When baby shower preparations become battlegrounds

Babies are beautiful, and so are most of the things that come with them, and that is why most people get excited at the prospect of their friends and relations getting a bundle of joy.  Baby showers have become one way through which friends and families are able to share in the excitement of the parents expecting a new child. As opposed to the past when it was just a few friends coming to see the baby a few days after birth or just a few days before birth, baby showers these days have become more elaborate!

We are talking about destination baby showers that are held in exotic places such as Mombasa and in pricey lodges such as those in Naivasha. Some parties are also held in expensive restaurants, rented villas, big hotels with sleepovers and so on. Those held in residential homes are also prepared in the best way possible with the best themes, props, decorations and enough food to feed a small country. As far as the gifts are concerned, it becomes an enviable affair as they range from expensive baby cots, chest of drawers, clothes, shopping vouchers, money and so on. Some women are lucky to have more than one baby showers from colleagues, family, Chama members, church members and friends.

When the final day comes, the owner of the party will think that it was only rainbows and unicorns during the preparations for her party. Unknown to her, there were vicious fights and the exchange of harsh words that saw people leaving the group altogether.

A lady once left a group I was a member of and when I hit her up for a side chat she told me that she had followed the conversation keenly and while she loved one of her best friends, she could just not afford it so she opted out. You see, she had been out of a job for some time and the figures being thrown around just failed to make sense to her, so instead of trying to change the minds of all members in the group, she opted out. She had been in another baby shower Whatsapp group that never tolerated any reductions and any amount floated was agreed upon regardless of the fact that the ladies came from different backgrounds.

No one likes to be barked at for whatever reason and more so if the person barking is a total stranger. Baby shower Whatsapp groups are usually teeming with barking admins that just rub members off the wrong way and retaliate with an equal force which turns the group into a free for all with verbal combat. Some members just opt to walk away reasoning that they cannot be taking stress from their work, family and class work only to face an unreasonable admin. Going to visit the baby later is better than having your dignity abused.

Some people will just make decisions for everyone else and you can be damned with yours. They will shout Ankara/kitenge themed dresses when you only have two weeks to the baby shower. Now some of the members may be waiting for their salary to get the materials and go see their tailors who can sometimes be so slippery and have a way of ruining peoples special days by not making their clothes in time. So this means that the girls need at least a month to come up with the expected themes. And while we are at it not everyone owns a dress in fuschia or dark indigo blues with blue heels.

In some cases, there are cartels within the group that makes decisions for everybody. Upon closer scrutiny, I discovered that the will decide on some clothes, menus and gifts because they either sell them or know someone who sells them. So baby showers for their friend are good, and if they can get an extra coin out of it the better. They are always there to push their agenda

So what do you do in the face of bickering women, a looming deadline, no funds and no gifts? How do you make progress above the din that most often becomes unbearable? Well here are some tips,

  • Let all decisions be made within the group. Do not just work with a small cartel within the group to make decisions.
  • Times are hard and you may have to make some compromises or sacrifices on contributions and other decisions
  • It doesn’t matter how close you are to the couple getting the baby or how long you have known them, do not lord it over everyone. Learn to give and take.
  • It is not about you but about the babies and their parents so do not join these groups and showers to just push an agenda
  • Although it is ok to voice a dissenting opinion, you should also not become the only one raining on the parade by shooting down every suggestion without offering any solution.
  • Remember people are different and you should strive to get everyone on board.

Once the baby shower is over please don’t tell the parents about the disagreements, let bygones be bygones.

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