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Baby shower

Newimprvmodel's picture

Here's the background. My son and DIL are having a baby in the fall. They live several hours away. Baby shower will be this summer and strangely my DIL seems to be the party planner for it. She says she has friends there she is organizing with and plans on it being outdoors at a park. Honestly I would have been very happy to split the costs with her mother and even my ex. I told her this and she ignored and is forging ahead. I love to cook and bake and told her that I am at her service. I will be happy to cater it all. It's small maybe 30 people?  Ok.  I told her we should have a group chat to discuss and plan. And was this crazy but I told her she could reach out to my ex's new wife to include her. 
So within a few hours of that my daughter who is close with her SM, my ex's wife (imagine that right) texts me that her SM is complaining that this shower is out of control and all she wanted to bring was a party favor. I was surprised because I thought she would want more engagement. 
So I texted SM that I had the time and desire to plan this and any contribution she and my ex provided would be great. I have not heard back. 
I think now I should just work with my DIL and her mother. Was I wrong to think to include the SM?  

MorningMia's picture

You have a generous heart. And DIL wants to be in control, which is her prerogative. At this point, I might think about texting or calling DIL and SM and apologizing, explaining that you are excited about the shower and hoped you could help, but you didn't mean to "interfere."  Let them know you're stepping back and are available should DIL need anything. Put on your happy voice. And deep breaths!  *Also, because you live several hours away, it makes sense that those in on the planning would live nearby.  (sorry)  
Go and enjoy the shower!!!

Newimprvmodel's picture

I had told her I would only make or buy what she wants. She and friends have it planned. She wants me to make the cake and desserts. She has already forwarded me exactly what she wants done. And to provide or buy gifts for the shower games?  
It's amazing all the toes that you can step on with this. My daughter got miffed because DIL said she and her friends had it all planned. 
On another front. You know DH and his wayward kids.  Anyway we are headed past his daughter's home this summer. However we will have our dog who is small and non shedding. I told DH he could have the dog stay at her house for the night and we stay at a hotel. This trip is a few months away. I was shocked that DH raised this with his D. But not shocked at her response. Oh she has to confer with her H. Which she does yes but she had dogs who passed and she has large yard. I just thought it was telling that it's not "sure we'd love to see you."She has not seen him in a year or been to our home in over 2 years and it's only a few hours between us. 

ESMOD's picture

IMHO.. yes.. you were wrong to speak on behalf of your EX and his wife.  If they wanted to do anything.. or nothing regarding the shower.. that was their choice.  You have figured out a way to somehow put them on the spot with your son's new wife.. and now you are seeing it is stiring up drama you did not intend.

I believe that typically showers are hosted by non-related people.. hosting your own shower.. isn't as much "the thing" with ettiquette.. but then again.. we don't follow things that closely.  In any case. your DIL was welcome to talk about her plans to you.. and you offering up your help was fine.  You were also fine if you wanted to let her know that including your EX and his wife in the invitation list.. but to suggest to DIL that she should get them involved in this "small 30 person party).. was probably not great advice.

Look.. 30 people.. she and her friends should be well capable of hosting a little todo.... if you want to offer up some food to be included.. that's fine.  It's not like it has to be some huge elaborate party.. and the more people involved in planning and participating.. it was getting out of hand.  

And.. you don't know what her feelings are about being a step grandma.. she may have zero interest in being a GiGI Gammy.. whatever..   I absolutely had zero interest in being grandma to my SD's kids.. I don't have kids of my own.. I do get along well with my SDs.. but don't want to be in a grandmother role.. I did my time helping them get raised to adulthood.  

And.. you know what?.. that's fine.. I don't have to love babies.. I don't have to babysit.. knit booties and bake cookies.. I can be my husband's wife.. and that's enough... it doesn't make me a bad person if I am not a fan of living a kid centric life.

But.. again.. in this case.. it comes off that you offered up that your EX and his wife should contribute to this party.. that wasn't your place to do that.. sorry.. but you can't speak for them and what they will or won't do.. 

Newimprvmodel's picture

I came at it from a place to include them rather than exclude. I am not someone known to run people over and I had discussed on phone with ex's wife about the shower a few weeks ago and she was in. Meaning she wanted to be included. I guess she doesn't want much involvement after all. 

ESMOD's picture

I do get that your intention was good.. but include to her may have meant "invited".. not baking cupcakes or forking out cash.  Your DIL may also be winding this up into a big production.. and your Ex's wife may not be up for having to support all of that. 

I would backpedal a bit.. that you of course wanted them invited.. but it wasn't your place to suggest they should be asked to donate time or resources and that wasn't your intention.

Cover1W's picture

You are coming at it nicely, but really, if she lets you know, and is gracious about saying it, that she doesn't need / want the help then go ahead and back off. It may not be a slight - she may enjoy doing these things. For my first marriage my (now ex) the fiance and I did all the planning and decisions. My mother really, really wanted a LOT of involvement but I didn't need or want it. But she wouldn't back off and it created resentment on both sides. If she had just said, ok, great, let me know if you need anything, that would have been great, but she just kept on. You may like doing things for people but not all people actually want that.

ImperfectlyPerfect's picture

Less is more @Newimprvmodel. I learned this lesson early on when I took on a wedding shower. The likelihood of you being painted in a positive light is very low no matter the good intentions...I am just being realistic. Keep us posted - if things go great I will be so happy for you ! However, if things don't this is a perfect forum to learn from and to share your experience. My lesson after all these years is: Less is More. Hugs to you. 

Newimprvmodel's picture

And she is thinking same as me. We will take our cues DIL. DIL says she herself is someone who feels she has to  do everything. Our concern is that when she is 8 months pregnant she might be feeling very differently. She had been planning on cooking everything for the party!  She knows that SM and I will take our orders from her. To do nothing or whatever. She has already told me what desserts wants including flavors. 

ImperfectlyPerfect's picture

That's an excellent plan - take your cues and do your best to comply. Stepmom knows she is an easy target so she's right on to just want to do something real simple that can't get misconstrued or put her in a bad light. Same for you, you're love, generosity and energy is amazing just wade through the swamp very carefully. 

Rags's picture

Not wrong at all.

Who knows what crawled up SM's butt on this?

Don't sweat her and focus on celebrating your son's new baby with SIL and her mom, etc....

ESMOD's picture

I think some of it is that things get lost in translation.  The below is an example.. of the kind of thing that can happen.. not saying THIS is exactly what happened.

OP talks to DIL.. wants to be inclusive of her Ex's new wife... suggests DIL include her..

DIL approaches SM and says.. "Oh.. BM said you should pitch in for the baby shower... we can use money.. or you can bring the refreshments.. drinks and organize some of the party games. pay for flowers and could you give elderly aunt may a ride there.. and help decorated"

BM... smiles thinly to DIL and then vents to someone else that she is feeling roped into all the shower shenanigans.. and she just isn't up for all that much. and secretly feels ambushed to an extent by her DH's ex.

OP then hears that BM thinks it's too involved (which it may well be).. and doesn't want to get all that involved in it all.. with people.. some of whom may not have always been super nice to her. but takes it as BM wants "nothing  or little to do with the baby".. and why.. since she was so nice to suggest her being included.. 

there are people talking to people.. talking to people.. and it can get complicated.. and the SM may be smart to only want to be very peripherally involved.. because SMs tend to get the proverbial head cut off when they stick out their necks.


Rags's picture

The whisper in an ear then pass it down the line game. Nothing makes it even one step without translation bias jumping in.

Yep, who knows what was lost in communication/translation and where it was lost.

For sure if we were in this situation and DW was advising a DIL to include the Spermidiot's flavor of the moment, it would go over like a fart in church even if it was clearly and accurately communicated.

Thanks for the adjustment.  I tend to keep my comments at the surface. Not always the best way to go. Now you are making me wayyyy over think.