It could be argued that the act of welcoming a baby is just as exciting for the entire family as it is for the new parents. Now, a new trend celebrates this enthusiasm: Baby showers with grandma as the guest of honor are on the rise. Just like a party for a mom-to-be, grandbaby showers typically have tongue-in-cheek games like pin the “No. 1 grandma” ribbon on the baby’s butt (Not to worry, it's just a poster.), along with the requisite diaper towers, theme cakes, and, of course, mountains of presents.
For those in favor of grandparent showers, the consensus is largely that it’s practical and logical, especially for family members who will be spending a lot of time taking care of the new addition. One reason for the rise of the get-togethers, according to pregnancy and parenting blog The Bump, is that more baby boomers are taking on the role of nanny to their grandchildren. Just like parents of infants, grandparents who intend to babysit a lot need all of the essentials for childcare, such as highchairs, strollers, and car seats. But along with the excitement over the soon-to-be-grandma gatherings come the detractors, with many calling it tacky and tasteless.
“I don’t think moms-to-be would be behind it either, if they knew that once their child was born, their sweet, sweet mother is going to turn into a know-it-all micromanager,” Maria Guido writes on Mommyish.com. “... If you’re pregnant, baby showers are pretty much the last time that anything is going to be all about you. Soon, baby will come into the world, and everyone is going to forget that you exist for a while. Step off, grandma. Right?”
Most of the mommy blogosphere seems to agree with Guido. “... This feels like my mother appropriating the birth of my child and making it her own or about her,” one woman expels on a post on EtiquetteHell.com (a site that compiles firsthand stories from people venting about offensive interactions). She also calls the activity in general “appallingly gimme-piggish” and “presumptuous.”
But while the most vocal opinions are of those in the anti-grandma-shower camp, a sweep of the Internet seems to indicate it’s a rather well liked and accepted idea. For example, there are thousands of Pinterest boards and pins with game and gift ideas, Etsy has hundreds of homemade wares for sale, including an “I Can’t Keep Calm My Daughter Is Pregnant," T-shirt, and various party stores and bakeries are selling grandma-to-be themed decorations and cakes.
But the backlash against grandma baby showers has sparked an even wider debate about whether registries and gift-giving for nearly every momentous occasion has gone too far. If a first Valentine's Day, three-month anniversary, and every other minor milestone warrant extravagant presents, then what makes graduations, birthdays, and having a child stand out as extra special?