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Do I give up on being helpful?


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I'm growing frustrated with one of my friends Kelly. We're really close and text all the time. She's having a baby soon, so a baby shower is in the works. 

Now some back story. Kelly and I have a friend Diane. Diane and Kelly have been friends since high school. Kelly's mom died due to covid, and it was sad, so Diane and I threw Kelly her bridal shower. I felt it was only right to do. Diane,the Maid of Honor was really distracted, unorganized, and a terrible communicator throughout the process of throwing the shower. 

The day of, Diane busted her butt, but she was just a really unreliable maid of honor. Even Kelly, the bride was let down at Diane's lack of thought, effort, planning, and reliability with all the wedding stuff. Kelly said she wished she had chosen me as maid of honor. I didnt care or expect that. I know that she and Diane have been friends longer. I ended up doing most of the coordinating with the other bridesmaids and was more organized. Diane even wrote her maid of honor speech in the morning while we got ready. No effort at all. 

Kelly was talking like she'd never let Diane plan anything again and Kelly's husband isn't too fond of Diane after the wedding stuff. 

So Kelly is now pregnant.  I immediately offer to throw her a bridal shower. Kelly has no money and is very poor. I don't mind throwing it for her. Her mother isnt here. All I asked of her is that she tell me a theme or color that she wants. 

Kelly, now is being very annoying, so I wanted some advice- should I step down from this?

Kelly can't commit to a theme, decor, a color, or anything, even though she knows she's having a boy. She wants to control everything. But wants others to throw it for her. 

I just don't like that. It's like she wants to throw it herself, but wants others to pay, because she can't afford it. 

Her dad has access to a really nice venue for free that we could use, and she keeps pondering saying she doesn't want it there. Well, since I'm not even really planning it, then I'm not paying for her expensive dream venue. 

Then she says how she wants me, her sister in law and Diane involved. I'm like DIANE? Who was so terrible throughout your wedding as maid of honor? Why she's even considering Diane is beyond me. 

So far, I've been the only person who outright offered to throw the whole event. She wants everyone to pay for a party she is planning for herself. 

I feel that she should pay for it herself.  

Should I back down and just go as a guest? I'm leaning that way. 

 

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Posted (edited)

I didn't have or want a baby shower and I find them incredibly boring so I would do a barebones shower -not at the free venue as she doesn't want that.  Find a friend with a house or a house or a private room at a local deli or casual restaurant.  and no theme or colors or anything like that.  Have it be from 2 to 4 so offer snack type stuff and cupcakes or cake.  Open gifts, and have each person share baby/mom/parenting tips.  Take selfies and photos.  Limit to under 20 people.  If Diane/SIL want something different ask what you owe as far as $ and pay.  The end. It's not helpful of you to be involved if you have this much resentment.  To be helpful state politely "this is what I can afford to do and here are my suggestions." Do not comment on what others are doing/should be doing or any nonsense about themes or colors or decor - where is it written that any of these things are necessary for people getting together to give gifts to an expectant mother. 

I attended a zoom shower at work a few weeks ago. I'd sent a gift.  She opened the gifts over zoom .  It lasted 15 minutes.  She was delightfully appreciative and happy and lighthearted.  It was a pleasure to watch her and I was glad she liked my gift (Sandra Boynton board books).  Then for those in the office there were cupcakes.  Great shower and great also because it was short!

Edited by Batya33
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I agree with Batya. 

Keep it low key. You don't have to back out entirely, maybe just say "I'll take care of X" and let her recruit or whatever she wants to do for the rest. Honestly I've never heard of just one person doing everything, it's too much. 

It's nuts to me though that someone has their fingers in their baby shower, as I've always known them to be a gift friends and fam give to the mom to be. Some people get silly now with registries and expecting this big thing. 

I'd also, from experience!, take a few steps back here. If she's putting herself in a situation where she can't afford for a baby, she's likely to lean in hard on expecting more than is reasonable once the baby is here too. Establish boundaries now. 

 

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Posted (edited)
3 minutes ago, itsallgrand said:

I agree with Batya. 

Keep it low key. You don't have to back out entirely, maybe just say "I'll take care of X" and let her recruit or whatever she wants to do for the rest. Honestly I've never heard of just one person doing everything, it's too much. 

It's nuts to me though that someone has their fingers in their baby shower, as I've always known them to be a gift friends and fam give to the mom to be. Some people get silly now with registries and expecting this big thing. 

I'd also, from experience!, take a few steps back here. If she's putting herself in a situation where she can't afford for a baby, she's likely to lean in hard on expecting more than is reasonable once the baby is here too. Establish boundaries now. 

 

I appreciate this -I didn't know that the mom doesn't help plan her own shower -I mean it makes sense of course but I didn't know to that degree.  I like the idea of taking part by contributing [fill in the blank].  

I know this is a bit off topic but also consider being helpful in other ways. For me what was most helpful pre-baby was my friend who came over when I was in my 38th week and scrubbed my floor. 

And the friend who came over when he was around two weeks old and my husband had a business trip and brought over a pizza. 

The friend who took my call at midnight her time (3am!!) because I was scared to let him sleep in the car seat unless I was also awake (my fear was well-founded and it was great to hear a friendly voice!) and the friend who brought over her glider rocking chair to the apartment we temporarily moved to when he was 3 months old. 

I loved the gifts (we had a post-birth naming ceremony in a nondescript large room and served a light brunch) and so appreciated them - but --- what I wrote above was by far the most helpful.  Consider being helpful in that way - the look of the shower as far as color/theme/decor will go poof once it's all over but if you come over let's say as I did with certain friends and say "ok I got this -now go shower!!" that shower means more than any baby shower.

Edited by Batya33
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In my experience,  the mother of the pregnant woman typically plans the shower, bridal and baby shower. And it is typically the one person. Thus, I offered to have it, since her mother is absent. It's too complicated when many women get involved, everyone has different ideas. 

I can't find a room or a deli or anything. My friend the pregnant one wants it her way, but we pay. Usually in my experience,  if someone offers to throw it- they have say over venue, decor, food, so they pay it. But I don't feel it fair for her to pick everything, and have us minions doing it all and paying. 

Typically the pregnant woman only decides the theme or color. Like recently I went to one that had a Safari animal baby theme. The mom threw it for pregnant daughter. It was cute. Then the pregnant one just shows up. That's how I've always seen it go on. 

 

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So - the theme/color most typically is one of among a handful of typical ones yes? When I've been involved more than one woman has been involved -I think.  Been so long! 

So I would not "bow out" just state it positively -how about "I see that K wants to do this differently and sees my role as more of implementing what she wants and handling the financial aspects. Based on the type of event she wants I can afford to chip in ___dollars.  I also am happy to come early and help set up and stay after and help clean up.  And, if there are any logistical issues with ordering the food/booking the room/purchasing the decorations I'm happy to make phone calls/send emails etc - just let me know.  I trust that what I've offered will be helpful."

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37 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

So - the theme/color most typically is one of among a handful of typical ones yes? When I've been involved more than one woman has been involved -I think.  Been so long! 

So I would not "bow out" just state it positively -how about "I see that K wants to do this differently and sees my role as more of implementing what she wants and handling the financial aspects. Based on the type of event she wants I can afford to chip in ___dollars.  I also am happy to come early and help set up and stay after and help clean up.  And, if there are any logistical issues with ordering the food/booking the room/purchasing the decorations I'm happy to make phone calls/send emails etc - just let me know.  I trust that what I've offered will be helpful."

But that there. Why should I give anything financially. I'm not throwing the shower at all, the mom to be is essentially throwing it for herself. 

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Different ways of doing showers I guess! I've only ever been involved in ones where it's a community of women helping make it happen. Someone brings a cake. Someone does venue. Someone brings drinks. Etc. Makes it more manageable on the wallets and people can chip in based on skills or talents. 

I'd let her pay and control it then. Just pick one thing to contribute and leave it at that. No point stressing. You offered, she wants something else, ok! Of course you won't be paying for the thing though. 

 

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Posted (edited)

I think the best thing to do is to try not to take on other people's problems and get too involved in them. It's really nice that you offered to throw the baby shower for Kelly but since she can't decide on anything she wants to have at the baby shower, maybe just say to her she can plan it if she wants.

I don't think it's fair though to say that you'll throw her a baby shower, which is a kind gesture, but then say "she wants to control everything". It's actually HER baby shower, it's not yours. As you mentioned, often the mother/parents of the woman will pay and/or help plan the baby shower. I know sometimes parents can start to take over and do what they want, but you are not even her parents or family.

You knew Kelly was poor but you offered to throw the baby shower. Was this in hopes it would all be to your taste? Doing this is meant to be a kind gesture, a gift if you like. If you don't want to do it then simply don't offer. This was actually your idea, Kelly didn't ask you to do it.

Kelly is obviously good friends with Diane so that's why she wants her there. When someone is having a hens night, baby shower, wedding, Birthday, etc., it's about THEM. It's not about you. I think it's normal Kelly wants to choose things. I understand your point about the venue so maybe you could just say to her that unfortunately you can't afford to pay for that venue. As to in regards to what decorations or food she wants, as long as she's trying to stay within a reasonable budget then it's her choice. 

I've noticed in your posts, you've written a few things like: "I was such a good friend, I planned such and such's hens, I gave wedding gifts, I was really nice, I was there, I offered to do XYZ". Yes that's nice of you but it's also part of being a friend.

You seem to feel resentful that you did all this or something? Remember you always have a choice. You don't have to do anything if you don't want to. When you do nice things, do it out if kindness. Don't do it to get some kind of gold medal, get praise, be considered a better friend than someone else. The main reason to do nice things is to be nice. You shouldn't make it all about you.

Edited by Tinydance
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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Alex39 said:

In my experience,  the mother of the pregnant woman typically plans the shower, bridal and baby shower. And it is typically the one person. Thus, I offered to have it, since her mother is absent. It's too complicated when many women get involved, everyone has different ideas. 

I can't find a room or a deli or anything. My friend the pregnant one wants it her way, but we pay. Usually in my experience,  if someone offers to throw it- they have say over venue, decor, food, so they pay it. But I don't feel it fair for her to pick everything, and have us minions doing it all and paying. 

Typically the pregnant woman only decides the theme or color. Like recently I went to one that had a Safari animal baby theme. The mom threw it for pregnant daughter. It was cute. Then the pregnant one just shows up. That's how I've always seen it go on. 

 

So why offer? If you want to choose everything then why don't you just call it "Alex's Baby Shower?" Also how do you know what "typically" happens at a baby shower? People will do different things, every baby shower isn't exactly the same as every other baby shower. If you can't afford something simply be honest and say that. But I think that's still no reason not to be able to accommodate what the pregnant friend wants. For example, finding things she wanted in a thrift store or trying to make them yourself. 

You want to think you're such a caring person but if you cared you'd want to make this a special and happy day for your friend and see what you can do to help her have things she wants. If you don't like that then don't do the baby shower. It sounds like you only wanted to do it because you thought it was going to be all that you want.

Edited by Tinydance
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I guess I just have a perceived notion that most baby showers have an air of surprise. I offered to throw it, I asked what she'd like there, such as a theme/colors, types of food, so I got her vibe. Then you typically leave it to that person to plan it and you show up. I would make it what she wants if she told me. I didnt expect her not to invite Diane, more surprised she'd have Diane help. Diane even forgot to send invitations for her bridal shower and some guests didn't get invited. Her planning was bad and Kelly was disappointed.  I think I'm taking this hard, because I throw lots of parties, and have a lot of experience,  so I offered. Doing this is me being kind and caring since her mother is no longer here. I know what makes a good party. 

I think I'm hurt, because I feel Kelly doesn't trust me to do it. I mean she'll be about 7 months along -who wants to be hanging decorations and putting out food at 7 months along? I've never had a pregnant friend want to plan and control their own baby shower. It's a shower for other people to shower you. I find it odd- throwing it for yourself. But hurt that she doesn't trust I'd make it nice. 

I also find it rude to plan every little detail yourself, then make us pay like we're hosting it, when we aren't.  I'll just come and bring a gift like every other guest then. 

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Posted (edited)

My baby shower was at my mom’s house 🤷🏻‍♀️ Most people I know have them at home and have some finger foods etc. We also have the shower AFTER the baby is born so you can  see who you are getting a gift for. 

Edited by Seraphim
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50 minutes ago, Alex39 said:

I guess I just have a perceived notion that most baby showers have an air of surprise. I offered to throw it, I asked what she'd like there, such as a theme/colors, types of food, so I got her vibe. Then you typically leave it to that person to plan it and you show up. I would make it what she wants if she told me. I didnt expect her not to invite Diane, more surprised she'd have Diane help. Diane even forgot to send invitations for her bridal shower and some guests didn't get invited. Her planning was bad and Kelly was disappointed.  I think I'm taking this hard, because I throw lots of parties, and have a lot of experience,  so I offered. Doing this is me being kind and caring since her mother is no longer here. I know what makes a good party. 

I think I'm hurt, because I feel Kelly doesn't trust me to do it. I mean she'll be about 7 months along -who wants to be hanging decorations and putting out food at 7 months along? I've never had a pregnant friend want to plan and control their own baby shower. It's a shower for other people to shower you. I find it odd- throwing it for yourself. But hurt that she doesn't trust I'd make it nice. 

I also find it rude to plan every little detail yourself, then make us pay like we're hosting it, when we aren't.  I'll just come and bring a gift like every other guest then. 

Well I think you mentioned Kelly is married? If it's meant to be a surprise then can't her husband pay for some things? I know you said Kelly is poor but she's having a baby. Obviously she perceived herself as having enough money to actually raise a child? I think if the money is a concern then you could ask Kelly's husband and the other friends to chip in and see what they say.

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We dont have a baby shower here. We just bring presents after the baby was born when its convinient with parents. But I did have bachelor and bahellorete party with similar undertones. Where we as guests paid and bride and groom were just invited. Its a Hell to organize. Even for us guys because you need to meet up and have a deal that everyone agree(easier in digital age) and then organize all. For girls, Ive heard, it was even worst. 100 Viber messages a day worst. They wanted Greek pillars, venue outside of town, everyone but bride to wear white etc. 

Anyway, if she wants to be involved herself and organize, let her. You just bow out and pay what they ask you to cheep in at the end. You offered nicely, but dont let her coax you into something you dont like. 

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6 minutes ago, Wiseman2 said:

You're overinvolved as it is.

I agree.

OP, you're getting in your own way here and it's digging up pre-existing resentments (as outlined in your other current thread about these friends)

Offer to help with a task or two, but there is absolutely no need for you to take over the entire event. The mom-to-be doesn't seem to want you to do so anyway. 

Take a step back. 

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Posted (edited)

We do have baby showers in Australia but I think they're not super common. Some people have them and some don't. I've been to some but I wasn't best friends with the people having them so I didn't help plan them.

I'm not really sure how exactly you have to plan or run them but I imagine it can be an agreement between the people planning and the parent(s) to be.

I also love planning parties so I'm just imagining if it was me planning, I'd also probably prefer to have it at someone's house or if in warm weather have it in a nice park or something. I'd get decorations and foods the person liked but I wouldn't spend a lot on them. You can buy nice decorations even at the supermarket, thrift store or those cheap "two dollar" stores. Really even just some balloons and bunting is still nice. You can also make some foods rather than buying them, e.g. make a cake.

I think it's OK to ask the guests to bring a plate to share. They can bring anything they want so they don't have to spend much if they don't want to. Or you can ask them to chip in a small amount towards the costs of the event. Even if everyone gives just a bit, the money would still add up.

I actually don't think that the person organising it has to pay for the whole thing. If it's a surprise mainly for the pregnant woman, I think it's reasonable to ask her husband and some close friends and family to also either contribute money, or to contribute food, decorations, a gift, things like that. The idea is for Kelly to have a special day. Special doesn't have to equal expensive. You can still get creative with how you do it.

It's OK to be honest and say what your budget is or that you can't afford another venue.

I think if you decide to continue throwing the baby shower then you need to just be tolerant of the situation and do your best with it. You offered to do it so I think you either step up and do it or just apologise and say that unfortunately you realised that financially and time wise you can't do it.

I don't think it's fair after you actually offered to be acting like you're really being put out by it and everything is annoying you. This was actually your idea so I think either own it or don't, but you follow through with your decision.

Edited by Tinydance
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10 hours ago, Alex39 said:

But that there. Why should I give anything financially. I'm not throwing the shower at all, the mom to be is essentially throwing it for herself. 

Because I've contributed to parties even where I didn't do the planning or have any part in it just like I've chipped in for birthday dinners at restaurants or where someone hosted at her home - I'd bring a dish or give $, etc.

And I agree with Itsallgrand that maybe in your experience it's the mom but I've also seen a group of women plan and participate in giving the shower.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Alex39 said:

I think I'm hurt, because I feel Kelly doesn't trust me to do it. I mean she'll be about 7 months along -who wants to be hanging decorations and putting out food at 7 months along? I've never had a pregnant friend want to plan and control their own baby shower. It's a shower for other people to shower you. I find it odd- throwing it for yourself. But hurt that she doesn't trust I'd make it nice. 

I also find it rude to plan every little detail yourself, then make us pay like we're hosting it, when we aren't.  I'll just come and bring a gift like every other guest then. 

I'd chip in for the party to honor your commitment and bring a smaller gift -you're getting in your own way -turning this into some emotional drama.  When it's your turn make all your perceived notions a reality - otherwise stay in your own lane. 

I helped plan a bachelorette evening once in 2002 - the groom was my main friend and he asked me to even though I wasn't close with the bride.  He paid for the dance club after (I guess drinks or fee to get in?? -he didn't come of course!). 

We met at a restaurant for tapas, then took a city bus across town to the club -we hijacked the bus lol as we were the only passengers -about 8 of us - the driver even took a photo with us! Then went out dancing and had a great time. 

But I share because I didn't know it but the woman who was helping me was financially in trouble- I did know she had some troubles but not the extent.  So she was upset with me for ordering a couple more expensive appetizers at the restaurant (we did not drink much at all).  She and I chipped in for the tapas.  My point is - you cannot please everyone, you can have all the perceived notions you want (my perception was we were ordering in a perfectly reasonable way -nothing outlandish -wasn't a particularly fancy place either) - and with this sort of party planning you cannot please everyone. 

Also think outside the box -just like when I was young no one would have dreamed of having a registry and outright asking for gifts perhaps this woman who lost her mother and is pregnant is going to buck the trend and throw her own shower - and since you are her friend, would it really pain you that much to support her perceived notion? It's less planning for  you, right?

Please stop being so over the top about this.  It's a party for a few hours.

Edited by Batya33
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14 hours ago, Tinydance said:

Well I think you mentioned Kelly is married? If it's meant to be a surprise then can't her husband pay for some things? I know you said Kelly is poor but she's having a baby. Obviously she perceived herself as having enough money to actually raise a child? I think if the money is a concern then you could ask Kelly's husband and the other friends to chip in and see what they say.

She and her husband are poor. Kelly wants a baby really bad, and I'm so happy she is getting her dream, but realistically they are in no way ready for the financial burden.  Kelly and he are married living in his childhood bedroom at his parents house. 

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9 hours ago, melancholy123 said:

What happened to the days of when a shower was a surprise?  Baby and wedding showers used to be surprises for the mom or bride to be.  Life was much simpler then.

Exactly, I was trying to do the traditional thing by throwing it for her. 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Alex39 said:

She and her husband are poor. Kelly wants a baby really bad, and I'm so happy she is getting her dream, but realistically they are in no way ready for the financial burden.  Kelly and he are married living in his childhood bedroom at his parents house. 

Well just in regards to the baby shower though, I don't think it needs to be expensive. Some people might even already have decorations at home. I think it's all about communication so just say to Kelly: "OK so do you still want me to do the baby shower for you, or do you want to do it?" If she says she wants you to do it, just say to her you have a certain budget and only so much you can spend. Ask if she's OK with people bringing a plate to share.

In my city we have some more expensive "party" stores or upper class department stores and we also have two dollar, bargain type shops. In my opinion decorations from the bargain shop basically look the same. I don't think you can tell the difference. Even with balloons, you could just get only one balloon that says "It's a boy" and just buy a pack of cheap blue balloons. 

Maybe Google "cheap baby shower" ideas. Also surely some of Kelly's other friends and family might like to help if you asked them? 

Not having much money for something like this isn't really a problem. For example, during the pandemic I made and sent care packs to my friends. I didn't spend that much on them. I just made things myself and put cards, stickers, made a collage, things like that. They thought it was really sweet and loved it but it didn't cost me much.

Edited by Tinydance
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1 hour ago, Alex39 said:

She and her husband are poor. Kelly wants a baby really bad, and I'm so happy she is getting her dream, but realistically they are in no way ready for the financial burden.  Kelly and he are married living in his childhood bedroom at his parents house. 

So is there a way diplomatically to suggest in lieu of a shower that you use the $ you budgeted as a gift card for them? Does she desperately want an actual party -seems to me the hundreds of dollars to throw this/feed everyone could be put to better use.......

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