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I’ve been with my husband for six years, during which time, I have never become exceedingly close with his brother’s wife, Jennifer. She has not attempted to form a close relationship with me and has, at times, been rude. I have always made an effort in hopes of maintaining a good relationship for my husband’s sake. Often, I will suggest Jennifer and I go for pedicures or shopping while the boys watch basketball. We do and mostly we have a good time.
Jennifer has suffered from infertility for two years. They announced they were pregnant at Thanksgiving and I immediately offered to co-host her baby shower. I was so excited for them. Unfortunately, they lost that baby. They announced they were pregnant again in June. She is in her second trimester and she’s doing great. My husband and I are over the moon for them.
A few months ago, I started graduate school and I work full time. I have a 1 hour 30 minute commute each day, a 10-month-old son and, as of recently, a very ill dog requiring major care for 10+ weeks. In short, I do not feel I have time to co-plan a shower.
To be honest, I keep remembering that she told me she didn’t want to be in my wedding when we announced our engagement and the fact she didn’t offer to help with my wedding or various showers. I suppose the nagging thought of her behavior toward my special events gives me pause.
I don’t want to hurt Jennifer and I realize how sensitive hormones can be but I don’t want to throw the shower. Am I obligated to throw the shower since I previously offered? If not, any suggestions on how to rescind my offer? — Offer Rescinded
Well, no, you are not OBLIGATED to throw the shower, but it would be pretty insensitive to NOT offer to throw a shower for your sister-in-law when you offered to throw one, less than a year ago, before she miscarried after trying to conceive for so long. Your excuses of being busy are valid, sure, but citing resentment over your SIL’s behavior during your wedding, which I assume happened a few years ago, before you offered to throw a baby shower the first time around, is just … odd. Did you just forget last Thanksgiving, in your excitement over becoming an aunt, that you were pissed at your SIL for not celebrating you/your wedding enough? Are you simply using her past behavior to justify your current lack of interest in adding one more thing on your to-do list?
Look, throwing a shower doesn’t have to be THAT much work, especially if you have someone helping you. What if you reached out to a close female in your SIL’s life — a friend of hers or another family member — and asked if that person would like to organize something small to honor your SIL? Once you have another person on board, you could divide the the work in a way that feels manageable — maybe even fun — for you. Perhaps you could even get a third person on board to further share the load. Send out some invitations, get a few inexpensive decorations, buy or bake some cupcakes and a couple of quiches, make a punch, hang up some tiny onesies on a clothing line, and BOOM!, you’re done. You could even just make brunch reservations at a restaurant (though if you do that, you and the co-hosts should split the expense rather thank ask your guests to pay).
I know that Pinterest and certain blogs might have you believe that throwing a baby shower requires endless lists, DIY projects, and multiple trips to party supply stores, not to mention weeks in the kitchen perfecting the most delicious and adorable finger foods, but, honestly, there’s no reason why you should have to spend more than a few hours planning this thing. All you need are guests, some decorations, and a few things to nibble on, and you’ve got yourself a shower. A few hours of planning, really. And those few hours will go a long way in not only “maintaining a good relationship for your husband’s sake,” but also maintaining a good relationship for your extended family’s sake.
Your husband is going to be an uncle. You’re going to be an aunt. This baby is going to be your son’s cousin. What’s a few hours of your time to help maintain strong bonds among all those relationships?
Then again, if you’re just going to feel super resentful with every pink or blue streamer you hang, don’t offer to co-host a baby shower. But accept that in doing so without having a better excuse than you’re just busy — honey, we’re ALL busy — you look like kind of an asshole. If you’re OK with that, go for it.
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].
CatsMeow September 12, 2013, 10:13 am
Anyone else dying to know what the other letter was?
ktfran September 12, 2013, 10:15 am
Yes actually. I am. Very much so.
ktfran September 12, 2013, 10:16 am
Also, who writes to an advice columnist saying she didn’t like the past advice, but hey, I want to know what you have to say about this. I have to hand it to Wendy on her reply, because I would have been a little, or a lot, snarky.
lemongrass September 12, 2013, 10:48 am
No kidding. Wendy is doing the lw a favour, you’re going to insult her first before you ask for a favour? Doesn’t help her ‘not looking like an asshole’ case.
BreezyAM September 13, 2013, 12:13 am
I’m deciding to have good faith and assume the letter writer deep down inside knows she’s being a lazy cow and that she could count on Wendy to tell her so (which she did, far more nicely than I would have).
Fabelle September 12, 2013, 10:19 am
That my only thought reading this. haa
Ella__ September 12, 2013, 10:29 am
Maybe the one where an LW asked if she should pay her friend back for a dress she gave her? Does that sound familiar? I vaguely remember something like that where you could tell the LW didn’t think she should pay but all the commenters and Wendy did.
SasLinna September 12, 2013, 10:32 am
that was not so long ago and that LW wasn’t married.
I can’t think of the letter!
Kate B. September 12, 2013, 10:39 am
I thought of that letter, too.
sarolabelle September 12, 2013, 10:54 am
I think it is this one.
SasLinna September 12, 2013, 10:56 am
yeah I just googled it and found that one, too!
SasLinna September 12, 2013, 11:01 am
it’s insufficiently juicy for my tastes though. 🙁
sarolabelle September 12, 2013, 11:04 am
This was the first letter I ever read from Dear Wendy….found it on CNN and the rest is history:
CatsMeow September 12, 2013, 11:30 am
“You have to be a friend to have friends.” – that’s a good line from that letter!
Bunnycsp September 12, 2013, 12:13 pm
If this is the letter, then this is the second time that the LW doesn’t want to be bothered with stepping up for her friends and family. Interesting.
Bagge72 September 12, 2013, 1:14 pm
Yeah it seems like she really just doesn’t like doing things for people, and always has an excuse.
kerrycontrary September 12, 2013, 10:14 am
Wendy–I think the names were edited wrong there’s a Jennifer and and Erica listed there. Or the LW missed it.
I don’t understand why people act like throwing a party is SO hard and such a big deal. It’s really not. Order some catering platters from the grocery store (Wegmans is great if you have one!) and put those out along with a cake or cupcakes. Grab some flowers for decoration and BOOm done. OR, if you have the money I highly suggest using a place that does everything for you (food, decorations). We have a catering place in my home town that does this and its so easy.
I agree that Pinterest has made some people run themselves ragged trying to make everything super cute and original. When in fact, your party is just another party and no one is going to remember your centerpieces or invitations or cute little gift bags.
mertlej September 12, 2013, 10:19 am
You know what I love? Those gigantic subway sandwiches that are like… 5 feet long. Flashbacks to childhood parties.
But in all seriousness, baby showers are not that hard. Send out an evite or just make a few phone calls, get some cupcakes and some trays of crudites, and food is handled. I was at a shower once that was co-ed, and everyone just visited and spent time together. The only activity was drawing on onesies- the host bought a big pack of plain white onesies and brought some fabric markers, and everyone had a really entertaining time decorating. We also played a game where if you said the word “baby” or the yet-to-be-born kid’s name, you had to take a shot, but that may be a little excessive.
ktfran September 12, 2013, 10:21 am
Oh my gosh, that’s my kind of baby shower.
kerrycontrary September 12, 2013, 10:45 am
I love the onesie idea! AND the shot idea. But yeh, as long as you feed people something that tastes OK and won’t give them food poisoning, they are happy.
kerrycontrary September 12, 2013, 10:46 am
PS, I kept referring to my sister’s baby as “it” this weekend and my boyfriends parents thought I was insane. The child is born and has a name, I’m just inappropriate.
othy September 12, 2013, 12:28 pm
My SIL calls her kid the ‘little monster’. She has been even when she was barely pregnant. I think it’s darling, but my parents are horrified by it.
sarita_f September 12, 2013, 1:13 pm
Every cute, living and minimally-verbal mammal get’s called a “puuuupy dawg” by me as I pet it. Yes, this includes young children and cats.
rachel September 12, 2013, 11:20 am
A friend of mine did the onesies, and they all came out so cool. Her daughter had plenty of personality in her wardrobe for her first year.
mertlej September 12, 2013, 11:37 am
Somebody colored one of the onesies to look like a jail uniform (black and white stripes, an ID badge). Nothing funnier than an inmate 6 week old!
Something Random September 12, 2013, 10:15 am
No, you are not obligated but WWS about your motivations and everyone being busy! You could also offer to throw a shower after the baby arrives when you are less busy. It might even be more convenient for the mother because she will probably have a better idea of what she needs.
becboo84 September 12, 2013, 10:20 am
LW, for the sake of family harmony, you need to suck it up and follow Wendy’s advice. I have no idea… maybe your simmering resentment is totally valid, but you didn’t offer many concrete examples of why that was the case. Regardless, you offered previously, and you need to keep your commitment. And, I’m not really sure why being “too busy” would be an excuse. Besides the day of the actual shower, there’s not much of a time commitment for these types of events. I work full time and have a 7 month old and a 5 year old and a husband who’s on the road all week for work, yet I’m still managing to make the time to throw my friend who’s due in February a shower. And finally, perhaps some of your SIL’s previously rude behavior was due to 2 years of infertility/miscarriage issues. Thankfully I’ve never gone through that, but I’m sure it messes with both your hormones and your emotions.
SasLinna September 12, 2013, 10:34 am
The problem is that you’ve already offered to host a shower when SIL was pregnant the last time. I don’t think you can rescind that offer without looking bad. I realize your circumstances have changed, but still. Actively telling her “I’m not throwing you a shower” is probably not going to be well-received.
SasLinna September 12, 2013, 11:15 am
I’ll add that it’s actually more important to stick to your promise in this case precisely because your relationship with SIL isn’t that great. It would be less of a problem if you were really close and you could just talk openly to her about being overwhelmed. But as things stand, you should throw this shower for “political” reasons.
GatorGirl September 12, 2013, 10:38 am
No, you do not HAVE to throw her a shower. No one is ever required to host a party for another person. But I do agree that it will go a long ways in keeping up family relations AND it doesn’t have to be that hard!! Reach out to her close female friends and family (If she would be okay with it you could go co-ed too which opens up even more possible help).
Did she have bridesmaids? Reach out and ask if any of them would be interested in helping out. For my BFF’s baby shower last year, each bridesmaid brought a food item (like a veggie tray, fruit tray, mini meatballs, etc) and the “official” hosts handled the cake and décor (as well as sending invites and set up/clean up). They probably put 15 hours total into the whole party.
GatorGirl September 12, 2013, 10:40 am
Just to be clear- the ladies who where bridesmaids at their wedding a few years before… That’s reading funny.
Savannah September 12, 2013, 10:52 am
I’m throwing bridal showers for my sister *and* future sister in-law because her parents are homophobic and wont do it. Get over your self and start supporting and celebrating your family! You’ll only be thankful you did down the road.
A Miller August 13, 2019, 11:57 am
My baby shower turn out to be good but bad.
My sil had the opportunity to work with a friend that would hold my baby shower. But my sil did not return any emails or text about it. I understand she was busy. But she stated she will help while I was pregnant. Me and her do not have a great relationship because of past problems. But we was trying to get past them. I’ve tried on several attempts. But keep getting disrespected. Early this year my brother n law got married and they threw him a cookout. It’s like I knew you guys for over 15 years. And you are so bitter to me for what. I feel like I am not part of that family. They know that I don’t have any family near me. And my mom and dad is gone. Died.
The energy I get from these people are fake and phony. I guess because I am not on the streets on begging them for anything. I’m always looked at and sneakily talked about but yet. They say. They love me.
She could have helped with my baby shower. She also came to the doctors office with me to be able to know the gender sex since this was my third time and I have a boy and girl. Come to find out. She never showed up. She stated she had the flu. I had to tell her to have my niece know the sex. It’s like each time you do the same thing.
I’ve talked to a lot of people regarding this and they stated leave her out of everything. Stop asking her. Just invite. If she comes then okay. But if not leave her alone. And continue your life. Horrible.
I have such a good heart. Even after all that and she lost her job. She came to my home a few times with her husband. I have given her a brand new pair of Gucci shoes.
And I just wanted to let her know that I put it past me. But yet. She has an issue with me again. I can’t and won’t continue with her nasty rude ass behavior patterns.
CurlyQue September 12, 2013, 10:53 am
I also want to point out that this LW has been married for 6 years, so her harboring resentment against her SIL for not being in active in her wedding 6 YEARS AGO! Is pretty excessive. I’d say move on, let it go, and throw a great baby shower.
CurlyQue September 12, 2013, 11:01 am
K, never mind i read it too quickly. She’s been w/ her husband for 6 years, but only been married for a few.
Still though, LW i think you should move past any left over resentment you have over your wedding and focus on the present and being happy for your SIL. As everyone else has said throwing a baby shower doesn’t have to take up all of your free time, especially if you’re co-planning w/ somebody else.
kerrycontrary September 12, 2013, 12:57 pm
You know what though? My brother’s wife is in no way obligated to help me when I’m get married. Would I like her help? Certainly. But if someone doesn’t want to be in my wedding or help with it, no big deal! This is not something to bring up years later.
CurlyQue September 12, 2013, 4:29 pm
Exactly! I feel like the LW has probably never liked her SIL and so is finding petty reasons to rationalize it.
I don’t see the problem at all with “Often, I will suggest Jennifer and I go for pedicures or shopping while the boys watch basketball. We do and mostly we have a good time.” But somehow this is an example of how little they hang out, and how much effort the LW has to put into it? The above seems like a perfectly fine example of hanging out with your SIL, no reason for you to be best friends.
SpaceySteph September 13, 2013, 2:51 pm
I do kind of wonder what the circumstances were for her turning down being a bridesmaid. Because that is a little odd… I know that nobody is obligated to be a bridesmaid either, but I would have felt snubbed if my husband’s sister declined to be a bridesmaid at our wedding when I asked her. I guess because I see the main bridesmaid role of “standing up for your wedding,” as a physical show of support for the relationship, so her turning that down would be like refusing to support our marriage. So that is maybe a snub.
That said I didn’t really ask a whole lot of my bridesmaids aside from showing up at the appointed time in the appointed color scheme (I paid for hair and makeup and one girl’s dress because shes a poor grad student) and this LW is displaying some bridezilla tendencies so there might have been more to it that was worth saying no too.
meadowphoenix September 12, 2013, 10:54 am
Make your husband help. As Wendy said, he’s going to be an uncle; he can pitch in. I also like Wendy’s suggestion about getting a friend of your SIL to co-host.
Listen, it sounds like you’re bringing up things that happened ages ago, because your SIL has been rude recently, or at least, between Thanksgiving and now, and you’re feeling far less charitable to her, and it’s bringing up old resentments. So here’s the thing, hosting a baby shower does not mean you need to have an extensive relationship with your SIL. You can do this, and then only see her when you see the rest of the family. If you don’t like how she treats or talks to you, then limit contact. But instead of seeing this baby shower as something you are doing for your SIL, for which you will get no social return or she won’t appreciate it, see it as something you are doing for your husband, in which you are limiting any tension between you and his family.
OT: How do you guys feel about guys at baby showers? Part of me understands why baby showers are kinda a female space, but the other part of me feels like it’s the first step in society feeling like men aren’t as involved in parenting.
GatorGirl September 12, 2013, 10:57 am
I have no problem with men at baby showers. He is having a child too! We had a couples shower for our wedding too. I don’t get why it would be all female.
theattack September 12, 2013, 10:59 am
I don’t get it either. Unfortunately men just don’t want to go to those things even if you do make it co-ed, and if someone is throwing it for you, you might not have the say-so to ask for a co-ed shower.
GatorGirl September 12, 2013, 11:05 am
I don’t know why men don’t want to go, any shower I’ve attended has copious amounts of free and delicious food. We basically had a kegger for our wedding shower, and I am hoping for the same for a future baby shower.
theattack September 12, 2013, 11:08 am
Totally agree. Free food and sometimes fun games. What’s not to love?
Jodee September 12, 2013, 11:19 am
As a non-child-wanting woman, I hate the idea of baby showers. 1) there’s the tradition of it being all-women, which is ok, I guess, except for the KIND of all-women it’s generally grouped with. “Ladies who lunch” – women with full-time jobs in something insanely boring, who love nothing more than a day out shopping or getting facials and mani-pedis with “the girls.” I just canNOT. 2) it’s soooo often about clothes. I can’t think of anything more dull than discussing clothes and babies. 3) So. Much. Pink.
I imagine many guys feel the same way.
Now, if showers were about something guys found more interesting – ie, if there were a way to work in, I don’t know, either more guy things (sports? Action figures or stuffed animals that aren’t pink and lacy rather than dolls?) Or gender-neutral things (cribs/rocking chairs/mobiles don’t need to be just for one or the other) – beer and chips rather than mimosas and mini pastries, etc – it might be more welcome to guys (and me).
theattack September 12, 2013, 11:25 am
Yeah, not everyone likes the frilly stuff. I personally love it, because there aren’t many opportunities to do all of that. I do chips and beer every weekend because that’s more my style, so I really don’t want to do that when it comes to special occasions.
It’s obviously just a style preference, but really it’s only two hours of a guest’s life. If someone doesn’t want to go they shouldn’t, but I also just think people should suck it up for two hours for a friend, ya know?
starpattern September 12, 2013, 11:28 am
Yeah, when it comes down to it I agree with this, although I don’t think I will ever not want to strangle the person whose idea it was to melt candy bars in felt baby diapers or measure the pregnant lady’s belly.
GatorGirl September 12, 2013, 11:30 am
That diaper things is so f-ing nasty I can’t even handle it.
I agree with theattack otherwise. Being OVERLY frilly is fun sometimes since my day to day life isn’t like that. (But I also don’t want an overly frilly shower ever so.) And yeah, suck it up for a friend/family member.
theattack September 12, 2013, 11:54 am
yeah, that game is gross. I just don’t think people should do gross things in general though.
kerrycontrary September 12, 2013, 1:03 pm
In my family we don’t really gift clothes, we do gift the gender neutral things that the couple really needs: cribs, stroller, car seat, bottle and pumping accessories, boppy pillow, first aid stuff, etc…People get enough clothes and they really aren’t expensive so it’s easy for the couple to buy. But it’s really helpful if people gift the more expensive baby items and then couple is buying odds and ends.
Fabelle September 12, 2013, 11:10 am
I feel like men would go if it was structured more like a PARTY (I mean, I’m a woman & I hate the cutesy, themed game, tiny cupcake kind of baby showers) Baby showers should all be like the one mertlej described above, haha (& in some Hispanic cultures, I think they are? A lot of my mom’s coworkers are Hispanic, & she tells me the baby showers she’s been to are co-ed, plenty of alcohol, food, etc. It’s a ~party~, not just sitting around measuring the pregnant lady’s tummy for a contest & whatever other bullshit)
GatorGirl September 12, 2013, 11:12 am
Ugh, that sounds DREADFUL. (The belly measuring, not the booze)
starpattern September 12, 2013, 11:16 am
YES can we please just make showers regular parties plus presents? I hate baby shower games so much, they are always so awkward.
Bagge72 September 12, 2013, 1:18 pm
My sister had just a regular party for her baby shower, and I got to go, and it was a lot of fun, I got to eat a lot of good cookout food, and drink lots of beers. For her brother in-law who is a drunk it did not turn out well, he drank way to much peed himself a little bit, and got in a huge fight with his mother in front of everyone, beacuse he wanted to drive home wasted.
lemongrass September 12, 2013, 11:17 am
I had NO games at mine. It was just hang out and eat some awesome food. My sisters surprised me with a sushi theme.
BreezyAM September 13, 2013, 12:23 am
I love your sisters and their political incorrectness theme heee hee! Wonderful! 😀
thatgirl September 12, 2013, 2:28 pm
My husband is Hispanic, and this happens in his family….the women all gather together and the men all eat and drink beer. Depending on how irritating the games were, I could be found sitting outside with the guys! haha
Elle Marie September 12, 2013, 12:05 pm
I think that makes a lot of assumptions – my husband has gone to baby showers for our friends and not minded it one bit – he’s actually gone to baby showers without me on a few occasions. He likes to celebrate our friends and the little ones they are bringing into the world, even though he isn’t the world’s biggest fan of baby shower games. He was actually upset/put-out a bit when I was invited to a women’s only bridal shower earlier this year and he wasn’t included. Though I think that was mostly because he knew the food would be good. 😛
I think it depends on the people involved and the relationships people have, but most of my friends/acquaintances have done a couple’s shower instead of a women-only or women-centric baby shower.
theattack September 12, 2013, 12:06 pm
I think your husband is definitely the exception on this one.
AmyP September 12, 2013, 12:14 pm
Well, one of the traditional features of baby showers is telling vivid labor and delivery stories, and a lot of women might feel inhibited by the presence of a bunch of guys they don’t know well.
Also, it might cut down on stories told at the expense of husbands. I heard some really funny ones at my baby shower a year ago.
If you invite both genders, you get a different party. Not a worse party, necessarily, but a different party. In this particular case, it might be a good idea to go co-ed, as SIL may be better-behaved in front of men.
GatorGirl September 12, 2013, 12:35 pm
I would be seriously uncomfortable if vivid labor and delivery stories where told. What? Ugh, I would have to leave the room. I’ve never experienced this.
starpattern September 12, 2013, 12:50 pm
Yeah, I don’t know if this is traditional everywhere. Sounds like you enjoyed your shower but I’m with GG – I’d have to excuse myself from a conversation like that.
kerrycontrary September 12, 2013, 1:05 pm
When I’m pregnant, I’m going to be seriously annoyed with everyone who thinks I want to hear their labor/delivery story. I think people tell those stories just to freak other people out. I could see breastfeeding discussed a lot, which some men can be uncomfortable with. And honestly, I don’t want to talk about my boobs with my uncles and cousins around even though I think breastfeeding is a perfectly wonderful part of life. Just not to be publicized when it involves MY boobs.
rachel September 12, 2013, 2:35 pm
So, I haven’t been to more than one or 2 baby showers, but I definitely don’t remember any vivid labor and delivery stories, or people making fun of their husbands. That doesn’t sound like fun for anyone involved.
SpaceySteph September 13, 2013, 2:54 pm
Vivid labor and delivery stories is kind of my Friday night (daughter and granddaughter of gynecologists here… I’ve heard things nobody should have to hear). Men were never exempted from the conversation (of course, the gynecologists in question make up half of the men in my close family).
othy September 12, 2013, 12:36 pm
I’ve been to a few co-ed baby showers. My brother had a big bbq shortly before his kid was born. He and his wife invited all of their friends, and had an open-house kind of party, where people came and went over several hours. People brought gifts, but mostly it was a big ‘I’ve only got a few more weeks free’ party. Later, for my niece’s first birthday party, he did almost exactly the same thing.
I also hosted a baby shower for one of my guy friends. And his wife didn’t even come (she had 3-4 other showers and it was quite close to her due date). We’re much closer to him than her (we have a lot more shared interests), and we wanted to do something for him to celebrate. So our group decided his kid needed to be sufficiently nerded out. I encouraged all the guests to bring nerd themed gifts. Kid also got a lot of Avenger themed stuff, and a darling “Sully” (from Monster’s Inc) hat. The best was a hand-made Link outfit. Luckily, it will be just about the right size for Halloween this year.
BreezyAM September 13, 2013, 12:22 am
:-)…. this made me smile as I’m the opposite… I understand why it’s totally kosher now to bring the dudes, but I really, really, really miss the context of a woman only space. I really do. The conversations are different, more intimate, and just… well we’re not going to talk about the lemon sized blood clot afterbirth bleeding with the boys around. Sigh.
There are advantages to bringing the men in! It’s MUCH more acceptable to drink when the men are there. 😀 I find women only showers tend to frown more on drinking (this is why Breezy is usually the one in the bathroom sneaking mom-to-be sips from the wine glass and smoking cigarettes out the window to cover her as she takes a drag or two).
CatsMeow September 12, 2013, 10:54 am
What happened to just being nice for the sake of being nice?
ktfran September 12, 2013, 11:03 am
I’m usually nice. So maybe I’m going to start being mean for the sake of being mean.
I’m liking your posts today by the way. Or maybe I’m just excited that today is my Friday and I have a long weekend of fun planned.
CatsMeow September 12, 2013, 11:17 am
Haha. I like your style.
It’s my Friday too and I have a fun weekend ahead TOO! Maybe that’s why I’m uncharacteristically optimistic and waxing poetic about being nice for niceness’ sake.
I just feel like sometimes, people think, “Well, what’s in it for ME?” But don’t you just feel good about doing a good thing? (Seriously, what is wrong with me? I’m usually such a sourpuss).
ktfran September 12, 2013, 11:24 am
Ha. I actually like being nice. And I like helping others. So, maybe I should see what it feels like to not give a shit and say eff everyone but myself.
Yay to long weekends! Mine starts at 3:00 today. Love it when I have visitors! Visitors who like to bar hop.
Hope yours is super fun.
lets_be_honest September 12, 2013, 11:34 am
iwannatalktosampson September 12, 2013, 12:05 pm
RIGHT? When did life become all about tit for tat? People are so selfish these days. It won’t benefit me then I’m not doing it!
theattack September 12, 2013, 10:55 am
I do think you kind of obligated yourself to throwing a shower when you offered previously. It’s definitely unfortunate that you’re more busy now, but (and you know this) it’s so much more unfortunate that they lost the first baby and weren’t able to have that first shower. I think it’s important to show the same amount of enthusiasm for this baby as you did the first one. It will go a long way in 1) keeping up your relationship with them, and 2) moving on from grieving the lost baby to welcoming the new baby.
GatorGirl September 12, 2013, 11:07 am
Yeah there some weird dynamic going on with the miscarriage…I didn’t know how to address it. I think it would be super insensitive to rescind the offer since the “timing’ isn’t good for LW any more.
Something Random September 12, 2013, 11:45 am
I agree that she should show the same amount of enthusiasm as the last pregnancy and that it would be a great investment in the family. But I disagree that she is obligated. I mean a full time job, heavy commute, and baby is freaking busy. But throw in graduate school and a very sick pet and I would feel like circumstances were over the to, too.
But I thought the beginning of her letter was really weird. It was unnecessary and abrasive. And the whole score keeping was off-putting, too. I feel like telling her while she isn’t obligated to throw a shower she is obligated to be a less petty person. And I do think she should at least attempt to be supportive. I really liked the suggestions of a couple shower and getting husband to help. Also, delegating things to co-hosts and nixing shower games are good suggestions too.
lets_be_honest September 12, 2013, 11:47 am
Go to party city, grab a balloon that says baby shower, order 4 pizzas and invite immediate family only. Done. 5 minutes. No one is too busy for that.
WAPS September 12, 2013, 12:38 pm
That’s definitely true, if the recipient of the shower is receptive to that kind of party. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of expectations that can be built around what a shower “should” be, so I wouldn’t be surprised if that kind of shower would be seen as an insult.
GatorGirl September 12, 2013, 12:46 pm
Sorry, but it’s pretty bitchy to take it as an insult when someone hosts a party for you because you don’t like the food or balloons. Either be gracious and accept what’s offered, or decline. How rude.
WAPS September 12, 2013, 12:57 pm
I’m sorry, are you saying that I’m being bitchy or just that sentiment in general? Because I’m not saying that I would find it rude, I’m saying that we can’t necessarily say “Just order 4 pizzas and call it good” because we don’t know if that would further damage their relationship. And it’s disingenuous at best to say that there are NO expectations when it comes to things that other people give to you, like a party. Do I think there should be expectations? Of course not, it’s a kindness. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
GatorGirl September 12, 2013, 1:04 pm
No. I don’t think you’re being bitchy…I think the mentality is bitchy.
I think there is this mentality that bridesmaids or people hosting a baby shower for you are like your minions who have to bend over backwards for you, and that’s bullshit. Someone is being kind enough to host an event for you, just be thankful and if you can’t do that, decline. Sorry it’s a sore subject for me I guess.
WAPS September 12, 2013, 1:08 pm
Oh, well in that case, I totally agree =)
BreezyAM September 13, 2013, 12:28 am
Yeah and honestly if I threw that kind of shower and my SIL bitched, I would give negative eleventy fucks.
lets_be_honest September 12, 2013, 12:55 pm
I agree with GG, but you could still be right.
WAPS September 12, 2013, 1:02 pm
Oh I absolutely agree with GG in theory, but we have all seen how well theory applies to real life situations when deep-seated expectations aren’t met. Again, I’m not saying this is the case with the LW and her SIL, but more a caution to keep in mind before we all think, “Ugh, what is wrong with her? It’s not THAT much work.” since the LW didn’t provide any information on the type of baby shower she’d want.
GatorGirl September 12, 2013, 1:08 pm
LBH’s example was pretty simple with just cake and balloons, but you could just as easily do tea sandwiches and those paper bootie things from Party City. Or just cake and ice cream! It’s possible to keep it cheap and a low time investment. (Unless sister has unrealistic expectations, which could be possible, but that’s on her.)
MMcG September 12, 2013, 1:16 pm
Add chick-fil-a nuggets… anyone who doesn’t think that’s awesome has problems!!
Miss Terri September 12, 2013, 4:33 pm
WOW!! Chick-fil-a nuggets! That would REALLY make it awesome! (No, I am not being sarcastic – I LOVE those!!). But I agree with everyone else – suck it up and throw your sister-in-law a baby shower. Maybe ask one of your girlfriends to help you – you know – the one who likes to be in charge and boss everyone around!!
lemongrass September 12, 2013, 10:58 am
It would be selfish of you not to. It’s ONE weekend of your life.
Bunnycsp September 12, 2013, 11:06 am
If someone took back and offer to throw a shower because their dog was sick, it would really show me where I stood.
bittergaymark September 12, 2013, 11:40 am
KKZ September 12, 2013, 2:17 pm
If I came home from a baby shower I’d hosted to find out my dog, whom I already knew was ill, had had a serious medical event in my absence, I’d jump off a bridge.
Bunnycsp September 12, 2013, 2:37 pm
So do you just not go to work, school, the grocery store? And what is the difference between attending and hosting? If your mom had cancer, would you not go anywhere ever?
KKZ September 12, 2013, 3:01 pm
When my dog is SICK is the important part there. I don’t really worry about him when he’s not already sick.
When he was seriously ill last year, vomiting and diarrhea-ing everywhere and unable to hold down food and water and needing regular doses of meds, I took time off work, worked from home, and (blessedly) had my parents help me take care of him. And no, I did not go to any parties.
I am responsible for my dog, and I take that responsibility VERY seriously. He cannot take care of himself under normal circumstances, even less so when he’s sick. He’s dependent on me. It was my choice to adopt him, and for me, that means I also choose to make taking care of his needs an utter priority.
My mom, even with cancer, is not dependent on me. My dog is. I either bend my life to accommodate him personally, or hire help when that’s possible. And even when he’s healthy, I opt out of social occasions that would impede my ability to tend to his basic needs.
If a friend tried to guilt-trip me for staying home to take care of my sick and helpless dog’s needs instead of going to their babyshower, well, sorry-notsorry. Dog literally depends on me. Friend doesn’t.
Miss MJ September 12, 2013, 3:06 pm
I agree with this. Depending on the illness, I absolutely would not go to a party – even a good friend’s – if no one was able to take care of my dog while I was gone. It’s irresponsible to leave a seriously ailing animal alone just so that you can keep up with your social life. For the record, I’m not talking about a little tummy sick or anything (although that’s probably irresponsible for your floor), but my dogs have had serious surgeries where they could not walk for days, and I sat at home with them when no one else could because they needed me to be there to get water, get food, go to the bathroom, etc. If I had agreed to host the shower, then I would do what I could to contribute, but if I can’t attend, I can’t attend, and if my friends didn’t understand that, then, I don’t need those people in my life anyway.
BreezyAM September 13, 2013, 12:30 am
You didn’t leave for two hours? Please. Ridic.
Liquid Luck September 12, 2013, 3:16 pm
I completely agree with all of this and would do the same for my dogs. Your pet being sick is much more comparable to your child being sick than your parent in relationship to their dependence on you.
That said, the LW is married and planning on hosting the shower, so she’ll have some control of where it is and how long it lasts. She could very easily have it at her house and have her husband watch her kid and the dog upstairs, and she’ll be right there if there are any emergencies (which there probably won’t be in the two hours of the party). In this case, it sounds like the dog is just another excuse in a long line.
KKZ September 12, 2013, 3:52 pm
I wasn’t really replying to the LW’s specific situation – I do agree, most of the obstacles she posed for holding the shower are solvable, and that includes some sort of pet sitter.
More to Mark’s point that a sick dog taking priority over a social commitment is a HUGE insult of some kind.
Liquid Luck September 12, 2013, 4:02 pm
Well I definitely agree with that. My dogs’ health and happiness is way more important to me than most people, let alone an unnecessary social event. So yeah, if you think my choosing the lives of my pets over your party “shows you where [you] stand,” well then you’re right, it’s below the life of an animal that I love and is completely dependent on me for survival. And anyone who doesn’t get that is not worth my time.
iwannatalktosampson September 12, 2013, 3:27 pm
I cosign everything you just said. Dogs are 100% dependent on you. I can’t even explain how much my life revolves around my dog. I started classes again and now every Tuesday and Thursday either my brother or Colin are around to hang out with him. Parties will always take a lower priority than my dogs health. I mean would you leave a sick kid at home by themselves to go to a party? How is it any different. Both depend on you for their health.
KKZ September 12, 2013, 4:04 pm
Agreed. With Bear traveling for work every week now, I’ve stopped going to exercise classes after work and don’t take many after-work commitments so I can go home to him after a long day alone and let him out and feed him. If I’m invited to something in the directly-after-work hours, my first concern is whether I’d have the time to get home to Balto first. I won’t make him wait an extra hour to poop and eat just because I want to go to Happy Hour.
I’m facing this today. I have an important dinner date at 6:00 across town, so I’m leaving work early to go home and take care of Balto before battling rush-hour traffic to go to this appointment. It would be way more convenient to drive straight from work to the restaurant, but, dog comes first. Always.
iwannatalktosampson September 12, 2013, 5:18 pm
“I won’t make him wait an extra hour to poop and eat just because I want to go to Happy Hour.”
Yup. Exactly. My needs (to drink – is that a normal need? haha) will always come after his. My dog also has mild anxiety so even if I did have time to run home and let him out I wouldn’t leave again after being gone all day because he’ll freak out and he needs more human interaction than that. So essentially I don’t go out during the week unless he has gone to day care to fulfill those needs. This is why so many people are shitty dog parents. They do not get this at all.
BreezyAM September 13, 2013, 12:32 am
Yeah but look, you’re still going out for the dinner! To me that’s the same as a shower.
Liquid Luck September 13, 2013, 9:37 am
Yeah, but her dog is not sick right now. We’re not talking about never leaving pets alone ever, we’re talking about choosing to stay home to care for a seriously ill pet vs. going to a party. And sorry, to me, baby showers ARE just a party. I can still celebrate my friend/family member’s baby without attending their shower. Just like I could be happy about a friend’s marriage even if I can’t go to her bridal shower or be excited about their college degree if I miss out on their graduation party.
BreezyAM September 13, 2013, 12:32 am
WTF it’s not a party it’s a close relative’s celebration of a *child*.
I’m a dog lover and have dogs and if you can’t go out two hours ….what the sam hell? Seriously? People take weeks off work so they can wring their hands and fret over Fido? Dafuq? Are you kidding me? Just no. What the hell kind of jobs do you have where you can do that?
UsuallyALurker September 13, 2013, 3:11 am
I live in a country with generous benefits. In addition to my rec leave, I get 18 days personal leave a year (which accumulates – I currently have about 40) which can be used for any combination of illness, caring responsibilities (including extended family and animals, depending on your manager), extending your maternity leave, moving house, religious observance, and other life stuff. And no, we’re not bankrupt, we came through the GFC just fine.
GatorGirl September 12, 2013, 4:07 pm
I’d be pretty insulted if my SIL skipped my baby shower because her pet was sick. Yes, the pets depend solely on you for their care, but I value my relationships with humans more than my relationships with animals. I am a crazy cat mom, but he’s still second fiddle to very close friends and family.
Of course I would make sure the pet was taken care of and/or comfortable before going to a party and would limit my time there, but I would make sure I wasn’t missing a shower of a sibling.
KKZ September 12, 2013, 4:22 pm
I get the point you’re making, I just personally don’t agree. I think a lot of pet owners would agree with Liquid Luck’s comment above:
“So yeah, if you think my choosing the lives of my pets over your party “shows you where [you] stand,” well then you’re right, it’s below the life of an animal that I love and is completely dependent on me for survival. And anyone who doesn’t get that is not worth my time.”
And my hypothetical pregnant lady is free to feel insulted that she’s not worth my time, just like I’m free to decide my time is better spent helping my dog than playing shower games. Even fun kooky ones.
KKZ September 12, 2013, 4:24 pm
P.S. not implying that anyone is a bad person if they disagree with LL. Re-reading, it could be taken that way, and that’s not how I meant it.
GatorGirl September 12, 2013, 5:00 pm
I just want to doubly point out that I’m talking about like a sibling prone of the three people I consider a best friend. Otherwise I would skip any party for my cat. But a human who I’ve spent most of my life fostering a relationship with, they take priority.
Totally fine for others to feel different, and I do respect that view point, but I don’t think mine is crazy either.
bittergaymark September 12, 2013, 8:23 pm
If YOUR pet is THAT ill you are keeping it alive for selfish reasons. Seriously, if your pet requires round the clock care 24/7 — odds are its sadistic to keep it alive. Frankly, it’s sadistic what people do keeping old humans alive these days…
BreezyAM September 13, 2013, 12:35 am
I’m sorry but that’s fucked up. You must not have very close relationships with humans then. I’m not saying you’re a bad person, but that’s seriously fucked you’re more comfortable with missing a close relative’s shower than leaving a sick animal for a few hours. What the hell, I’d leave a sick kid for a few hours (again, with a sitter, making sure they were cared for) but… ” my time is better spent helping my dog than playing shower games” just wow. Wow.
lets_be_honest September 13, 2013, 9:11 am
I’m with you and GG and whoever else agreed. If someone skipped my anything because they had a sick pet at home? wtf. I’m not a pet person, so I tried to imagine if Lil were sick and it was my sister’s wedding or something. I’d leave Lil with someone who loves her and rush home asap. Go ahead and tell me I’m the worst parent ever.
I was shocked to see how many of you would skip an important human event for a sick pet.
Liquid Luck September 12, 2013, 4:36 pm
I would try to make other arrangements, and if Jeff was around then it wouldn’t even be an issue as one of us could stay with the dogs and the other could go. But sometimes he’s traveling and I can’t take a sick pet to daycare, so yeah, I’d have to miss out on some things like baby showers. And if my sister got pissed at me about that, I’d think she was being a self-centered bitch. A baby shower is still just a party like any other, and my not going to one doesn’t mean I’m not happy for the mom-to-be or excited about the baby, it just means that on that one particular day, I have different priorities.
Seriously, if GGuy was unable to take care of your seriously ill pet that’s in need of special care, you’d just leave it at home alone and hope for the best? Or are you assuming there’s always another way to ensure that your pet is not left alone (which is pretty unrealistic).
GatorGirl September 12, 2013, 4:55 pm
I don’t think it’s unrealistic to think I could find another way to have the pet attended to. Hire someone, ask the vet to board it for an afternoon, have a friend sit with it. If there was literally no option between going to the shower and the pet like dying because it was alone, i would stay with the pet. But I don’t see that happening and I even live 400+ miles from family.
And I disagree that a baby shower is a party just like any other. But we have different opinions on that.
BreezyAM September 13, 2013, 12:37 am
Yeah. This whole subthread just kind of appalls me. I get wanting to be there if pets are dying, but come on. The dog is just having issues not necessarily on the verge of croaking. And yeah as Mark said earlier if your animal is that sick you need to put it down.
Liquid Luck September 13, 2013, 9:53 am
Oh please, an animal that needs care does not automatically need to be put down. That’s fucking ridiculous. My cousin missed a family event because her dog had a broken leg and was on pain meds that needed to be administered at specific times. She also needed to be there to watch the dog and make sure it didn’t try to walk on it. Sure, she could have hired someone to watch the dog, but there are few people I would trust to do so if the dog’s need were that specific. Do you honestly think that a dog should be put down because it breaks a limb, which can be fixed after such a short time?
Dogs also have emotional needs, which are just as important. You can’t explain to a dog that you’ll only be gone for a little while like you can with a child. All they know is that you’re leaving them when they’re scared and in pain. My dogs are rescues and have abandonment issues already, so there is no way in hell I would do anything that upsets them that much. It’s sadistic, and if you can’t attend to your pet’s physical AND emotional well-being, then you shouldn’t have one.
lets_be_honest September 13, 2013, 10:03 am
An animal that needs continuous 24/7 care probably does though (note continuous, not a one time broken leg). Stop and think about that for a minute. If an animal is THAT sick that someone MUST be around it 24 hours a day, its probably more humane to put it down.
Liquid Luck September 13, 2013, 10:38 am
Yes, if it needs 24-hour care for the rest of its life, I would agree that it probably needs to be put down. But if it’s only for a matter of weeks or months and it can make a full recovery to the quality of life it’s used to, then I don’t agree at all, unless it’s already near the end of it’s life. And in instances where a dog is in extended physical pain, it’s even more important to keep it happy and emotionally pain-free than it would be at any other time. Sometimes things happen at inopportune times, and if anyone judged me for wanting to miss their party in order to make sure my pets (who is family to us and we love them as such) are taken care of, then I would certainly rethink that relationship.
Luckily my friends and family understand that, and it’s never been an issue. I consistently go out of my way to keep my friendships and family relationships strong, and if one could be jeopardized over something this trivial, then it’s not worth the time and effort I spend maintaining it.
MissDre September 12, 2013, 5:27 pm
My cat definitely comes before other people. I would never go to a party if she was seriously ill. But that’s just me.
PFG-SCR September 12, 2013, 11:11 am
I would talk to your SIL about this. I wouldn’t mention anything about the previous offer, but instead say that you would love to host a baby shower for her, but you are a bit over-whelmed at everything on your plate so you wanted to get her thoughts on who might either be able to host it or who could co-host it with you. She might have some close friends or family members who would like to throw one for her, but were told that you were planning on throwing one for her.
She’s family, and family does carry more of an obligation, but it also means that they should be more understanding (and forgiving) about what is going on in each other’s lives. The best thing is to communicate with each other.
starpattern September 12, 2013, 11:11 am
Yeah, suck it up. I feel you on being super busy, but you should really go ahead and throw the shower. Just make it super simple. I will argue that you don’t even need decor. And (for the love of god please) forget the cutesy games. NO ONE wants to do the thing where you try to guess how many squares of toilet paper equals the circumference of the pregnant lady’s belly. Seriously just buy a grocery store sheet cake, a fruit tray, a can of mixed nuts and grab a small bouquet of flowers and BAM, done. Be a cheerful hostess on the day of and everyone will love it. It’s only a couple hours!
bittergaymark September 12, 2013, 11:15 am
“Dear Wendy, I hated your advice last time. Now I am writing you again. Eagerly hoping for permission to be a complete and total bitch…”
lets_be_honest September 12, 2013, 11:27 am
How can I BE an asshole without LOOKING like an asshole?
Nadine September 12, 2013, 11:29 am
lets_be_honest September 12, 2013, 11:36 am
I’ll just add – as someone who didn’t have a baby shower, you really should do this for them. It would’ve meant a lot to me had someone done that for me and it would’ve shown me my friends and family were actually excited for the baby, loving, supportive and happy to help. I was pretty hurt that I didn’t get one, even if that’s silly to be hurt over.
iwannatalktosampson September 12, 2013, 12:06 pm
I’m kind of surprised you didn’t. You seem to have a really close family.
lets_be_honest September 12, 2013, 12:13 pm
Well my sisters were younger. Still teens. And my mom and stepmom dislike each other. And basically everyone just assumed I’d fail miserably at even being a parent I guess.
And of course, I was having an illegitimate child and had little to no $, so I obviously didn’t need or deserve any baby gifts. Don’t draw any attention to the single pregnant lady!
lets_be_honest September 12, 2013, 12:13 pm
Wow, I guess I’m still a little bitter over that, huh?
iwannatalktosampson September 12, 2013, 12:16 pm
I would be. You don’t get over something like that. When you needed them most they ghosted you to save face. Life is messy sometimes. And honestly I’m sure it was “disappointing” for them to have a pregnant daughter at a young age, but I’m surprised they didn’t know enough about your intelligence, drive, and character – even at that age – to know you’d be just fine.
lets_be_honest September 12, 2013, 12:21 pm
Well, I definitely wasn’t like that pre-baby. I was a mess with no ambition. But still. It sucked to be ghosted, like you said. A lot. Not a fun time at all being 20, having literally no one support you or really talk to you at all and being scared to death. It was cool proving everyone wrong, but also fucked up to realize they only were there when I was worthy of bragging about I guess. I try not to think about that time in my life because I just end up wanting to tell them all to F off.
quixoticbeatnik September 12, 2013, 1:23 pm
One of my good friends had a baby when she was 21. She is 26 now and her kid is in elementary school. She doesn’t make a whole lot of money, but she works hard to provide for her and her son. She is finishing her degree that got put on hold when she got pregnant and she just got a new job that is more suited to her. Basically she’s the most awesome person I know and I am in complete awe of her. I think single mothers like you and her are really amazing people. It sucks that you didn’t get the support you needed, but I think you have a lot to be proud of.
lets_be_honest September 13, 2013, 9:14 am
Good for her! I always love hearing stories like that. I’ll be rooting for your friend.
And thanks 🙂
Bagge72 September 12, 2013, 1:24 pm
Do you want us to throw you an awesome afterbirth party?
theattack September 12, 2013, 1:25 pm
Bagge72 September 12, 2013, 1:38 pm
Just think of the awesome things you good do with that! Like blind folding LBH and sticking her hand in a bowl full of jello, or an umbilical cord cake.
iwannatalktosampson September 12, 2013, 1:51 pm
That’s the most inappropriate thing I hope to read all day. I can’t even.
lemongrass September 12, 2013, 2:06 pm
It’s even worse if you’ve seen a real umbilical cord. Those things are creepy looking.
lets_be_honest September 13, 2013, 9:15 am
Oh My God.
kare September 12, 2013, 11:42 am
I’m throwing a baby shower and it is super stressful. I don’t have a ton of money, so my venue options are limited (none of us have an apartment big enough to accommodate the guests). So budgeting sucks and my friend is the flakiest person ever. The shower is in a month and she hasn’t provided me a guest list. I’ve got the games, activity, decor, food, cake, venue, etc. all planned and budgeted for but it is kind of frustrating that she can’t give me a head count or guest list or even register and I’ve been planning since May.
Sorry for the rant….I’m super excited about the shower and about my goddaughter, but the logistics have me stressed!
starpattern September 12, 2013, 11:58 am
Since you have everything planned already, it may not be an option, but have you considered a “come and go” type shower? You can extend the time a little (say 4 hours instead of 2) and have people come when they want, eat, visit a bit and leave. While it means the hosts do a little more work to keep things circulating constantly, it keeps the crowd manageable for a smaller space because you don’t get everyone at once. Plus, since people usually arrive one-by-one the guest of honor tends to get a little more personal time with each guest.
AmyP September 12, 2013, 12:19 pm
There’s something called a sip-and-see that might work after the baby is born.
Liquid Luck September 12, 2013, 12:27 pm
Showers don’t have to be (and traditionally aren’t) large gatherings. No one has an apartment that can fit a dozen people and a few extra chairs? I’ve lived in some tiny apartments, but I’ve always been able to manage. Offer to host the party that makes you comfortable. It’s your gift to your friend, so just try to relax and breathe a little, and don’t stretch yourself too thin.
As the hostess, you get to decide the budget and the number of guests. Tell your friend you’re able to accommodate X number of guests, and that you need their names a month to three weeks before the shower. She doesn’t need to register, people have been buying baby gifts for year before baby registries were a thing. If she doesn’t get you a guest list by then, just invite her immediate family members and the friends you know she’d want there.
kare September 13, 2013, 12:03 am
Thanks guys! I would throw it at my place, but some people have pretty bad allergies to cats so I don’t want to risk it. I’d hate to throw it at her place since she just moved and isn’t settled in yet. Pretty much everyone else that’s part of the shower still lives at home or will be coming in from out of town. I found a place that’s $100 and can accommodate everyone, so that will probably be what I go with.
I’ve only been to a couple of baby showers, but all of them have been more than a dozen people. The smallest was like 20 people (and that was my friend in high school that was 15) and the largest was about 60 or so.
starpattern September 15, 2013, 9:31 pm
That’s cool of you to think about people’s cat allergies. Sounds like you are a considerate host.
On large showers, yeah, I’ve been to some huge ones, but they are typically for people who only want one shower for whatever reason. Most of the time among my own family and friends, there are multiple showers – one by the mother’s family, one by the father’s family, one by friends, one by coworkers, one by church if applicable , etc. and that’s a good way to keep it small and low key. Occasionally we (ladies in my family) have offered to throw a shower for a cousin and had them hand us a 100 name guest list which is awkward and it’s when we break out the “come and go” format which seems to work well.
BreezyAM September 13, 2013, 12:41 am
then have less guests.
Seriously where is this idea that we must host X number? Also, I know I run with a socially and economically disadvantaged crowd, but any shower in a restaurant was assumed dutch treat. It never even had to be said; people KNEW they were paying their own way.
starpattern September 15, 2013, 9:33 pm
Yeah I agree about showers in restaurants, typically the hosts/organizers pick up the tab for the guest of honor but not the entire party. I don’t personally find anything wrong or rude about that (although if you are hosting and want to pay for everyone, that is super nice and more power to you!)
the_other_wendy September 12, 2013, 12:04 pm
You could also think of this as a really good opportunity to develop a closer relationship with your Sister in law. Everyone is right, it won’t take up that much of your time, it doesn’t have to cost much, and you will make someone happy which is a reward in itself.
Amanda September 12, 2013, 12:29 pm
Yes, you are obligated to throw the shower if keeping your word and being a trustworthy, dependable human being are traits that you aspire to. If not, then my suggestion for rescinding your offer is to be completely honest. Tell your SIL that you do not value keeping your promise to her and that you are not sorry. You cannot apologize for being who you are: an untrustworthy, undependable, unloyal person. Kudos LW
WAPS September 12, 2013, 12:42 pm
I think you’re being harsh to the LW here. Her offer to co-host a shower was made at a different time in a different set of circumstances. A promise 1 year ago doesn’t mean she is forever obligated to host a shower at whatever time is convenient for her SIL. As she said, a lot has changed for her, and if I were close enough to someone to accept them hosting a bridal shower, I assume that I’d be close enough to understand when their circumstances change.
Amanda September 12, 2013, 12:47 pm
I guess we can agree to disagree. Technically, the LW agreed to co-host her SIL’s shower, so where is the other host? She doesn’t mention them or their relationship to SIL. Instead of backing out of her promise, the LW should reach out to the other host, her husband and her husband’s family for help. As was discussed up-thread, throwing a shower doesn’t have to take a lot of time. But it will go a long way toward establishing a closer relationship with her SIL, which the LW says that she wants.
WAPS September 12, 2013, 12:59 pm
Whoops, I meant baby shower. I was thinking about what to do for my future SIL’s bridal shower this morning, and my fingers got confused.
CurlyQue September 12, 2013, 4:45 pm
“She is forever obligated to host a shower at whatever time is convenient for her SIL.” This line of yours really rubbed me the wrong way. The SIL didn’t reschedule the baby shower on the LW, she had a miscarriage!!
I understand your point about the LW’s promise a year ago to the 1st pregnancy shouldn’t automatically mean a promise for this one, though. If the LW was ONLY citing her “too busy” reasons i’d probably have more sympathy for her, but a lot of the reasons have nothing to do with being busy, and instead is petty drama.
She offered to throw the baby shower because she was happy for the couple and wanted to show support because of how hard they’ve been trying. Correct? Shouldn’t those feelings now be x100, considering the miscarriage?
WAPS September 12, 2013, 5:22 pm
I think that’s an overly sensitive way to look at that line, but agree to disagree. I didn’t claim having a miscarriage was convenient for anyone. The SIL, however, did choose to try to get pregnant again at a point that worked for her, and the appropriate timing for her baby shower is therefore at her convenience, and not at the LW’s. That’s how the cookie crumbles, sometimes. And yeah, it sounds like both the LW and the SIL are pills, and should probably just stay out of each others’ ways. I was more commenting about whether the promise from 1 year ago holds now, and I really don’t think it does.
I don’t think her feelings “should” be magnified x100 because someone had a miscarriage before, though. If she’s generally supportive (in ways other than a baby shower) and happy for them, that’s enough regardless of what came before.
bittergaymark September 13, 2013, 4:27 am
What are you, the 80s Baby That Ate New York? After a tragic miscarriage the SIL is somehow in the wrong here as she woefully mistimed this pregnancy for the LW?
Maybe the SIL should simply miscarry again and only try for third times the charm AFTER clearing things with the LW… Jesus, and people here think I’M an asshole… Really?
lets_be_honest September 13, 2013, 9:16 am
Oof, I can’t see how they shouldn’t be magnified x1000 because of that. Jeez.
On another note, I’ve been agreeing with Mark far too much lately.
iwannatalktosampson September 13, 2013, 9:42 am
quixoticbeatnik September 12, 2013, 1:19 pm
I would say that you should still host a baby shower for your sister-in-law. Get some people to help you so that it’s not all you! And don’t feel pressure to make it a huge affair. Have cute decorations, cupcakes, good food and I would say mimosas and I think that’d be a good party! Could your mother-in-law help, maybe?
You don’t HAVE to like your sister-in-law. But it’s important to be cordial and on slightly good terms. She is family, after all. She will be an aunt to your kids if you have kids, and you will be an aunt to your nieces and nephews. My mom doesn’t have the best relationship with my dad’s siblings, but she still sees them and hangs out with them. Who knows, your relationship with her in the future may get better. And you will be glad then that you made the effort! Treat others the way you would want to be treated. It is such a fucking waste of your time to hold grudges. It helps nobody and harms you. And if she knows how busy you are, she might be extra grateful that you even threw her a shower! When she has the baby, she might also want to have a better relationship with you, because I think most people want their kids to have good relationships with their family, even if they don’t.
If you really feel that you don’t have the time, bow out graciously, but maybe you could send out invitations or do something that involves you a little bit.
thatgirl September 12, 2013, 2:15 pm
Don’t….just don’t do it. Do not host, or co-host or participate in any way for this shower. Seriously. Who wants to have a shower hosted by a woman who will spend the entire planning time, the entire shower, and every minute in between bitching about what an inconvenience it is right now to be forced to celebrate the birth of a child. A child that was conceived after a long and seemingly painful road. Do her a kindness….Allow her the joy of surrounding herself with people who are truly happy for her and the birth of her first baby.
Sue Jones September 12, 2013, 2:48 pm
Yes, you kind of do need to throw that shower. Keep it simple.
Milo September 12, 2013, 3:33 pm
I’m a little confused as to how your offer to co-host a year ago means that you need to co-host now. Did you make the offer again and now you want to rescind it? Or has she said something to you about her shower and the expectation that you co-host it is still there?
Anyway. Yes, it would be a nice thing to do and probably won’t affect your relationship one way or the other. No, you don’t have to and you shouldn’t if you can’t put your big girl panties on and you’re going to actively resent her while you do it and do a crappy job because that WILL hurt your relationship.
Sue Jones September 12, 2013, 8:07 pm
I disagree. An in-law is going to be in your life for decades assuming you stay married. To bail on this sets a precedent of her seeing you as being a self-centered flake. Even if LW thinks her reasons are “oh so important” they are really small in the big decades long swing of things. Suck it up and throw the darned shower already!
meelomilo September 13, 2013, 11:11 am
But if she’s as self-centered as she seems, do you really think she’ll be able to put aside her obvious resentment? At that point, she’d do more harm than good and hurt her relationship much more than just not throwing the shower.
Lindsay September 12, 2013, 9:42 pm
I think you’re overthinking this, LW. While I see Wendy’s point, I think it’s reasonable to not do it because you’re super busy. But if that’s what you’re going to do, just do it … don’t opine over whether your SIL is friendly or polite enough to deserve it or whether she was interested in being in your wedding. You apparently didn’t mind that she wasn’t your BFF the first time around, so why’s it matter now?
I guess my point is that I just think it’s silly when people try to think up 50 million reasons why they should or shouldn’t do something, when in reality, they just don’t want to. Own your decision, instead of trying to prove that she doesn’t deserve your kindness.
That’s not to say that I wouldn’t host it. I mean, I hosted a bachelorette party and basically spent just a few hours purchasing supplies and preparing. The kindness hosting a shower demonstrates is worth more than a few hours of your time, IMO.
SpaceySteph September 13, 2013, 2:59 pm
I’m not sure when this letter was received but thanksgiving was long enough ago that if it was recent and the son is 10 months old, the LW wasn’t even pregnant when she offered to plan the shower.
I do think her priorities changed significantly now that she has a child herself, plus the ill dog, plus school, that I don’t think its ridiculous to say “I’m sorry but when I offered in November I knew I had plenty of time to devote to your shower, but now that I have [baby] and [sick dog] I really don’t have as much time as I did then to plan. I’d still like to help by doing [dessert, decorations, whatever], but I cannot be a full host.”