When is a grandmother shower okay, and when is it inappropriate? What you should know before you plan a grandmother shower.
I admit it: I hadn’t heard of grandmother showers until I started More Than Grand. Since then, I’ve seen two distinct, conflicting opinions on the trend. If the concept is new to you, take a few minutes to read this post, then share your opinion. If you are looking for ideas for planning a grandmother shower (also called a “grandbaby shower” or “grandma shower”), please read on for some ways to celebrate this special time!
Opinion one: Grandmother showers are a lovely way to welcome a friend or coworker into the Grandparent Club.
Becoming a grandparent is an occasion worth celebrating! When your friends or coworkers know that you’ve waited a long time for this stage of life, it’s natural for them to want to mark it with a special party. If you’ll be babysitting your grandchild, a grandma shower is a lovely way to make sure you have the things you’ll need as a caregiver.
Opinion two: Grandmother showers are tacky and inappropriate.
Etiquette experts have called them gift grabs and expectant mothers frequently express their discontent with the way grandmother showers are staged. Shining a spotlight on the grandmother shows a lack of respect for the parents-to-be.
So which is it? Are grandma showers inappropriate gift grabs or thoughtful celebrations of a special time? The answer, as in most things, lies in the details. In this case, not just the details of the celebration itself, but the details in how it is planned.
Here are some guidelines on grandmother shower etiquette that will help move the needle from inappropriate to thoughtful.
Always consult the mother-to-be.
While becoming a grandmother is exciting, becoming a mother for the first time is far more momentous. Before plans get underway, the mother-to-be should be asked how she feels about the idea, especially if gifts are to be given. If there is no baby shower planned for the prospective parents, a grandmother shower is likely to cause hurt feelings. If whomever is planning the grandma shower doesn’t know the mom-to-be, it’s up to grandma to check in with the expectant mother. If the mother-to-be has any hesitations, grandma needs to respect mom’s feelings and let her friends know they’ll have to celebrate another way.
The question of gifts.
Traditionally, a shower is meant to help provide the items a young couple can’t afford. It’s harder to justify showering gifts on a grandmother, who is likely able to afford the things she needs in her new role. Unless she will be caring for the baby in her home while parents work, there is little a grandmother requires that the parents won’t be bringing with the baby when they visit. If she will be providing regular child care and has limited financial means, a group of generous friends can help outfit her with the things she’ll need.
Keep in mind, though, that if gifts are meant for when baby is at grandmother’s house, first make sure parents have all the necessities.
If a grandmother shower is meant to gather gifts for new parents, make sure they are comfortable with receiving them. One expectant mother was appalled that people she didn’t even know were expected to give her gifts.
Better yet, have a celebration that doesn’t include gift giving, or limit gifts to books for a library at grandma’s house.
Keep it simple.
A grandmother shower shouldn’t be modeled on a traditional baby shower, but should be a relaxed affair. Limit the guest list to the grandma-to-be’s closest friends. Meeting for happy hour at a favorite restaurant, gathering for a morning at the beach, or getting together for afternoon tea are all ways to have a low-key celebration. In the case of office parties, a lunch time event with cake is a festive way to make the occasion.
Share wisdom instead of gifts.
A celebration of a first grandchild is the ideal time to share grandmother wisdom. Ask each guest to write down their advice about being a grandmother. Present the grandma-to-be with a book or two about grandparenting (see our favorites here). Make a list of grandparenting resources like More Than Grand and The Grand Life podcast. Gift a copy of New Grandparent Essentials!
To put it simply, grandmother baby shower etiquette comes down to respecting that the parents-to-be should be the center of attention. If you use that as your guide, you’ll be able to joyfully welcome the new grandmother to the Grandparent Club.
What do you think? Are grandma showers a thing your circle? Share your thoughts in the comments!
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