Everyone loves a baby. For one, they’re adorable. They also tend to reaffirm one’s sense of purpose in this life. Even if you’re not yet a parent, or undecided about procreating, it’s nice to think about the continuation of the human race. So why have we allowed the modern day baby shower to become such an atrocity? Every mother and unborn baby deserves more from the very first celebration held in their honor. So let’s address the 10 ugliest truths about this ridiculous tradition before things get even more out of hand.
1. Everyone gets wasted except the guest of honor.
Unless you’re an addict in recovery (go you!) or someone who chooses to abstain from alcohol for some weird reason, navigating a social gathering stone cold sober sucks royally. Do you know what sucks even more? Being forced to play the role of reluctant teetotaler at an event at which you’re the guest of honor while your nearest and dearest down mimosas with abandon.
2. What used to be a great tradition has now become an expensive Hallmark holiday.
Historically, baby showers were held so that older parents suffering from Empty Nest Syndrome could pass along their gently used children’s toys, books, and clothes to soon-to-be moms. Today, of course, people are urged to create a baby gift registry. Registering is an odd concept in itself, because it completely strips the process of purchasing a gift of its thoughtful element. The thing that makes a baby registry yet more bizarre than those for weddings and housewarmings is that we have to ask friends and family members to spend money on a person who doesn’t even technically exist yet. Awkward.
3. Festive headpieces are humiliating.
After we force our pregnant guest of honor to open gifts that fail to surprise her since she’s registered for everything she receives, we then force her to wear a crown crafted out of discarded ribbons. This headpiece we construct from gift wrapping scraps is neither cute nor sweet. It’s humiliating.
4. Poop “games” are gross.
Changing diapers is one of those aspects of parenthood most people don’t want to address until the last possible minute. Unfortunately, one of the most popular baby shower games, Name That Poop, involves surveying faux dirty diapers and trying to guess which candy bar is melted within. Why not let your pregnant friend revel in poop-free denial just a little longer?
5. Moms don’t want fifty poorly decorated onesies.
At many showers, guests are encouraged to draw and/or write messages on plain white onesies for the almost-mom. The problem is that most of us can’t draw, so a large percentage of these DIY onesies are destined to live in the back of a dresser drawer, where they will trigger guilt each time our friend passes over them in favor of an awesome baby garment, like this one.
6. Moms don’t want fifty poorly decorated bibs, either.
Baby shower attendees are also often asked to decorate blank bibs. But any savvy Mom soon realizes that the store bought bib reading “these fools put my cape on backwards” are superior to any reminder that her friends aren’t all that clever, or artistic.
7. Name drawings are a scam.
A lot of couples start off refusing to reveal the name they’ve chosen for their unborn child. But we all know how hard it is to keep a secret for up to nine months, especially one with so much potential to bring joy to loved ones. By the third trimester, it’s not uncommon for women to share their top name picks with her besties and close relatives. So unless you’re in the inner circle, submitting your baby name guess is as futile as playing Blackjack with a known card counter.
8. Seeing grown women chug from baby bottles and sippy cups is terrifying.
When you reduce grown women to things like a chugging challenge, in which participants race to finish the juice, milk, or beer in their assigned bottle by sucking its rubber nipple, the scene is terrifying. I can assure you that we grow out of certain behaviors, like crawling and bottle feeding, for good reason.
9. Excluding males perpetuates the uneven distribution of childcare responsibilities.
Pregnancy is traditionally the result of a sperm-meets-egg situation. And yet, in most cases (except for the rare “Jack and Jill”), men are excluded from baby showers. Why not shout, “Thank, but not thank, baby daddy. I’ll shoulder most of the childcare related labor from now until forever.”
10. The stakes are raised in the event of (heaven forbid) a miscarriage.
The tragic reality is that a certain percentage of pregnancies do not end well, in which case a baby shower automatically transforms into a seedling of sad memories. Why cast yourself in that tragedy?