Carolyn Hax

Carolyn Hax: If you don’t want a baby shower, now’s the time to stand firm with mother-in-law

 

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn: When I became engaged to my now-husband, I explicitly told friends and family I was not interested in any bridal showers. My husband and I had lived together for years and needed nothing for our home. I’m very quiet and shy with few female friends/relatives and was never interested in being the center of attention.

My mother-in-law ignored all of my protests and planned a bridal shower, inviting only her family members (most of whom I’d never met). I had no choice but to go and be gracious, even though the experience was extremely uncomfortable.

I am pregnant and know my mother-in-law will immediately begin plans for a baby shower when she finds out. I have no interest in repeating the experience and have decided not to commit to any future dates as potential surprise parties, in addition to telling her I prefer to have no party.

“Mom” has lots of anger issues and will not take the news well. Is it petty of me to say a polite but firm “No, thanks,” or must I suck it up yet again?

No Parties

It’s your life. “No, thanks” is never petty.

Normally I’d say that baby showers are different, and that involving people in celebrations can be an early step in creating a community for your child, but this is different. You’re still at a point where your mother-in-law is in control, you make no mention of where your husband is in all this, and a baby is about to make any mother-in-law boundary problems exponentially worse.

So, my advice here is to take it up with your husband. Not just the shower, but the whole “anger issues when anyone says no to her” thing. He needs to be willing to serve as the protective wall between his young family and her issues. Is he? If not, it’s counseling or marriage seminar time, to allow a disinterested third party to explain the perils of not making each other your mutual priority.

Just a side note about creating a sense of community, had it been applicable here: These celebrations needn’t be gift-shakedowns, but can instead be traditional showers but the gifts are donations for needy moms; or favorite-children’s-book showers; or best-advice-I-ever-got showers; whatever sits right.

Re: Shower: What if you don’t want advice or questions either? I’m having this weird urge to go hide in a cabin in the woods until I give birth. I’m not doing anything particularly interesting. I mean, billions of people have done this. Is it weird that I’m just not interested in discussing my future child?

Anonymous

Oh, gosh, no — I swear the population would double if new parents didn’t have to run the gantlet of unsolicited advice.

OK, maybe not double, but I’ve never had anyone report they were delighted by all the advice they got; all reports have been of how annoying and intrusive and persistent it is, this societal impulse to coach new parents.

And, you might want to stay in your cabin until your baby’s an adult, because the advice flow isn’t diminishing anytime soon. (Was that part unsolicited?)

Email Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com, follow her on Facebook at facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at noon Eastern time each Friday at washingtonpost.com.

Read more Lifestyle stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
B Resort & Spa opened in Orlando in June, after a former hotel at the site was redone top to bottom.

    Bed check: Orlando

    B Resort & Spa: The place to ‘B’ at Downtown Disney

    A stay at the new B Resort near Downtown Disney feels more like a South Beach vacation than a visit to amusement park central.

  • Ask Nancy

    How to find a doctor who makes house calls

    Q. My mom is 82. Her mobility has become limited in the past year, and it has become difficult to take her to appointments with her doctor, who doesn't make house calls. Do you have a list of physicians who specialize in geriatric care and that make house calls? Perhaps you have other suggestions?

  •  
 <span class="cutline_leadin">THE ZOMBIES:</span> The Walking Dead returns to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando.

    Around Florida

    Celebrating Halloween at the theme parks

    With Halloween about six weeks away, Florida’s theme parks are ready to launch their celebrations — and one already has.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category