The Purpose of a Baby Shower
I am surprised and I mean really surprised (and I don’t get easily surprised) with the way our culture has begun to handle baby showers. I mean, what is the purpose of a baby shower?
I have been to many baby showers in my lifetime so I feel like I have gotten a pretty good look at them over the years.
What Is A Baby Shower
This should be an easily answered question. I mean it is a shower. And that means the whole point is to help the person being honored. The honoree isn’t asking for gifts but the gift giving is implied through the shower.
That means: A baby shower is a chance to shower the new mother with “gifts” that she will need when her child is born.
In the past the purpose of the shower was (and it should still be) to help the mother-to-be prepare for the impending birth of her baby.
Child birth is stressful, being pregnant is stressful, and parenting a newborn can be a odyssey into the unknown. That is why the baby shower is so important. It is a pause before the next leg of the journey. And it gives the mother a chance to “stock up” in preparation for the tasks to come.
When I say “stock up” what I am talking about is more than just material positions. To be honest most mothers today have more baby clothes than they know what to do with, but that is besides the point. One very valuable aspect of a traditional baby shower was that it gave the group a chance to share experience, knowledge, and anecdotes.
That is the true spirit of a baby shower. And it is one that many have begun to over look. But without it there is no real point in calling it a shower. Because it really isn’t a shower. It is simply a party.
What Is A Modern Baby Shower
When I make a distinction I think that it is best to say the traditional baby shower and the modern. This is a before and after look at the two different styles.
My Baby Shower
To make this more clear, when I had my baby shower it was of the modern variety. I would have loved to have a traditional one, however, since you are just the guest you don’t get to dictate how your celebration will go. Some do, but that is also besides the point.
As I said, modern really sort of losses track of the true spirit of the day. It is more about this great big party. I felt like mine was a more like a carnival than a baby shower. And to be honest I ended up a little bit overwhelmed by the day that had been planned for me. Before you tell me how bad I am, how rude it is, and what points I failed to take away from this beautiful gesture. Save it.
My SIL had thrown the shower for me and my DH. Yes, it was a couples baby shower. It was pretty, everything was pretty and gender neutral. The guys ended up standing around out in the garage getting drunk and smoking cigars while the women sat in the living room playing silly games (they took up the majority of the time) and eating Sloppy Joes and Ruffles chips. The guys drank their lunch and I ended up taking about a gallon of Sloppy Joe sauce home in an old milk jug which made the dog happy.
While, my SIL, bless her heart, wanted to make it the perfect day it turned into something entirely different. Something that she hadn’t intended and she apologized afterwards. She wants me to host her shower when the time is right but, she wants it to be a traditional one.
And I couldn’t be happier.
What I feel Is Important
You don’t need a lot for the shower. Seriously, just get the people that you are close to together and call it done.
There are three things that I feel are important.
This is what the whole day is about. If it isn’t, then I am sorry something is wrong.
When I have talked to people about the idea of the modern v. traditional shower they have disregarded my point, failing to see where the two styles don’t do the same thing. I will agree that, yes, both showers gather people together. But the similarities end there. The major difference is that one encourages interaction and the other encourages animation.
As I said about mine, I felt like I was at a carnival. The whole afternoon saw us running from one attraction to the next and we barely had time to just sit and talk. I would have loved it so much more if it had been a little easier going.
The entire home was so decorated, and every detail had been micro managed. My SIL even spent a day picking out the invitations. Invitations! A baby shower is a lot of work, but she made it more like a profession.
You can get togetherness with some simple invites. You don’t need to spend a day finding the right invitations for the baby shower. You really don’t. Even if you want to go the custom crafted invitations make it simple, make it sweet, and then move on. Even a simple baby shower is a lot of work.
I have already said it, but I will say it again and make it clear, what I mean. A shower is more than how big the diaper cake (I always found the name to be a big gross) is, how many onsies you get, or who spent the most.
That, in my opinion, is all wrong.
A whole wealth of resources goes unused when you don’t take the time to use this opportunity to talk. Talk.
Simply conversing with the other mothers, sharing their experiences, and seeing that it will all go alright. This is worth a lot, and when you focus too much on the shower and not enough on the people attending it you run the risk of losing this chance.
And that is truly a pity.
From the insightfulness that you experience from the rest of the guests comes the knowledge that you are ready for what is coming.
You may think, or even know, that you are ready, but it isn’t really solid yet. There is a little doubt in your mind and you end up missing out on something that is worth more than gold.
Wow, I didn’t intend to make this that long. I just wanted to share my opinion on how the modern baby shower feels like it has lost its way. How things that are important have been set aside for things that aren’t. And this turned into a bit of a rant.
Maybe somebody agrees with me. Maybe somebody feels like a valuable part of the road to motherhood has gone missing. Most people disagree with me. Maybe that is why I tried to lay it out here. To make my point and share my reasoning. Who knows.