As a baby-crazy mom of four, my mom has been eagerly awaiting the birth of her first grandchild pretty much since my siblings and I were born. After an impatient wait for her kids to grow up, meet partners they wanted to start families with, and get their careers on track, she was thrilled to find out that her first two grandchildren are on the way. Now that the weeks have passed and she has the parents-to-be’s blessing to share the news, my mom is all about her friends’ idea of having a party in honor of her promotion from mom to grandma. That’s right, she wants a grandma shower.
From sip-and-see parties to baby showers and second baby “sprinkles,” there’s a variety of popular ways to honor your little bundle’s impending arrival. But a new celebration that’s gaining popularity is a nontraditional shower that celebrates grandmas-to-be.
These showers typically happen before the birth of the first grandchild, and the idea is for friends or coworkers to celebrate a new grandma separately from her daughter or daughter-in-law, who usually will not attend unless she lives locally or wants to celebrate with all of her mom’s or mother-in-law’s closest friends. As grandma showers slowly take over social media, more and more women are coming across the idea and taking turns planning these thoughtful gatherings for the soon-to-be grandmothers in their own lives.
However, not everyone loves the idea, and you have to be sensitive to family dynamics before planning one. Most grandmothers don’t want to come across as taking attention away from the mom, asking for additional gifts from friends, or trying to control the pre-baby festivities. Yet, according to writer Susan Adcox, even though celebrations specifically for grandmas-to-be can be a bit divisive, this trend is here to stay.
“The more modern and flexible etiquette experts say that grandmother showers are here to stay and are inoffensive if given by a truly close group of friends and if the emphasis is kept on the celebration rather than on gift-giving,” this experienced grandma wrote for The Spruce.
As more women host showers in honor of their friends who are being given the coveted new title of grandma, the idea is gaining traction because it’s actually more practical than it might seem. Even Amy Roloff of Little People, Big World went viral for her grandma shower that her friends hosted before the birth of her first two grandchildren.
When my mom’s friends first brought up the idea of hosting a party for her, she thought it was more of a joke. However, the more she thought about it, and the more they insisted, the more the small celebration started to make sense.
The idea was met with mixed reactions within our family, so she decided to stick to only traditional baby showers for now. Although some might think this idea takes attention away from the mom-to-be, that’s simply not the intention of this new trend. My mom loves the idea of her friends’ partaking in her joy, and there are a few reasons why it’s actually a fabulous idea.
1) A grandma shower isn’t replacing a mom-to-be’s party — it’s just another reason to celebrate.
Grandmas who are into this idea aren’t just trying to upstage or overshadow their pregnant daughters or daughters-in-law. This is an additional gathering of people who love that unborn child and want to take part in Grandma’s joy before she bursts with anticipation. Life’s too short not to celebrate, and just like a pregnant mom’s friends want to honor this exciting moment in her life, so do the older generation of women who are about to welcome a new grandma into the club. Plus, nothing is more worthy of multiple celebrations than a new baby!
2) She needs some new gear too.
My mom plans to be very hands-on and will be helping her grandbabies’ working parents out with childcare. That means she wants a “nursery” of her own and some extra gear. Although grandparents who plan to help with childcare don’t necessarily need to set up their own baby registries or purchase duplicates of everything, a grandparent shower can be a fun way for close friends to help excited grandmas and grandpas get the essentials ready for daycare or date-night duty.
3) She’s been looking forward to this moment longer than anyone else.
The only people who can truly comprehend the scope of a grandparent’s pure joy are those who are grandparents themselves or who desperately want a grandchild of their own. My mom is finally getting to join her group of friends who understand the happiness of being a grandma, and these women are just as excited for my mom as they are for the moms-to-be, because they understand not only how much she wanted this baby, but also how amazing it is when these little ones are here.
4) Just like new moms, new grandmas are entering a new stage in life.
This means she can benefit from the advice and experience of pals who are already grandparents and have been through it all. These tips are different than those given to new moms (ahem, like how not to overstep boundaries and learn what your role is as a grandma). The grandmas club can offer a wealth of knowledge that’s unique to these women, and there’s nothing wrong with their wanting to celebrate each other’s excitement while helping a new grandma prepare.
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