Post # 1
I think I’ve been to 2 baby showers in my whole life so this is a new ball game for me. Mainly because I hate all bridal and baby showers so I typically decline unless it’s for a close friend or family member. Just not my scene.
I have recently been invited to 2 upcoming baby showers for distant cousins on my husband’s side of the family. 1 of which I have met maybe twice and probably didn’t say much besides hellos, a merry christmas and a good bye. The other I didn’t even know existed. I found out about this woman (my MIL’s second cousin’s daughter-in-law) only because my Mother-In-Law flipped out when she heard I never received an invitation. She’s real big on making sure I’m included on everything now because we’re family. I guess she made a major stink to the family even after my husband told her to just leave it alone and like magic I received the invite in today’s mail.
Let me preface by saying I really am a nice and thoughtful person, however, I’m a little peeved at the Mother-In-Law for making such an ordeal about this knowing I’m currently unemployed. I’m really not in a place where I can be spending my precious unemployment benefits to go in on a gift. I’m barely scrapping by paying the bills. Plus I don’t appreciate her not respecting both my husband or my feelings on the subject, but that’s a whole other issue.
Even though I don’t know these people and am declining to attend the showers (mainly because I don’t want to go and now for principle) should I still send a gift? I’ve read that you’re not required to give a gift for baby showers if you decline, that’s only required for bridal showers. ??? But I don’t want to look like an a$$hole either. I’m not really sure how all this works and what I can do financially. The Mother-In-Law wants to go in on a gift with some other family members “because it’s cheaper”, but I don’t want her to know that I can’t even bring myself to spend $20 unless it’s for necessities right now. I’d prefer to keep my finances private to the family.
What would you ladies do? Or think is appropriate in my situation? Thanks!
Post # 3
Gah, that is awkward! Here’s what I would do. I think you sort of have to attend since Mother-In-Law made a big stink about it and the poor mother-to-be probably thinks you are the crazy one now. I would attend and be the most sweet, gracious, and warm person there.
Since money is tight I would make a DIY hand-sewn gift. You can go to a thrift store and buy some old clothes or curtains, wash them really well, then cut them up and use the pretty fabric. A hand-made gift is always a HUGE hit at baby showers, and it will convince the mom that you’re a nice person who isn’t crazy at all 🙂
This website has a tutorial on turning a thrift store hankie into a pretty baby bonnet. http://www.somewhatsimple.com/2010/03/fabulous-friday-and-giveaway-from-this.html
For other ideas you can check out http://www.oneprettything.com. There are tons of wonderful DIY gifts on there. Good luck!
Post # 4
Wow. You Mother-In-Law kinda screwed you on that one. I think that you should decline (I’m sure the hostess will be very relieved by that! If she didn’t include you in the first place maybe she doesn’t have room anyway, plus maybe the mommy-to-be mentioned that she has no idea who you are, LOL!). So anyway, yeah, decline. Send a card instead. Just make it a very cute card. No gift certificate. No gift.
When I have my shower, I hope that no one I’ve never met before is invited and I really hope those people don’t feel obligated to send a gift just because they were on the list! Don’t worry about all the drama your Mother-In-Law stirred up. By attending, you’d just be reinforcing her behavior.
Post # 5
I do feel screwed and I do feel that if I did go that it would almost be condoning my MIL’s actions. Most of the things she does or says causes a rift between my husband and I. He almost always takes my side on things, however, I have to be very careful about what I say about his family – it’s ok for him to go off about them, but not for me. And I get it. I’d probably be the same way if he had any beef with my parents.
After sleeping on it, I realize this is more about my relationship with the Mother-In-Law than the baby showers. I feel that I need to lay the ground work now because I’m honestly very concerned that she’ll go buck wild now that I’m married to her son. I feel like she has zero boundaries nor does she respect others feelings or opinions. It’s always what she wants and she just does it (oh, I have a delightful list of things that get my blood boiling). I purposely did not have any bridal showers or allow her to know anything about our wedding planning because I knew it would have been a total nightmare otherwise. Regardless, she still gave us sh*t about our wedding (being small) and could not have been more disinterested on the day of… and even showed up late which is still a thorn in my side. I figure if I sit back and not always participate in their family events (I’ll still attend things for people I actually know), they won’t expect much from me. Also, maybe, just maybe, she’ll start to see that she’s pushing me away. A girl can hope.
Is there a board tab called “MIL Drama”? I think I need to edit and switch it over from babies.
Post # 6
Meh, skip it. But I do think that if you send a gift, it makes you look gracious to the cousins….especially after the big stink Mother-In-Law made. I’d probably send a small hand sewn gift, but I LOVE to sew and I totally saved that bonnet. It looks simple enough.
But seriously, there is no shame in not being able to fork up the dough. I also think it’s perfectly acceptable to decline and send nada.
Post # 7
I also say you’re fine to skip it, but I think you really should send a gift. It doesn’t have to be anything big, and it would be fine to do the DIY route! Good luck!
Post # 8
Aw, sorry that you’ve got so much to deal with in one small person! Sometimes the Family board is full of “MIL” in the titles, you would think it was the Mother-In-Law Drama board! LOL
Whatever you choose to do, make sure hubby is on board. You’ll need his opinion in every battle to win the war. Good luck!
Post # 9
Thanks ladies! All great advice. And thanks for listening. I really needed to vent!
Post # 10
I agree with Mighty Sapphire. Send a reeeeeeally cute card with a heartfelt (okay, faked heartfelt) message – congratulations, so happy for you, maybe throw in a short poem, prayer, song lyric…whatever brand of sentimentality works for you.
Post # 11
i’d send a card for both, no gift. I might even send the card along with Mother-In-Law. I’d be so weirded out to get an invite for that one – make sure to have a sensible friend plan a baby shower for you if you have children some day. Don’t let Mother-In-Law anywhere near your guest list – the mailman’s sister in law’s cousin will be there, touching your belly. 😉
Post # 12
I agree about not sending a gift. Sometimes there are threads about bridal showers. I think you should only send a gift (when declining) if the person is someone you’re close to. These are people you barely (or don’t even) know. How ridiculous does “MIL’s second cousin’s daughter-in-law” sound????
Post # 13
So I’m not crazy thinking this is a bit ridiculous to be invited to my mother-in-law’s second cousin’s daughter-in-law’s baby shower?! Especially since I never met anyone from that branch of my husband’s family. Or ever heard of them.
Even though family planning is not on my radar, my mom and I already said that she would not go in on a shower with my Mother-In-Law. My mom would plan me something with close friends and family, but be there for moral support when the Mother-In-Law goes bananas on a shower she’d throw for me. Of course I’d try to get out of it, but I most likely would have to bit the bullet. I’m scared.
Looking back, if I allowed my Mother-In-Law to have any involvement with my wedding planning or allowed her and my Father-In-Law to pay for any portion of the wedding (they wanted to, but we were adamant to pay for everything ourselves), I most likely would not be married. I would have ran for the hills… or we would have eloped (which we practically did anyway). Isn’t that sad? I’d give up on love because of the monster mother?
Post # 14
You are not alone. I don’t know why MILs are crazy, they just are.
I started thinking the other day that you Mother-In-Law may be covertly trying to “start your baby timer” by making you attend a baby shower. Like seeing all the adorable little onesies is going to suddenly change your plans on familiy planning or something. You think? Or is she not THAT crazy?
Post # 15
I don’t think you need to send anything, but for what it’s worth, in some families the baby/bridal shower tradition is to invite all of the women in the family—regardless of how well you know them. So that may be why you’re getting the invites, and it may be that your Mother-In-Law is trying to make sure you’re included in the family, even if she’s inadvertently making it tough for you. So just something to think about! I suspect the cousins feel just as awkward about it, too. 🙂
My favorite low-cost baby gift for the situations where you don’t exactly want to send a gift but feel awkward not doing so is a board book, though. Bonus if you can find one you remember from when you were a child and can write a note about how you loved it as a kid. Wrapped with a nice bow, the whole thing is under $10, and if you need to mail it, they usually fit into the USPS flat rate envelopes which are super cheap.
Post # 16
I say skip it and no gift. It’s a recession and people are understanding. What can someone expect from a person they barely know??!!