Having just finished our new daughter’s baby shower and cleaned up all the large cake stains smeared all over the place by small children I figured I’d end the day talking about Why and How to Have a Baby Shower.
In the US baby showers tend to be a small gathering of close female friends who bring gifts to the mother to be to congratulate her and help with things that are needed.
Having now been to a number of baby showers in Mexico I’ve seen that it’s totally different here and I’m assuming in other parts of the world.
If you think about it, a baby shower is the exact opposite of a funeral. A funeral solemnizes death, while a baby shower celebrates life. What’s my point? Every child should have one. It’s a welcoming party that will let the child know that they are welcome and have friends and family standing by to provide them with the love and support they will need to survive during their formative years.
And no one brings gifts to a baptism.
But skipping the philosophical side of things there are three main reasons to have a baby shower listed in order of priority:
2. Friends and Family
It’s a pretty tough world and the economics aren’t that great. Nowadays having a baby can be an amazing blessing that comes attached with the fear of being able to support a family with a baby in it, especially if both parents are already working to make ends meet.
With a baby shower, the expecting couple can be given a really good head start by friends and family because make no mistake about it: babies are beautiful, joyful, exhausting, exhilarating and dozens of other emotions but they are also expensive. I don’t care what your income bracket is, having a child is a major drain that gets placed on whatever income a family has.
Baby showers can help ease the impact of financial burden by a large group of friends and family getting many of the necessities that new parents might spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars buying that they really don’t have.
2. Friends and Family:
Unless you are living under a stone at the back of a cave in a forgotten off shore island, then you know that social interaction is slowly being replaced by social networking.
Call me sentimental if you will, but in these times when everyone seems to find excuses to not get together with family unless there is a funeral, you need every excuse you can find to bring everyone together. And the celebration and welcoming of a new member of the “clan” is about the best one you could hope to have.
In Mexico, any excuse to party and have fun is a good one, ESPECIALLY with friends and family. Baby showers here involve games, dancing, music, good food and anything else except alcohol. There are plenty of occasions to get drunk on, getting drunk at a baby shower is an action that even the truly tasteless would scorn with well measured disdain.
In the rest of the article I’ll cover each of these categories and most importantly how they affect what type of baby shower to have and how to prepare for it.
Okay, you clicked read more! You win a free all expense paid trip to the bottom of this blog post!!! Not that exciting is it? Ok. Moving on. Ahem…
There are different ways to set-up having a baby shower. I’ll cover each below.
Option 1 Financially Okay: See Section 2 on Friends and Family.
Option 2 In Need of Financial Help:
If you are in need of financial support or help in terms of preparing for the baby then the best is to be forthright about without pushing it to heavily on friends and family. Truth is, that if they really are friends and family, then they will all rally to the cause to give you a leg up because they’ll be sensitive enough to know that you need the help.
So you need to realize that your job is to set-up a fun party without spending money that you don’t have on it, but at the same time making it enjoyable for the people who are coming. So first things first:
1. Create a baby registry either at a local baby store such as Babies R’Us or even Amazon.com. Check around and see what works best for you.
2. Add to the baby registry everything you are going to need to get ready for the baby. You can check out my pregnancy videos for a better list but here is the off the top of my head list in sequence of priority:
aaaaaaa. If you suspect that the birth might be complicated in anyway due to health history of either parent or because the Ob-Gyn has warned you, then get a baby sleep monitor. YES. THEY ARE EXPENSIVE ($100 – $300), but there is no price for peace of mind when it comes to your newborn child.
a. Baby diaper suits. Put at least 8 of these on the list.
b. Burp rags. Get 15.
c. Diapers. Some people literally just have diaper-showers and everyone brings diapers from sizes “newborn” and each of the sizes of whichever brand you decide to stick with. Huggies has like 5 stages for baby diapers. If you are going the cloth diaper route, still applies.
d. Baby clothes in all shapes and sizes.
e. Bottles. Get 3 bottles of the 4 ounce size and 6 bottles of the 8 ounce size.
f. Car Seat.
h. Baby Hygiene supplies. Rash cremes, bath soaps, belly button disinfectants, and all the rest of the items listed in the baby accessories videos I did.
i. other items you know you won’t be able to get on your own but that you need such as a crib.
And while I’m sure this is a given, don’t pick expensive stuff. Make it easy for other people to help you. Honestly the baby doesn’t care if their diaper suit is second-hand, from Armani or the dollar discount rack at Target.
3. Send out invitations 3-4 weeks in advance and have a link at the bottom of the invitation which tells people where the baby registry is located/set-up at so they can easily find it. Send these invitations to as many friends and family you can without getting yourself labeled as a chiselmonkey. Don’t send it to people who really aren’t friends or whom you wouldn’t bring your baby over to visit after he or she is born unless you are really really desperate. And if those people do bring gifts or help you, then you should probably realize that they really are friends and deserve your recognition of that fact.
3B. Yes you can set-up an event on Facebook. But honestly those are annoying as crap for everyone except the person who is posting it. Use email.
4. Figure out with your partner how you are going to make the baby shower a blast. What foods? What cakes? What music? What games? What theme? Go wild with your imagination but stay tight on the budget. Pull out your old Christmas lights! Borrow them from a neighbor! Steal them from the house of someone you hate! (that was a joke and not advocated at all.) (Unless they’re really jerks and deserve it-take out your pre-parental frustration on someone who truly deserves it!)
5. As needed, ask a couple of your closest friends and family to help with foods or snacks or sodas.
6. Keep your pride stowed under the sink. You can return the favors one day.
7. Write out a preparations calenders so you gather all the pieces little by little with enough time.
8. A week before the baby shower, send out “confirmation emails” asking for people to confirm that they will be there so you can order enough food for everyone.
9. Adjust food and snacks off the number of replies. DO NOT SPEND A LOT OF MONEY NO MATTER HOW TEMPTING IT MIGHT BE BECAUSE “YOU DON’T WANT TO LOOK LIKE A BEGGAR.” Screw that. When you are reach and famous invite them all on a private ocean cruise. In the meantime, be humble. You will offend them if they see you spent a boatload of money that you should have spent on your baby instead.
10. Create little “thank you for coming to _________’s Baby Shower” handouts. They can be cookies. Cute bags of mints. Thank you cards, etc…
11. Every night of the week prior to the party do a little to get ready for the party so that on the day of the party you are ready.
12.Prepare a short thank you speech. This isn’t the Gettysburg Address. Just a few heartfelt words. It will mean a lot to those who came.
13. No matter what happens. No matter who shows up and who doesn’t. No matter what you get and what you don’t. Have a great time. It may very well be the last party you have until your child has their first birthday. Enjoy yourselves and realize: You are alive and you are about to have an unbelievable amount of happiness in your life.
2. Family and Friends and 3. Fun
If you are at least okay on finances to the point where you will be able to purchase all the key things you need for the baby, then realize that somehow by the laws of the universe that you are going to probably spend more on the baby shower than the value of the gifts you receive unless you ask friends and family to help with food. Food, cake, balloons, soda, plates, forks, etc… for 30-50 people is going to run you about $600-$800 depending on what brands you buy.
Chances are you might break even with the gifts that are gotten. It’s like the universe senses whether or not you really need the gifts and then responds accordingly.
Anyways. The point is that this is a different type of baby shower, although it’s handled in pretty much the same way, but you have a bit of a bigger budget to throw around on the party itself. So splurge. Enjoy yourself and make it clear in your invitations that gifts are optional, but that attendance is not.
A cool gimmick to use for this type of party is that everyone needs to come and fill out a page in a “wish book” for the baby much like the three fairy godmothers in sleeping beauty. However make sure Malificent stays home. Have a really cool little scrapbook type book and different color pens and make then put it on a table near the door.
As a final note on this, if it’s this category and mom really wants to have a final “girls night” before the baby arrives then she should plan the baby shower and invitations accordingly. I don’t think that’s the greatest way to do it…but hey: to each their own.
Okay. That’s about it for the moment. I’ll update this later with some footage from baby shower #2, but otherwise here is the original video back from our first daughter: