Dear DH’s extended family,

Stop inviting me to baby showers and bridal showers!  This is the third one this year.  And they’re always addressed to me, or rather, to my first name and DH’s lastname.  It wouldn’t bother me so much if they were addressed The DHslastname Family or DH and family or even DH and DH’s wife.  But no, it’s always just me on the address line.

I have to ask DH who you are.  Sometimes he can’t remember.  He has a lot of cousins and second cousins and third cousins.

I am not actually related to you.  I live a two days drive away.  I am not going to come to your event and you know that.  Especially when I get the invite the day before the event. The RSVP line on the invite is a joke.

If it’s a wedding, we probably won’t go to that either, but we’ll send you a gift if you invite us.  Us, being the family.  Because you are DH’s relative.  Not mine.  We’re not going to send anything for a bridal shower.

If you need money for the new baby, then the appropriate etiquette is to send an announcement to DH and his family after the baby is born.  Then we’ll send you a big Walmart giftcard so you can buy diapers or whatever.  But that’s because DH is related to you.  Not me.  Leave me alone.

I know that I’m privileged that I don’t need to be tapping every twig of the family tree in order to get basics for the baby.  But I’d still prefer it if you invited DH to the damn baby shower or bridal shower, and not me.  I don’t know you from Adam and I resent being asked for money from strangers.  I don’t resent it when you ask him because he’s your relative.  You are his problem, and our problem, but definitely not my problem.  (Addendum:  I’d feel more like getting something off your baby registry if it wasn’t full of things like $64 nightlights.)

And don’t get me started on being invited to faculty wives’ events.  #@$#$@#$#@$!!!

This has been a PSA tiny rant.

Do you get these kinds of invitations?  Do they annoy you?  Should I be annoyed?

63 Responses to “Dear DH’s extended family,”

  1. First Gen American Says:

    I get super annoyed when people register for very expensive things that I know they won’t use. Not that people need to register for cheap things, but at least register for something you may actually use someday. If you don’t cook ever, literally, ever…..do you really need luxury top end cookware that’s hundreds of dollars per item? I’d rather give you a bunch of restaurant gift cards or luxury sheets or something that I know will get some mileage.

    My practical side also hates those useless nick nacky things people put on their registry, but I just omit buying those items. I actually do cash most of the time even though its sort of generic.

    • rented life Says:

      I wish I had done nick-nacks on the wedding registry if it would have prevented other people from buying their idea of how I should decorate our home. Let’s just say goodwill got a huge donation from us that year. I love the idea of restaurant gift cards!

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        It wouldn’t have! Those folks weren’t going to do the registry no matter what you put on it.

      • rented life Says:

        Oh, I know. Some people even mentioned as much to us as if it were a point of pride. We had nothing to eat off of, but thanks for being so happy that you bought us something “different.”

  2. becca Says:

    With a baby shower, depending on the tradition they follow, they really don’t WANT DH. there. Are bridal showers the same? Anyway, they can’t even maintain the pretense it’s about an invitation, and not maximizing presents, if they address it to him. Or they risk him showing up someplace where his male presence will be weird. Of course, you might be getting late invites precisely because they know you won’t come, but then they realize they have a RIDICULOUS amount of cake, and if they invite enough tangential contacts, it will get eaten. It’s always *possible* they want your presence not your presents.
    However, this is only a quasi-valid excuse for such showers as do not have men present. If they invite YOU to weddings and NOT him, then THAT is bizarre.
    *Methinks* the many very excellent qualities of DH have blinded you to the fact that he *should* know who is who, and that keeping track of one’s relatives is emotional labor necessary for the house that he probably doesn’t realize he should be doing (especially seeing as they are his relatives). IBTP, not DH exactly.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      It’s fine if they only want women, though I still think that’s a ridiculous and sexist custom, but HELLO, I don’t know who these people are. I’ve never met them. They don’t even actually know my name. (This last one, a second cousin, not only used DH’s last name, which is not mine, but they misspelled it!) If women are going to be the ones who have to attend these things, then at least I should only be having to minister to my family, not both families while the men get off without having to do anything for either family.

      And no, they do not expect me to make a two day drive by myself for cake. They want gifts.

      Also, I have so many cousins that I forget some of them too. When you have 8 aunts and uncles on one side and each one of them had 5 kids, and then those kids have 5 kids (and now those kids are having kids) and you left the town when you were 15 (or, in my case, they’re scattered across the country– and I’m fine at the families that had 2 kids, just not so good at the families with 8 kids), then why on earth should you have to keep track of all your cousins and second cousins and third cousins? (He’s fine with his mom’s side where he only has 3 cousins and they each only have 1 kid so far.) I don’t really see how he’s supposed to keep track of these folks or why it’s important or necessary.

      • Debbie M Says:

        The sexism actually does bother me. Like men don’t care about babies? Or like whether you enjoy looking at cute little baby things is perfectly correlated to gender? Uh, no. All my parties are co-ed–you can decide for yourself if my stereotypically female or male theme is unappealing. Also, I invite people who live far away even though I know they can’t come–just in case I’m wrong. Maybe there’s a conference nearby the previous week? Let other people decide whether they can and want to come.

        That on top of inviting people they don’t know and, much worse (because strangers might enjoy meeting new people and looking at cute, tiny baby things), giving virtually no notice is not good. PSA tiny rant approved!

        I only have two cousins. Even when I had nine grandparents, it was still easy to know everybody. My boyfriend has more relatives, but since I’ve known him, he (and I) have only gotten invited to reunions. His favorite aunt and his sister keep track of everyone, so whoever does the inviting always contacts one of them for the information if they don’t know themselves.

    • chacha1 Says:

      I don’t see why it’s anybody’s responsibility to know exactly who everyone in the extended family is. We certainly don’t. We know the people who keep in touch with us. If they only get in touch when they want something, well … .

    • Rosa Says:

      Where I grew up, baby showers are for moms and kids. In my current social circles they are for all parents, and kids. Because people having babies, their friends often have kids, right? You can’t throw a kid-free party for all your parent friends and expect them to show up without some special draw. Same with family weddings – if you’re inviting all your family, you have to expect there to be children involved somewhere.

      Where my husband grew up, where many of his childhood friends and cousins and whatnots still live, apparently baby showers and weddings and reunions are where you go to hang out with no kids because grandma and grandpa are watching them. Because nobody lives more than 2 miles from their parents.

      I got caught this way THREE TIMES – one wedding, two baby showers – before i started just saying no to all invitations there unless they specified kids were allowed. Because I’m not driving to another state to go to your event AND finding a sitter.

  3. Leah Says:

    Agreed. Why invite folks you don’t know? Well, I know why. But it’s kind of rude.

    I don’t think people do baby announcements any more. Do they? My friends don’t (but they also forget to send thank yous for wedding presents). Anyway, I don’t do the shower thing unless I live right there, and I rarely send a present if I can’t go. I will, however, bring a nice present the first time I come visit your snuggly bundle. And maybe several times when I visit, if we’re good friends and your home doesn’t have enough board books.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Folks I know send email announcements. My sister’s fridge is covered with picture announcements. So some people still do announcements!

    • ana Says:

      We did photo announcements for both boys (though about 3-4 months late for the little one). But I never conceived of announcements being a prompt for gifts (nor did we get any). I view the shower invite as the prompt for gifts. We tend to give a gift if we get invited to a baby shower (though we haven’t received invites from distant random relatives, so I would probably have to draw the line… ) but I’ve never given a gift for a bridal shower unless I attended (since we’ll likely be invited to, and giving a gift for, the wedding in a month or so anyways).
      I had a baby shower for my first (actually I had several—first grand-child on both sides of the family, friends, co-workers). Most of the baby showers were co-ed. We also had a co-ed wedding shower thrown by his friends BUT I had a separate girls-only shower/bachelorette party thrown by my friends. I think women-only bridal showers (and men only bachelor parties) are still the norm. And I’ve been to many women-only baby showers. I’m thinking its somewhat related to regional/cultural traditions? And whether you view it as a celebration of the bride vs. wedding or the baby/family vs. the pregnancy? I guess its still sexist regardless of intention but I don’t see the harm…

    • rented life Says:

      I’ve gotten a few print baby announcements, no email announcements. We will sent print ones to closest family/friends, but only because they’ll want the pictures. I’ve never sent a gift in response, but I’ll take a gift when I visit.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I don’t send gifts to the email ones (they’re almost always professional friends), but I do for the print ones. Announcement or not, I give something for the baby to colleagues and also bring a casserole!

  4. Holly@ClubThrifty Says:

    My husband’s entire family lives in Minnesota (12 hours away) and we are basically subjected to the same thing. We get wedding invitations for third cousins, baby shower invites, and graduation announcements. We just send money or gift cards. But, my MIL thinks that we should come to every wedding at the very least so she might spend the rest of her life disappointed in us. Sigh.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I’m ok with weddings and can choose to go or not go, but the shower invites, wth (and if it were my family I wouldn’t mind so much, though I still think it’s silly, but it’s not).

      • Holly@ClubThrifty Says:

        I agree about the showers. But, maybe they have the misguided opinion that your feelings would be hurt if they “left you out.” Ha!
        The weddings do get on my nerves. This year, there were three (he has a large family!). If we went to them, as my MIL thinks we should, we would’ve spent thousands of dollars and a good deal or our vacation time to do so.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I don’t go to the weddings usually, but we do send gifts! Extended family doesn’t seem to mind. (We do go when it’s important, like when my cousin’s parents disowned him and the extended family stepped in to welcome the new bride.)

  5. Linda Says:

    Although I have a LOT of cousins on my father’s side, they tend to limit the invitations to me by only sending ones for events related to the first cousins and their children. I rarely send anything.

    I have a related tiny rant, though. My partner for the past 4 years has a very close-knit family who lives about three hours away. He visits his family at least once a month and I occasionally go with him. (Before we started dating he would drive there nearly every weekend.) The family consists of his brother, sister-in-law, two nieces (one single and one married) and his mother. (His father passed away last winter and it’s been very hard on them all.)

    His family has been very welcoming to me, but I’m not super close to them. I’m not really close to my own family and just don’t have that mind-set. Nonetheless, I’ve spent some time around holidays with them and been included in family events.

    The married niece is pregnant and due any day now. Back in July I got an invitation to her baby shower (yes, it was addressed just to me as is common in the Midwest; no issues with the last name since partner and I aren’t married). I was going to be out of town anyway, so I declined the invitation. I told partner that we needed to send a gift and looked at her registry which was very long and contained a lot of extras. She had nearly 100 people at this baby shower, so she was getting a lot of stuff.

    I asked partner to check with them about what she really needed next time he went back for a visit. Frankly, I was going to personally buy whatever it is since partner is currently unemployed and looking for a job and has very little disposable income. My approach to gift giving is to do something practical and necessary instead of useless junk that will get cycled through a garage sale in a few years, which is why I wanted him to find out what she needed from this long registry of stuff. Every time I reminded him of it, he said he’d ask, but he kept forgetting.

    So, a few weeks ago partner and I were talking over dinner one night and he said “L was complaining to my family during my last visit that we hadn’t given her a baby gift yet.” I was pissed. I think that is really poor manners. I said to him, “Does she realize you have very little income right now?” The thing is, she doesn’t really need anything. This is their first baby, yes, but the in-laws are showering her with gifts and money since it is their first grandchild and they are materially-focused. Ugh!

    He did finally follow up a few times to find out what she could use and ordered the gift himself.

    Am I being overly-sensitive here? I bought their *&%$ Christmas presents last year myself because of partner’s money situation and their expectation to exchange gifts every year. In my own family, we don’t even do that anymore. Ugh!

  6. EMH Says:

    I think you should ignore the invites. If the family gets upset, then create your own registry of things you need around the house and send them invites to your “X-years-married” shower.

    I am on the other side of this issue. My mom is throwing me a shower and the list of people she invited includes her manicurist! It is ridiculous. I told her a shower isn’t needed but she said she was going to do it whether or not I showed up. Oh, mothers. I looked at things to register for but it is overwhelming and really, all I need is something with four walls to house the baby when it is sleeping, a car seat, diapers and some clothes and blankets/wraps. I checked out a couple of stores and I was shocked at what they consider to be the “must-haves”. I think that is why people have showers and invite so many people. The stores make you believe you need all that stuff. No thank you.

    As for the last name, I never changed my last name and my mom will send me letters addressed to me with my husband’s last name. It drives me crazy. I obviously have some mother issues!

    • plantingourpennies Says:

      My mother told me she planned to host a virtual wedding shower for me (after we married, I eloped) and I said I would have no part in what looked like a tacky grab for gifts from people I barely know. If she wanted to hang out with her friends, fine. But leave me out of it.

    • Rosa Says:

      A friend of mine, whose mother lives very far away, her mom was being really weird and kind of hostile about the whole baby thing and trying to make my friend plan a shower and send invitations to her mom’s circle. Finally my friend said “Mom, you should have a shower where you live! With your friends!” And her mom did, and it made her really happy and cheerful and when she visited after the baby was born she brought all these nice gifts. Apparently she was just hurt by not getting to be the center of attention as the grandma or something.

  7. Liz Says:

    I come from a small family and just married into a huge close-knit Italian family, so I know what you mean about your spouse having cousins who he doesn’t even know that names of (which seemed crazy to me at first!).

    However, I also know many of my husband’s relatives (including those who have married into the family) would indeed be offended to NOT receive an invite to a shower, etc. I think generally people figure it is safer to air on the side of inviting people who maybe can’t or don’t want to attend than to offend people by not sending an invite. With my husband’s family, they are always particular about inviting a particular layer of family (so if cousins’ kids are invited to an event than ALL cousins’ kids must be invited regardless of where they live or whether they are likely to want to attend). Some will come and some won’t.

    Anyhow, your DH’s family may be gift-grabby, but it is likely that you are invited at least in part due to these sort of established family rules and their attempt to be inclusive. That being said, if I am invited to a random event, I don’t feel bad declining, sending a congratulatory card without a gift, and carrying on my way, so I really am never annoyed to receive an invite.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I would get that if they were inviting my husband, but I am not family!

      • karifur Says:

        I have to disagree with you on this point – since you are married to DH, you are most likely considered family now. My husband’s family consider me just as much a relative as he is, and I often receive invitations from them to baby showers and the like, though I generally decline, unless it’s one of his sisters.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I’d be more impressed with this argument if the last invite had spelled DH’s last name correctly.

        And this gets back to the whole patriarchy thing. Why do women have to go to these damn showers for BOTH sides of the family? And men don’t have to go to either.

      • Liz Says:

        I disagree with this part. I think many families, including mine and my husband’s family, have the mentality that once you are married in, you are family. So there would never be a formal event where we would invite sisters but not sisters-in-laws, or cousins but not the in-laws of cousins. Again, you are more likely to offend family members if you don’t invite them.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Again, I’d buy this argument more if the last invitation hadn’t come on Friday with the party that Saturday, when it’s a two *day* drive to the middle-of-nowhere town. And the, you know, spelling DH’s last name incorrectly.

        Granted, they may not realize that it takes 2 days to travel across half the country.

        Plus patriarchy. Either these events are wonderful things that men are missing out on or they are annoying obligations that only women have to do.

      • Liz Says:

        Sorry, I just essentially repeated what Karifur said above before seeing it.

        Sounds like your real dislike is the concept of these female only events more than anything, which is understandable. Just don’t send a gift and don’t let it bother you, its very possible people are just trying to be nice by including you. If they really are in it just for the gifts, if you stop sending gifts you might stop getting invites and solve your problem that way :).

        As an aside, I have a tricky-to-spell last name and if I assumed that every time I received an invite with my name mis-spelled it meant that the sender was less genuine about wanting me at their event, I wouldn’t have many friends left.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        DH does not have a difficult last name, and it’s the connecting family name (a sister in DH’s extended family somewhere up the chain is the connecting link). So if the reason is a close-knit family thing, then presumably they know how to spell the last name of that half of the family. I don’t expect say, my students to be able to spell DH’s last name, but if this is all about close family bonds and ties… well…

        And, of course, this isn’t my last name at all. But I allow for being called Mrs. Hislastname by his family– I don’t expect them to remember mine.

        This one we haven’t sent a gift to. We did for all the previous ones, but they were at least one or two cousin-lengths closer (took less time for DH to remember who the person was, and they spelled his name right even if they didn’t share it) and were sent out a month or so before the actual event (so I probably did give the benefit of the doubt more).

  8. karifur Says:

    I don’t know these people so I don’t know what their motives are, but just the sake of perspective, let me share my story with you.
    When were planning our wedding 16 years ago, we had a lengthy battle with our parents about who we should or should not invite to the wedding. We wanted it to be small, but both of my parents come from somewhat large families with many cousins. I don’t know all of these cousins, but do consider some of them to be fairly close. My mom had a few cousins who we saw more often than I saw some aunts and uncles on my dad’s side. I really wanted to invite those cousins, but my parents insisted if I invited THOSE cousins, I had to invite ALL the cousins, which would have probably doubled the size of the guest list. So I ended up not inviting any of my parents’ cousins at all, and then I felt extra sad when I learned later that my one of my mother’s cousins was really hurt at being excluded from the guest list.
    Granted, a wedding is not the same as a shower, but after the experience we had with our wedding guest list, I never wanted to go through that again so I vowed to always invite everyone to everything, even if I didn’t think they would be able to make it. My intention was never to make anyone feel obligated to give a gift, or even to show up to the event if they didn’t want to. I just wanted to be fair.
    This may or may not be the situation with your husband’s extended family, but I just thought it might help to see it from the other side of the issue. It might be that there are cousins’ wives living nearby who are closer with the family, and they just invite all of the cousins’ wives to be fair.
    My advice to you in those situations would be to politely decline with a note of congratulations, and no gift is necessary, not even a gift card. A gift should never be an obligatory response to an invitation.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I’m fine with being invited to weddings. But see, they also invite DH (their relative) to weddings. I am not their cousin. (Also, weddings have a purpose besides “showering” someone with gifts… you know, to see the couple married.)

      On top of that, people travel to go to weddings. People only travel to go to showers when they’re from the too-much-money class (and actually, say, know the bride), and generally not for baby showers.

  9. J Liedl Says:

    Our girls are going to get off easy. Neither of us have siblings with children. There are no cousins. His closest cousins have no children and my closest cousins (late-in-life offspring of my father’s youngest brother) aren’t yet parenting. Likely our two will go completely unnoticed in the rest of the scattered family once grand-parents, great-uncles and great-aunts pass away.

    That said, I’m with you on the annoyance of being invited where you, as an individual, aren’t wanted, simply what you can provide as a gift.

  10. rented life Says:

    I’m going to ask everyone to be a little easier on new parents doing a baby registry. We just did ours and that SUCKS. We aren’t people who obsessively researched every product–though based on the questions we were asked at the store, apparently we’re supposed to be? We’ve gotten a lot of “suggestions” about what to register for from friends, family, stores, etc., and it was hard to figure what’s a real need and what’s nonsense. Some things that people thought were nonsense, weren’t to us because of our lifestyle. And we did register for a few fun things (one toy in particular we really want, for example), but that’s because I know from shopping for these things that it’d be nice to have the option to buy something fun too, and we know from our wedding that people will buy shit we don’t “need” so if we could at least guide them….(We got TONS of Jesus sayings and fake fruit when we got married. I could have opened a fake fruit stand, seriously. Numerous picnic baskets. We did not get pots, pans, bedding, etc.) I get tired of buying socks, and other useful stuff for showers, I only do it because I notice how few people pay attention to the registry, everyone wants to get the fun stuff and not the necessary practical stuff. Anyway, it’s easy to assume people register for stuff they don’t need, without considering how confusing it is or how much “help” they had with it. Some people acted like you’d die if you didn’t get x,y, or z. And if your parents are like mine “well we didn’t have that when we had kids”–which was 32 years ago and the least helpful advice ever. You didn’t have it because it didn’t freaking exist. Sorry…still recovering.

    That said….all female showers are shit. I get two showers, and for one I have zero say in what happens. I’m not even sure they’ll respect what food I can’t eat (dr orders) or anything. It’ll be all women, it’s 3 hours from where I live (yes, I have to drive 3 hours for my own damn shower. I’m not happy) so I can’t invite anyone I want to and it’ll have the lame games, etc. I’ve thrown a few of these–at the other person’s request–but I’ve always found them dull. The other is a proper party, held in our home, (Halloween themed, which is so us) and is co-ed. Because it’s insulting to imply husband doesn’t care about a baby that’s half his. Some days he’s more invested than I am! We are seen as very progressive and original for having a co-ed shower (and we live on the East coast in a blue state). We are inviting tons of people to this, with drop in hours to accommodate work schedules (he’s in restaurant so we have a lot of people who might work that day/night). There will be people invited that I don’t know, but everyone invited will know at least me or him. I would never dream of inviting someone that we haven’t ever met. Family or not, you don’t invite people you’ve never met and you don’t invite people who have to travel more than an hour for a shower ever. I would never drive more than an hour one way to a shower unless it was a favorite family member or best friend. And even then, the invites should be in people’s hands about 3-4 weeks before the shower, not any later.

    I don’t get invited to anything on in-laws side, so I can’t speak to that specifically. I held a shower for one SIL once and she complained to others (which got back to me) about how I didn’t do enough–despite me doing it on a grad school budget with no help. The other SIL lives across the world. I send things when kids graduate from high school and that’s it. My brother’s not even dating, so no worries there and the only cousins that invite me to stuff are on mom’s side, and they are the ones that are hosting my far away shower with no menz. That side of the family expects women to do all the family things but men don’t have to and if I complain it’s all hell. The other side of the family–hell, those cousins could be married with tons of kids and I wouldn’t know.

  11. chacha1 Says:

    PSA tiny rant: I approve this message.

    I don’t get invitations like that anymore (at my age) and when I did, I didn’t send presents or go to the events. I don’t care who you are (relative or acquaintance), if we are not Good Friends or Close Family Who We See Regularly you are not getting my presents *or* my presence.

    Clearly yes, these invitations annoyed me and I support your annoyance. :-)

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      That’s a good point. It is actually a little creepy being invited to events (particularly events where people should know each other, like family events) by someone you have never even met. Chances are even if by some miracle of teleportation I went to said party, I would not know a single person. (DH’s mom noted that she gave this one a miss. I wonder if she got a misspelled invite too, or if it’s just too distant a connection even though they live in the same town. DH’s mom, also not directly related, come to think of it.)

  12. chacha1 Says:

    Oh and two more mini-rants to append to thine:

    Just because you marry into a family does not make you family. Loving each other makes you family. If inlaws and cousins and etc etc ad nauseum really don’t care about you, and show it by long years of not knowing your name, f**k ’em.

    “need to be tapping every twig of the family tree in order to get basics for the baby” if you have to shake the entire family tree to pay for your kid, you can’t afford kids. And if you’re shaking it just for the sake of shaking it, without regard to other peoples’ circumstances, you aren’t mature enough to raise a child.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Well… a portion of DH’s family doesn’t seem to believe in abortions and doesn’t seem to be able to master the art of birth control. I can’t blame them for not wanting to abort, and once the baby is conceived, there’s not much they can do (the not using bc was a sunk cost). And that’s not the baby’s fault, nor is having an immature parent the baby’s fault.

      • chacha1 Says:

        Of course, but it’s not YOUR fault either. I see a whole lot of enabling going on now when it comes to inadequate preparation for being parents. I did not see that kind of thing when I was 15-25.

        Not a fan of going back in time generally, and “traditional values” arguments make me break out in hives, but this whole “it takes a village” thing is, for the responsible and financially stable members of irresponsible and financially unstable families, a heavy load of crap.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I’m a big fan of government programs helping kids, personally. But in the absence of those…

  13. plantingourpennies Says:

    I think the female-only shower thing is fading out and seems very old fashioned. Most of the ones I’ve gone to have been co-ed casual gatherings, the female-only exception being a “high tea” that was organized and hosted by the MIL. My highly pregnant friend didn’t think it was an appropriate time to have a brawl with her MIL even though the party wasn’t what she would have chosen.

    As for invitations that seem ridiculous, my favorite was a former coworker that I (kindof) worked with for 9 months and barely knew. She invited me and all of the former colleagues to her wedding halfway across the country several years after she (and I) had both left this place of employment. It was clearly a gift grab. When that’s the case, I mail back a “no” RSVP and at an appropriate time send a card from the dollar store rack. I feel no need to send gifts to people that don’t actually care about my life and vice versa.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Yeah, my friends tend to have wine and cheese engagement parties and co-ed baby showers.

      Sadly my place of work has decided that we should start doing female-only things that include faculty and faculty wives… ack, don’t get me started.

  14. karifur Says:

    Maybe this is just a side-effect of my childhood as one of the put-upon non-popular kids but I guess I just don’t understand the annoyance at getting an invitation to an event. If it’s not an event I want to attend, I feel no guilt whatsoever about declining the inviation, but I’m never annoyed by the invitation itself. If I actually wanted to go, I probably would be annoyed at receiving the invitation too late for me to actually be able to attend and would probably passive-aggressively address that in my reply. However, if I didn’t want to go to the event anyway then I would just decline and let it go.
    Also, to address the misspelling of the name, my son has a pretty common name that has 2 spellings, and after 15 yearas my husband’s grandmother still misspells his name on greeting cards every time she sends one (Halloween, Easter, birthday, valentine’s…). However, our daughter’s name is NOT that common, but she gets that right every time. It is now a source of amusement for our little family everytime we get a card from Grandma.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Normally I would feel that way, but this is a different circumstance– imagine being invited to something in which everybody knows everybody else and you don’t know anybody (including the person of honor, who you didn’t know existed prior to the invitation), and on top of that, you’re invited in a way such that you couldn’t actually go (not without spending $500+ on a last minute plane ticket and then renting a car to drive two hours). On top of that, there’s an expectation that you will provide a gift to this person you’ve never met. If it were a party in which gifts were not expected, it would be odd, but there wouldn’t be annoyance. If they invited DH who actually has family ties and has probably met the person in question at some point in his life, it wouldn’t be annoying either.

  15. oilandgarlic Says:

    This is an explanation, not a defense, as I personally get bored at traditional baby showers with the lame games. Some people I know get very offended if they’re not invited to their in-law’s cousin’s baby shower etc.. because they feel like they’re being excluded from family events. This could be one of the reasons you get invites, simply because they’re trying to make you feel like part of the family (despite the latest of the invite…) I don’t care and would not get hurt if I wasn’t invited but apparently many people do get hurt at not being invited.

    Secondly, the event might not be co-ed for many reasons. I personally like non-coed if it’s close girlfriends and it’s a way to get together w/o certain boring spouses. Or I can also imagine this scenario: the husband who’d rather do anything else than spend 3+ hours of his life cooing over baby onesies! Imagine this conversation.

    Wife : Honey should I make the party co-ed so I can invite DH and his wife (whatever her name is..)
    Husband : Oh no, honey. I’m sure it will be more fun if it’s just the girls.
    Wife: I don’t know. DH is family and she just married in.
    Husband; Oh, women enjoy those things. She’ll be thrilled to be included.
    Wife: Are you sure DH and you don’t want to be there?
    Husband: Oh, I would love to, but most guys don’t and I really think it be more fun for you if it was just girlfriends and family.
    Wife; Okay.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      People who live 2 days away and have never met the person in question (in fact, don’t know the person in question exists) get offended? If I lived in the same town, or even the same state it might make sense. And something big and important like a wedding makes sense, but a shower is just a small party.

      Also, I’m not a close girlfriend! No need to invite me! I swear I’m just as dull as anyone else’s husband.

      • Debbie M Says:

        Okay, now I’m wondering if she was trying to get the right spelling, but no one would get back to her, so finally she just gave up and sent the invitation to you spelling it as best she could (at the last second). Because she doesn’t want to offend anyone–plan failed! Who knows who was egging her on? It sounds like maybe lots of plans fail in that family.

        In case it makes you feel better, I had a friend (actually, friend of a friend) who would send demands in her invitation. Like “you have plenty of warning, so you have no excuse not to show up in costume” or “here is my wish list so you have no excuse not to bring me a present.” I could never respond to those right away. I always had to vent and recover first. I liked dressing up and getting her presents, but yeesh!

        Now she has married my friend and I am dating her brother and we have become friends ourselves, so I’ve gotten used to this. Also, her husband is slowly socializing her. After fifteen years with him she’ll now say things like “[husband] says I have to tell you it’s okay to come even if you don’t have a costume.” Heh.

        As my mom says, remember that everyone is doing the best they can. Sometimes the best you can do still sucks. Especially when you’re drowning in pregnancy hormones.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        It’s not that hard to get the spelling– they would just have to ask the other half of DH’s relatives who live in the town! (Including the connecting relative, who is still alive even if she now has her husband’s name.) Much easier than, say, getting our address (for which she must have contacted DH’s parents… or the last set of relatives who sent me one of these, though the last two sets got his name spelled right, possibly because they’re more closely related).

        And I think the invite was actually sent by the mother-to-be’s mother, who is even one more relative removed since it’s the father who is actually related. At least that’s what we think we figured out.

      • chacha1 Says:

        “It sounds like maybe lots of plans fail in that family.”
        LOL Debbie.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        What is this word, “plan”?

        I kid, I kid. (mostly)

  16. Thisbe Says:

    I have a flat “no-showers” policy. It simplifies things. I went to a couple when I was younger, and then decided that I don’t like anything about them and was never going to one again. So far, so good.

  17. Blue Russian Says:

    Thats so irritating! Especially that they don’t recognize your last name.

    DH’s family also seems to expect me to be in charge of all gifts and creating wonderful photo albums for them, or even sending photos through email. Why is that my job?

    Somehow I put this in the same category as female administrative staff inviting me to their pyramid scheme home parties or selling me stuff for their kids PTO while I know they don’t ask the male faculty.


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