby anyway but still – being pregnant is no excuse to treat someone so poorly.

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      • Just Max

        Just Max January 26, 2012, 11:57 am

        I know someone that, during her 6th pregnancy, told me that her condition wasn’t an excuse to treat others bad. She is one of the sweetest people I’ve gotten the pleasure to know. 🙂

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  • avatar

    Caris January 26, 2012, 9:36 am

    My two cents: My godmother is my aunt (my moms sister). They never really got along. My aunt always stops talking to people she feels did something wrong to her, even if they didn’t, which pretty much resulted in her not talking to any of her 4 siblings and her 4 siblings not liking her very much cause she does all this crazy things. Anyways, she never did anything as my aunt/godmother. When I was younger she’d pay some attention to me but pretty much always ignored me. She never even called me for my b-day. So my opinion is, choose someone you are actually close to to be your baby’s godmother.

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  • avatar

    evanscr05 January 26, 2012, 9:37 am

    I think this might also depend a lot upon what your definition of a godparent is. I know they are intended to be there to provide spiritual guidance to your child, but not everyone perceives the title the same. For instance, I grew up Baptist. We don’t do infant baptisms, so a godparent does not participate in your religious upbringing in quite the same manner (this is also based upon my own experiences, so one size does not fit all and could be different for others). We view godparents as someone that you would choose to be the person, or people, that you would like to raise your child should something ever happen to you and your spouse. So, a potential future legal guardian. I know that’s the not the intended definition, but it is how we define it in my entire family. My husband’s family is UCC, and thusly DO infant baptisms, so the godparents are there to provide religious guidance, not legal guardianship. His godparents are his aunt and uncle, but only because his family is incredibly close. If they weren’t (as is the case in your family), then it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for his godparents to have been some of his parent’s best friends. If your interpretation is the same as my family, then this is a big decision to make. Just because you are related to someone does not mean that you have to be close to them, trust them, or even like them. If you have a good friend, or another relative, that you view as someone that would respect your wishes and raise your child in a manner you would approve of should the unthinkable happen, then choose them, and stay firm with your family if they bring it up. If, however, it’s just a title you give someone for certain religious ceremonies (and who may or may not actually play a part in their spiritual upbringing), and if you have no one else in mind for the role, then what is the harm? Your sister might appreciate the gesture more than you know, and it could help bridge the gap and bring you closer, as Wendy said.

    Additionally, think about it this way. When you married your husband, you became your own family with your own traditions and rituals. Your child is a member of that family, not the one you (or your husband) had as a child. While you can certainly take into consideration the input your mother, or any other family member, has given, this is not her choice. It is you and your husband’s decision, not anyone elses. They certainly don’t have to like it, but they DO have to respect it. Unless they are truly dispicable people, your parents will get past it and move on with life.

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    • avatar

      Something More January 26, 2012, 11:46 am

      I LOVE your last paragraph.

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  • avatar

    jlyfsh January 26, 2012, 9:38 am

    I think really the relationships between Godparents and children varies so much between families. For instance I don’t really have a relationship with both of my Godparents (one is my uncle who I am close to, but the other not). However, I have friends who are extremely close to their Godparents. I think that affects how you feel about choosing them. I really have never worried about choosing Godparents because they didn’t affect me. That being said I think that being a part of your child’s life is probably important to your sister. I can’t imagine not being a part of my niece’s or nephew’s life. I would say to give her a chance. I’m going to guess that she’s going to surprise you and be very excited when the baby comes. I’m not crazy about kids but I can’t get enough of my nieces and nephews!

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    • avatar

      Something More January 26, 2012, 9:52 am

      I agree. If LW is worried that her sister won’t want to be active her her kid’s life, maybe she could wait until after the baby is born to see how her sister acts THEN make a decision. Like you said, maybe after the baby is born the sister is all about it and then the answer to her question would be more obvious. The kid’s not even born yet. There isn’t a rush…

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest January 26, 2012, 10:00 am

        Great point. No reason to choose today, see how she is with your daughter.

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    lets_be_honest January 26, 2012, 9:41 am

    Haven’t read the comments yet, so hopefully I’m not repeating but this is what stuck out to me in this letter…
    “I want to pick someone special for my child. I suggested not picking a Godmother at all”
    Hmm. This is all about wanting someone special for your child? Really? Then why is no one is better than your sister?

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    • avatar

      Something More January 26, 2012, 9:47 am

      I think maybe she just means that she wants the person she picks to be special and probably involved in her kid’s life which her sister seems to have no interst in doing. And if she doesn’t have that, then she’d rather not pick anyone.

      That’s how I read it, anyway.

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        lets_be_honest January 26, 2012, 9:54 am

        I’ve read through the comments now and I’m really surprised with Wendy’s comment and the rest of them (except for a few). I totally agree that your mother shouldn’t be making huge decisions like this for you and you should do what you want as an adult and parent of your soon to be born child. But…
        I just read this whole thing as ‘I’m so much better than her’ that when I got to the part about picking no one at all, I couldn’t read it any other way. Its possible the sister has no interest, but I don’t know that and it sounds like the LW doesn’t for sure either. Just because the sister is at a different point in her life and isn’t drooling over the pregnancy doesn’t mean she isn’t looking forward to being an aunt. I’d be pretty insulted if I was overlooked by my only sister to be the godparent. Maybe that’s childish, but I know I would be. Same goes for maid of honor role or things like that.

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      • avatar

        summerkitten26 January 26, 2012, 11:30 am

        I can see how you read it that way, but I don’t think that’s quite it. the sister has a habit (whether it’s autism or not; I’d say not) of throwing passive aggressive tantrums and giving silent treatment to family members who we’re told did little to deserve it. if the LW has grown up with that sort of nonsense and sees the patterns in her life where her sister has tried to be manipulative emotionally or even disrespectful through her actions (barely putting FaceTime in at the wedding, being unsupportive in any way, etc), then I can see why she’d want to shield her child from exposure to that, exposure that would be much greater if the sister were aunt as well as godmother. I’d expect her to shield her young child from that as a parent.

        I don’t think it’s autism, but I’m not a doctor. and my compromise would be having multiple godparents for this child. and if the LW voices her concerns to her sister (mother needs to back off), and they come to an understanding, then great! but otherwise, the sister’s behavior is toxic, has hurt the LW in the past, and it’s her call as to whether to expose her child to that

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  • avatar

    Something More January 26, 2012, 9:44 am

    My mom had sisters and brothers to choose from for my godparents, but went with a couple of her friends from high school. It was meant to be more than honorary, but ended up really being just that as both had moved out of the area not long after I was baptized. Also, I am the godmother to my sister’s daughter, but to her I am just Tia. I am more her aunt than her godmother. Neither of my daughters are baptized (which my mother reminds me once a year a least) but that was my decision.

    LW, I agree that if you have someone that you are close to then chose them. Or no one at all. It’s you and your husband’s decision. Completely.

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle January 26, 2012, 9:47 am

    LW, you mention so many reasons why you don’t get along with your sister or why you think she isn’t happy for you– but a lot of those seem to be due to her social awkwardness (which you bring up more than once)

    Someone who’s uncomfortable in social settings (to the point where its “been suggested” they have a mild form of autism) would be VERY likely to arrive late to & leave early from a wedding, for no other reason except that they feel awkward being there. And similiar to what milli said above, maybe expressing excitement isn’t her thing. For example, my default tone of voice is kind of flat, and I’m not very… effusive? so I’ve realized that people misread my emotions a lot of the time. When this happens, I can always correct myself or clarify, but if your sister actually IS mildly autistic, then she might not even be able to discern others’ reactions to her?

    Also, while asking someone about their preganancy (or new job, or apartment search, or whatever) is a second-nature conversation tactic for most, maybe it just doesn’t occur to your sister to mention these basic things. Not because she’s bitter, or doesn’t care, but because she doesn’t have the skill set. I realize I’m speculating– but I feel like these points could be good for you to consider.

    As for making her your child’s godmother or not, that’s up to you. I don’t see the harm, especially since it’s sort of an honorary title. My uncle is also technically my “godfather” but like Wendy said, I never think of him as such. Why not just give it to her?

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    • avatar

      MissDre January 26, 2012, 10:34 am

      I agree with this… LW maybe your sister’s issues (whether it’s autism, aspergers, depression, bi-polar, or maybe just insecurity… who knows) aren’t about her being jealous or unhappy for you… maybe she really doesn’t know how to express herself. Maybe you should take the time to try and really relate to your sister and understand her?

      Or, maybe you already have tried and things just aren’t working between you. I’m not going to jump down your throat and assume you’re the uncaring, unsympathetic, condescending sister… maybe you guys are just different and don’t understand each other and that’s ok.

      What it all comes down to is, do what feels right for you. If you don’t want your sister to be the godmother? Don’t make her. If you don’t want a godmother at all? Who cares! Seriously, your mom will get over it and your sister will be just fine. Just be welcoming and give her the chance to be a good aunt.

      Best of luck to you, LW. Congrats on your pregnancy and for achieving the milestones that are important to you.

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    • CatsMeow

      CatsMeow January 26, 2012, 12:06 pm

      Talk about misreading emotions….

      I have chronic bitchface. When I relax, the corners of my mouth turn down naturally.

      Also, at work, I’m able to tune people out COMPLETELY. So people might walk by and say hi or bye, or say something to me, and if they don’t know me and how I’m basically in my own head all the time, they think I’m a bitch.

      And my show of excitement for pregnancies is usually faked. Not the excitement itself, but the SHOW of excitement.

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      • avatar

        mcminnem January 26, 2012, 1:04 pm

        Thumbs up for “chronic bitchface”.

        Have you read what Tina Fey has written about her dad? How he was all stern and frowny when she was a kid, “and it took me years to realize, ‘oh, wait, that’s just his face.”

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  • JK

    JK January 26, 2012, 9:49 am

    As a completely non religious person, I don´t really give much importance to godparents, I was not baptized, and neither were my daughters (despite people hounding me about them going to hell if they werenpt, and that was while I was still pregnant!!!).
    I´ve always thought it weird however when a person´s aunt/uncle is also their godparent, I mena being an aunt or uncle is already such a special role (if you choose to make it so, I guess).
    But, I definitely agree with what others have said, to make certain that the godparent is someone you will keep in touch with, my husband´s older nephew has as his godparents my husband and one of my husband´s ex GF!!!! According to my SIL this ex pretty much forced her to be the godmother (my husband and I had just started dating at that point), and my SIL being the person she is just did as asked. As you can imagine it has been pretty awkward, luckily (for me at least) the ex has pretty much disappeared off the face of the planet, shame for the kid though.

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  • avatar

    Addie Pray January 26, 2012, 9:51 am

    Inspired by Dennis’s flow chart from awhile ago but without the same technical, artistic skills, or deep insight, I came up with this simple “if this, then that” chart to help LW:

    1) Is there someone – anyone – you actually want – not “wouldn’t mind” but “want” to be your child’s Godmother? (e.g., a friend, cousin, celebrity you stalk, etc.)?

    A) if yes — then ask that person. Done. (You’re welcome.)
    B) if no — move onto No. 2.

    2) Does your sister want to be Godmother?

    A) if yes — move to No. 3.
    B) if no – then don’t ask her and don’t ask anyone. Done. (You’re welcome.)

    3) Do you want/need to score points with your mom and/or for whatever reason want to please her?

    A) if yes — ask your sister to be Godmother. Done.
    B) if no — then don’t ask her or anyone. Done.

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    • JK

      JK January 26, 2012, 9:53 am

      Does anyone have George Clooney´s number? I might have changed my mind about my daughters getting baptized 😉

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray January 26, 2012, 10:28 am

        I was going to ask George to be my future child’s godfather too, but I decided instead I’ll just ask him to be the father.

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      • JK

        JK January 26, 2012, 10:30 am

        Good idea! I´ll let you keep him because I´m done with my 2 kids. 🙂

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      • Budj

        Budj January 26, 2012, 10:49 am

        Random Fact: There was a study suggesting that progeny conceived when the male is really old and the female is young results in a longer life span for the off spring.

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      • avatar

        silver_dragon_girl January 26, 2012, 10:55 am

        Seriously? Citations, please, that sounds interesting! Also like the dream of every cradle-robbing middle aged man everywhere 😉

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      • Budj

        Budj January 26, 2012, 10:58 am

        I read it via a news website like 2 years ago…if I get some free time I will try and find it. (doubtful)

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray January 26, 2012, 11:01 am

        Find out what they say about the offspring of an older professional woman and a younger hipster.

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      • Budj

        Budj January 26, 2012, 11:11 am

        I’m suspecting some sort of winged creature that prefers wearing tight and long cut off jean shorts and unnecessarily huge sun glasses with weird colors. It may also have a strong urge to smoke yellow American Spirits.

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      • Budj

        Budj January 26, 2012, 10:59 am

        And I don’t know many 69 year old men looking forward to raising a fresh baby. haha.

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        silver_dragon_girl January 26, 2012, 11:11 am

        Lol, good point.

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      • Leroy

        Leroy January 26, 2012, 8:46 pm

        I think it’s the guys who live longer – if it’s the same study that I’m thinking of.

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    • Just Max

      Just Max January 26, 2012, 12:57 pm

      I just loooove this comment. 🙂

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  • avatar

    Lindsay January 26, 2012, 10:19 am

    Like Wendy said, just choose who you want. Most people I know who have godparents have ones who aren’t family members, for whatever reason. I get that your sister has acted obnoxiously toward you in the past, but you say a lot of mean things about her that I assume you don’t always keep in. I’m not sure why you all assume that she’s jealous or less happy than you because she doesn’t have children or a husband. Being “magnanimous and empathetic” because you seem to think your life is so much better is probably just going to come across as condescending and patronizing, so make the godmother someone who you think will be a good choice for your child.

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  • avatar

    Renee January 26, 2012, 10:53 am

    My children’s Godparents are either friends or extended relatives who are healthy adult role models for them.

    And Godparents love getting that extra Valentine card in the mail each year from them, and children in return.

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      Renee January 26, 2012, 11:05 am

      Also when thinking of a list of potential Godparents, a good candidate may be someone you know from the past but have not reconnected in a while. With one of child’s Godparents it was someone my husband went camping a lot with when he was younger, we may at time run into them two or three times a year. We know this couple really had their heads on straight and wouldn’t flake out on little things, for example a Valentine care. Nice way to reconnect with people who really should be in your life. That may not work out in everyone’s case, but it did for us.

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      • avatar

        milli January 26, 2012, 11:29 am

        Isn’t that a bit weird? Asking someone to take that role even if you know from the start that they are not going to fulfill it and that they are only accepting it because they are too ashamed say no?

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        Renee January 26, 2012, 11:36 am

        Not weird, if you have a habit of not picking close relative.

        They were very pleased, when we asked. It’s been several years. They’re doing a great job at being Godparents. The thing is when you ask someone ‘not too close’, they don’t take the role for granted. It’s not an honorary title to us, but an obligation in my view of being a role model. The type of people who I have as Godparents know that, I even joke a bit and ask if they’re on probation for anything?

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        Renee January 26, 2012, 11:41 am

        Yes, we’ve have been declined once. Good reason though, the couple already had six godchildren and they weren’t that young. They already had trouble keeping track.

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    • AKchic_

      AKchic_ January 26, 2012, 12:36 pm

      I’m the “godmother” to one child so far, and I was made that way at 15 (granted, the parents were 16/18 when the child was born). I haven’t seen the girl in 4 years because the father got mad at who I was dating (my current SO). Said we wouldn’t last and that I should be looking for a doctor to “take care of me” (that pissed me off). Until then, I sent her presents every Yule and birthday. Now she gets cards.

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      • AKchic_

        AKchic_ January 26, 2012, 12:37 pm

        I should say – gift cards. Because she is a teenager.

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    painted_lady January 26, 2012, 10:59 am

    I wish I had more firm ground to stand on than “Your letter rubbed me the wrong way,” but it did. The first thing you say about your sister is that she isn’t married, doesn’t have children, and “isn’t even dating anyone,” the same way you’d say someone who was unemployed “isn’t even looking for a job,” like she’s some massive loser who’s brought this on herself. You don’t say a thing about what else she’s got going on in her life – did she prioritize her education and career over marriage and kids like many of my friends and I did? Did she put all her eggs in one basket and pin all her hopes on being married and a mom by now? You don’t say a word about her life other than no kids, not married, can’t even keep a man around, which leads me to think that you place a really heavy emphasis on these things – and that’s totally fine, but maybe your lack of interest in the rest of her life and sympathy – not pity, there’s a difference – for her situation, since she does want marriage and kids, is causing this barrier between you.

    That being said, there’s no law that says you *have* to pick your sister, and I’m not a fan of people doing what’s expected of them at the sacrifice of what they want. I’m only getting bits of your life and I may be calling things totally wrong here. My best friend in the world very much wants to be married and have kids, but she got an MFA and works at a university theatre in a small town, so her options for a relationship are limited to these small-town guys she has very little in common with (“Shakespeare? Is that the play where they talk funny?”) and for whom she has very little time anyway as she works constantly. I’m in a very happy relationship, and as we’re already talking marriage, I’ve asked her to sew my wedding dress – I love the idea of wearing a dress made by my best friend. She went nuts for the idea, too, and if she hadn’t, I probably would have been really hurt because she wasn’t excited for me. So I can empathize with your viewpoint as well. I don’t particularly want kids, but I have several friends who have wanted kids for a long time and finally recently conceived – I couldn’t be happier for them! That doesn’t mean I’m babysitting, but I cannot imagine not being excited.

    An idea that’s something of a compromise: have you asked your sister whether or not she wants to be godmother? Could you call her up and honestly ask? Something like, “Hey, Sis, so Mom and I were talking last week and discussing the godparents for Baby, and you of course came up as an option. Now, here’s the thing. Maybe I’m reading it wrong, but you don’t seem overly jazzed to be an aunt. That’s fine, of course, but I didn’t want to thrust all of the expectations and unwanted pressure onto an unwilling party. So seriously, I want you to be honest with me as to whether you want this. I haven’t decided who I want to ask yet, but I didn’t want to let Mom speak for you without asking you first.” Her answer should speak volumes. If she wants marriage and kids, she probably feels out of control of her life, so giving her a say in the matter might go a long way toward your relationship. I’ve found, especially in my own family, that a parent who wants to pretend their children are closer than they are can be every bit as divisive to those siblings as a parent who pits them against each other, so it may also be a good time to have a chat with your mom about appropriate boundaries where her two adult children are concerned. My mom used to try to force my brother and I into some feigned closeness so she could feel better, and we butted heads constantly, whereas now we just tolerate each other, but it’s better than the fights we had.

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      painted_lady January 26, 2012, 11:12 am

      Another thing: Wendy said not to use your new baby as a means to patch up your rocky relationship with your sister, and that’s a great point, but you also shouldn’t use her as a way to punish your sister for not acting the way you want her to. And just so you know, I have no godparents, and I never lacked for love from the adults in my life.

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    • caitie_didnt

      caitie_didnt January 26, 2012, 11:35 am

      yes, x1000

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      ktfran January 26, 2012, 11:44 am

      painted_lady.

      If I could, I would like both of your comments an infinite number of times. Great response!

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    • CatsMeow

      CatsMeow January 26, 2012, 12:10 pm

      LOVE the unemployment comparison.

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  • landygirl

    landygirl January 26, 2012, 11:30 am

    I totally agree with Wendy. OT, I can’t get the Jumbaco jingle out of my head this morning. Jumbaco! Jumbaco!

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  • bagge72

    Bagge72 January 26, 2012, 11:50 am

    I still don’t understand why people are afraid to stand up to their family, I have an amazing relationship with everyone in my family, but we all stand up to each, and talk through everything. If you don’t want a godmother for your child you shouldn’t appoint one. My godfather was my fathers best friend, and he really wasn’t in my life, and on the flip side, my sister’s godmother is one of our aunts, and as of recently she didn’t ever remember that she was her godmother. So either way you go can be a bad choice, it really depends on the god parent themselves if they care enough to take an active role.

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  • caitiebug

    caitiebug January 26, 2012, 12:12 pm

    Personally I wish my parents had chosen someone other than my aunt/uncle to be godparents! I am not particularly religious, so the godparent title is mostly honorary (like it sounds yours would be). For mine, my parents chose their siblings they were closest to, which means they are the aunt and uncle I would have been closest to anyway. I don’t see any difference in relationship between me and my godparents and my sister and my godparents. Since you and your husband don’t have a large extended family, it would probably be nice for your child to add another adult that they could be close to.

    Just like Wendy said, she will be your child’s aunt first, and the godparent role will likely only come up once in a while.

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  • AKchic_

    AKchic_ January 26, 2012, 12:31 pm

    Oh Christ on a crutch. Who is having this child, you or your mother? Who is raising this child, you or your mother? You don’t want to make your sister an “honorary” Godmother, then don’t. Plain and simple. If she gets pissed off, that is HER problem, not yours. It’s time to learn how to draw some damned boundaries now, before your child is born, rather than later when another life gets sucked into the damned drama.

    When I was 16 and having my first, my mother wanted me to name my sister as my son’s godmother. Note that I was pagan even then, and I absolutely hated my sister (and still do). My sister was 12 years old. What did I want a 12 year old as a godmother, especially when I wasn’t the same religion, and was completely against the very religion that my mother wanted everything done in. I hiked up my “ladyballs” (honey, they are on your chest because they are too big to dangle between your legs – it chafes) and refused. I didn’t live in her home and supported myself.
    Needless to say, it didn’t go over well, especially with my sister, who had already been psyched up for it.
    You know what – it makes no difference. I chose someone else to be “in-loco parentis” to my children if something happens to me. Someone that I know will be able to care for my children, and is a better fit than my sister ever will be.

    It is your job as a parent to choose the best person for the job. Family ties be damned.

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      Renee January 26, 2012, 12:41 pm

      That’s mean of your mother to get a 12 year old’ girl’s hopes up!

      I know you have a few children, like myself. I have spiritual Godparents, it means nothing in terms of guardianship in I’m unable to care for my children. Siblings need to stay together, and I doubt any of them could care for all of them.

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      • AKchic_

        AKchic_ January 26, 2012, 1:35 pm

        I wouldn’t let my sister so much as baby-sit, let alone take custody of any of my kids. I’ve had to shoot down my mom and stepdad, and my 2nd MIL and FIL a few times when it comes to custody of the kids if something should happen. My mom and stepdad are great people, but they aren’t in the greatest of health, and they can’t handle my kids for a whole weekend (even individually). My former MIL/FIL are nice people, but don’t set boundaries. To the point that their younger son has the run of their home when he’s not in jail.

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      jubietta January 26, 2012, 1:52 pm

      >>>I hiked up my “ladyballs” (honey, they are on your chest because they are too big to dangle between your legs – it chafes) and refused.

      OMGoddess! I almost fell out of my chair laughing…thank you for sharing that idea!

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  • avatar

    Jenny Benny January 26, 2012, 1:26 pm

    I am the youngest of three sisters and my oldest sister is the only one of us married and with a child. She named a close friend her son’s godmother because she knew her sisters would already have a close relationship with her son and didn’t need to give one of us another title to secure it. She also wanted another person for her son to be able to count on as he got older. Don’t do something because you think you have to, do it because you want to and it is what’s best for your child.

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  • CatsMeow

    CatsMeow January 26, 2012, 1:54 pm

    I don’t get the point of godparents if you’re not religious. I thought it had something to do with the baptism?

    Like Wendy said, your sister is already the child’s AUNT. Why does she need an honorary title on top of that? And if you have close friends who you think should fill a godparent-type role, then why not just make them honorary “aunts” and “uncles”? I dunno. The godparent thing just seems pointless to me.

    Also, who cares what your mom thinks. For real? I learned to stand up to my mom when I was, like, 12. She KNOWS I have my own mind and I’m glad I established those boundaries early on.

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    • AKchic_

      AKchic_ January 26, 2012, 5:56 pm

      That is my issue too. I have “in-loco parentis” rather than godparents. It’s latin for “in the place of parents”. Granted, we joke that it’s “for when Mom goes crazy”.

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    Trixy Minx January 26, 2012, 2:24 pm

    I don’t see what the big deal is. I’m not the Godmother of my niece and I am okay with that. If anything were to happen to my sister and her husband I wouldn’t be able to financially support a 1 yr old. It doesn’t mean that my sister loves me less; she’s just think about what is best for her child.

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      Addie Pray January 26, 2012, 2:38 pm

      I’m not a Godmother either, but my two sisters. (Those bitches!) As revenge, I taught my nieces/nephews to call their Godmothers “GoMoFo’s.” It’s so sweet to hear “GoMoFo” come out of their little mouths…. And now I kind of get why I was overlooked for the role of Godmother. Eh, who cares. I’m sill Favorite Aunt, a much cooler title in my opinion.

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        Trixy Minx January 26, 2012, 2:47 pm

        I just chocked on my coffee when I read that!

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        Trixy Minx January 26, 2012, 2:48 pm

        Damn it meant choked!

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        Addie Pray January 26, 2012, 2:49 pm

        The GoMoFo’s *hate* it when the kids call them that. Whatever, that’s what they are.

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        Trixy Minx January 26, 2012, 3:05 pm

        My niece is super smart. I called my sister yesterday and when she answered the phone I could hear my niece say whatzz uppp, lmao

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      Renee January 26, 2012, 2:40 pm

      Finances usually aren’t an issue in determining the best fit for a legal guardian. Many parents have some form of term life insurance, plus social security survivor benefits. You do need to be good handling money though for the needs of the child.

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      • AKchic_

        AKchic_ January 26, 2012, 5:58 pm

        *laugh* Sure, but I wouldn’t want people who are bad at finances leeching off of my kids’ insurance benefits either. Would you?

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      Francine January 26, 2012, 4:22 pm

      The people you choose as godparents for your children do not need to be the same people you would designate as legal guardians for your children in the event that something happens to you.

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    DebMoore January 26, 2012, 2:51 pm

    I havn’t read the comments (theres a lot!) so this may have already been brought up, but why can’t you have your sister and then a good friend or something both be a godparent? Esp if it’s just a title. Giving your sister that honor may help your relationship. I have one daughter and my sister, my brother, my husbands sister and her husband are all godparents to our daughter. Its nice to know all these peole love my daughter. I also have lots of “godparents” as well (several anuts and uncles). So name your sister and then someone(s) else also and make everybody happy!
    Now that you have a child you will need to have a Will. In the Will name the person you think would best take care of your child best, nobody (except perhaps named person) needs to know. Again My husband and I are godparents to his sisters kids but so are a number of Brother-in-laws siblings and yet in the will we are named as next guardians.

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    Helen January 26, 2012, 4:10 pm

    Choose who you want to be a Godmother. My mother was in this situation when she was choosing my godparents, and, since she listened to her mother in law (in this case), I don’t have a Godmother which now upsets my mother (more so because it reminds her of not standing up to my grandmother rather than me not having a Godmother).

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    Francine January 26, 2012, 4:16 pm

    For you, designating a godmother is nothing more than bestowing an honorary title and not actually even necessary. For your mom though, it seems to be more significant and you seem to care about your mom’s feelings. If it would make your mom and sister happy, could you bear to allow your sister to have that one thing, especially since it’s fairly trivial to you?

    Was your relationship with your godmother special because she held that title or because she was a special person? No reason your child can’t have the same kind of relationship you had with your godmother, with someone who doesn’t have the godparent title.

    Think about your real reason for not wanting to do this for your family. Do you harbor any grudges or resentment toward your sister and/or mom that keeps you from being the kind, giving person with them that you’d like to be? If so, maybe you should work that out first, before making any decisions about the godparent thing.

    And finally, whether your sister is autistic, socially awkward or whatever label fits, wouldn’t you feel at least a little good inside about giving her something she can be proud of? Whether or not she’s able to live up to anyone’s expectations of what a godmother is, she’ll at least have evidence that her sister valued her ability enough to let her try.

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    oldie January 26, 2012, 4:22 pm

    You don’t have to do anything which makes you uncomfortable, just to please your mother. You might consider how much if anything you can possibly lose by making this gesture versus the possible upside. I suspect your biggest concerns are being manipulated again by your Mom and disappointed again by your sister. This is natural. Only you can decide what is best for you. There really isn’t a wrong answer to your question.

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    spark January 26, 2012, 8:16 pm

    I think you are WAY more likely to regret not choosing your sister than to regret choosing her–ESPECIALLY as you grow and mature (because, frankly, you sound a little immature to me). Family is important, and your relationship doesn’t sound BAD–just a little difficult at times. In 5 or 10 years, when you are passed this “all about me” business of weddings and first babies, I think you will regret not being there or supportive of your sister. You seem very preoccupied with how her behavior has made you feel–but what about how she feels? Mid to late 30s, no husband or children (when that’s what she wants), and her little sister has EVERYTHING. Everything except compassion. She feels depressed, left out, and shortchanged. One day you will realize that her feelings weren’t about you–they were about herself.

    Have a little love and compassion. And grow up a little–you’re about to be a mother.

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    GTR January 26, 2012, 8:31 pm

    As little girls, women get to exert their social power and play favourites by chosing Best Friends Forever.

    As brides to be, women get to exert their social power and play favourites by choosing Maids of Honor.

    And as expectant mothers, women get to exert their social power and play favourites by choosing Godmothers.

    Honey, step off this stupid merry-go-round of feminine power plays. In this day and age, unless you’re religious, you don’t need to name godparents. Although she’d swear otherwise, your mother is just ticking a box on her list of Proper Things To Do, and it sounds as if naming any godmother is going to cause stress and ill-feeling far in excess of any benefits for your child.

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    sohara January 31, 2012, 6:20 pm

    I am godmother to my best friend’s fourth child. (I was very unhappy to wait for Number 4, but he may be the pick of the litter.)

    Anyway, I am not at all religious. Number 4’s paternal aunt and her husband claim to be super, ultra religious. As a sop to his dad’s family, super-religious aunt and uncle were also chosen as godparents.

    Number 4 is now 20, and the super-religious aunt and uncle not only didn’t come to the baptism, they have never shown up or sent a note or present to a single one of Number 4’s milestones. The super-religious couple live across the country from Number 4, but so do I, and I see him about once a year and have attended all of his major religious events and his graduations.

    Since the LW says she hopes that making her sister godmother might build a bond to the baby, I say pick the sis as godmother, but also pick a good friend. That way, the kid will (hopefully) be certain of at least one good godmother.

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