Why Can't Parents Plan Their Own Baby Showers?

It's 2019. Is it time to get rid of the rule that says parents can't host their own baby shower?

pregnant woman on top of cake with presents
Photo: Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

Preparing for a new baby can be, in a word, stressful. That's why baby showers are such a nice moment to share some cake, good wishes, and, yes, gifts, with a parent a few weeks before Baby arrives.

Baby showers are traditionally hosted by the parent-to-be's friends or family, but what happens when you don't have a local BFF or your family is estranged or long-distance? Why can't new parents throw their own baby shower?

One mom-to-be took to Reddit to find out exactly why it's so taboo to throw your own baby shower when it's perfectly acceptable to host your own birthday party or wedding. "I see other women plan their own weddings for ages! Friends or family aren't doing all that work for them," wrote Reddit user Shabamboozaled. "Friends and family aren't hosting it either. These couples spend a fortune on one night and there is an expectation of gifts that matches the value of the cost of hosting you, there's a registry usually or cash donations. So why is this different for baby showers? Why, all of the sudden, is it 'tacky' to plan this event yourself?"

The expectant mama has a good point. New parents need stuff and people know they need stuff, just like newlyweds often need stuff. But hosting your own shower is often considered greedy by common etiquette standards. But the Redditor pointed out, "If throwing your own baby shower is considered gift-grabby then why isn't a wedding also considered gift-grabby?"

The mom-to-be wrote, "Husband and I wanted this baby so bad. I think it's weird to expect someone else to throw this "party" for us. And I think it's weird to accept the possibility of not having a party at all because you aren't supposed to throw it yourself."

Reddit came out in force with tips, suggestions, and advice for the mom-to-be, assuring her that those aren't the only two options. Popular suggestions included eschewing the traditional women-only, petit fours and pastels-style baby shower for more casual co-ed affairs. "In Australia, it's getting more and more common to have a 'babyQ'" explained user Farmgirlcitylife. "They're mixed instead of just female and they're basically just like a normal BBQ party but with the focus being on the baby/mum to be. The presents are smaller items (books/blankets/outfits/medical things like bath temp checkers etc)."

Some commenters suggested tossing etiquette to the wind. "It's 2019, do what you want! If you want to host your own shower, go for it! Most people don't follow the rules of etiquette anyway," wrote Reddit user Jubilance22.

Others suggested a change of lexicon might lessen the taboo. "It's in the name itself, 'shower' as in 'to shower' the mom-to-be with gifts," suggested commenter Seezyl. "I don't think it's tacky but I had a few people asking me 'is someone throwing you a shower' so I was thinking others would think it's tacky. I basically asked a friend to host it and offered to help with the expenses. You can maybe call it a "baby celebration" or just a celebration/gathering to see your friends before the new baby arrives. People will know it's a shower but you can avoid the actual name."

In the end, the OP decided to move forward with her shower—now calling it a celebration—and feel no shame. We're with you, mama, good for you!

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