One way to guarantee awkwardness is for someone to think that they should be invited, or should be the center of attention, when they shouldn’t.
It’s almost surprising how often this happens among family members, especially mothers-in-law, cringed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Capable-Performer153 was thrown off by her mother-in-law’s behavior, who responded to her son and daughter’s pregnancy announcement by planning a grandma shower for herself.
When the OP’s husband thought she was harsh for pointing out this was a self-centered plan, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she had overstepped at the family gathering.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for telling my MIL (Mother-in-Law) she doesn’t need a Grandma shower?”
The OP recently received the news that her siblings-in-law were expecting.
“I (29 Female) was at my BIL’s and SIL’s, Ben and Shay, house this past weekend. They invited my husband’s family over and announced they were expecting a baby.”
“Everyone was really excited and we continued to celebrate.”
“We were all hanging out, talking about the potential names for the baby, the gender, and how they were going to decorate the nursery.”
“My MIL (my husband Tom and Ben’s mother) said she was so excited to start planning the shower.”
“I said if it was okay with Shay, to include me in the plans because I would love to help.”
The group was surprised to hear what the OP’s MIL meant by “shower.”
“Shay said that her two sisters were planning her baby shower for the next three months when she’s six months along.”
“My MIL said she wasn’t talking about Shay’s baby shower, she was talking about her grandma shower.”
“Everyone was confused because I don’t think they’d heard of it until then.”
“I knew what it was so, I asked her why she needed a grandma shower.”
“She said this is her first grandchild and that deserves to be celebrated.”
“I said, ‘Yeah that’s true, but it’s a little self-centered and inappropriate to throw a party to congratulate yourself on a baby that isn’t yours.'”
“She said it wasn’t my place to determine that and asked Shay and Ben if it was okay.”
“They seemed really uncomfortable to me, but Ben finally said, ‘If that’s what you want to do.'”
“The conversation ended there and we didn’t talk about it for the rest of the night.”
The OP was surprised by her husband’s reaction later.
“My husband was quiet the rest of the weekend and on Monday before work, I asked him to tell me what was wrong.”
“He said it was rude to call his mother self-centered and that it wouldn’t harm anything for her to have a shower.”
“I brushed it off, but it’s been bothering me all week. Was what I said really that bad?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some agreed with the OP and thought the MIL was incredibly self-centered.
“NTA. A shower is a party put on by family or friends where you ‘shower’ someone else with gifts. It morphed into this ‘Imma throw myself a party ‘cause I want to to get gifts’ precisely because of self-centered inappropriate people who decided they owe themselves a party and others owe them gifts.”
“If grandma wants to have a party to celebrate good news, fine. But not a shower for herself, where gifts to her would be expected.” – grahamcrackerlover
“NTA. Oh my lord, all you need to say is that your MIL invented a tradition to make things all about herself. Your MIL is the definition of self-centered.”
“It is special that this is her first grandchild, but a more appropriate way to celebrate would be for her friends and family to set up a ‘Congrats’ lunch or dinner.” – Gingykins87
“For a generation that loves complaining about participation trophies, they sure do like to be celebrated just for existing.”
“She’s ridiculous and she IS self-centered and your husband needs to grow some balls.” – yaboi-cthulhu
“Yes, people attending give the grandmother gifts. And yes, they’re gifts that are baby related so that the grandmother can babysit. All the usual stuff like car seats, cribs, toys, etc.”
“And yes, when I read those posts, they all sound as incredibly stupid, controlling, and ‘do over baby’ as you might think.”
“Ben and Shay are in for a wild ride. MIL will be hyper controlling, likely want to be in the delivery room staring at Shay’s nether regions during birth, be the first to hold the baby, and have overnight visits after the first month to ‘give the parents a break.'”
“Unless Ben learns to stick up for his chosen family of Shay and child of course. Given the ‘if that’s what you want’ reply, I have doubts that will happen.”
“While the OP probably won’t be able to convince Ben or her husband that MIL is starting down a not-so-fun path, they should absolutely befriend SIL so that SIL will have someone to rant to when Ben starts letting MIL stomp all over her boundaries.” – virtualchoirboy
“The worst is that she plans the shower herself! Not some friends or family for her, no, she plans the gift grab for herself.”
“It is normally already seen as problematic when you throw yourself a bridal or baby shower. Now she throw herself a grandma shower…”
“This is so self-centered and greedy. She wants to celebrate herself for something that other achieve – getting the baby.”
“What’s next? MOH shower? Little sister shower? “I need money for all the showers’ shower?”
“To think that you don’t even celebrate the parents on the baby shower makes the Grandma Shower even more impertinent. You don’t have a parent shower! You cherish the new life!” – Sheeps_n_Birds
Others thought it was tacky to throw a party for anyone other than the baby.
“NTA. The baby shower is for the baby. It’s not a mommy shower, a daddy shower, or a granny shower. It’s a BABY shower.”
“Your MIL sounds super entitled, and her kids have likely been trained from a young age to accept her wacky antics as normal. Their perspective is probably skewed from years of abuse.” – SomeoneYouDontKnow70
“Years back when I had family doing baby showers, the grandma would be at the BABY shower with a second car seat, crib and whatnot and say, ‘These are for my house for when you need a break.'”
“They wouldn’t demand people shower them with gifts, at most they would encourage people going to the shower to duplicate the big items.” – Throwawayhater3343
“What happens at a grandma shower? Do people give her gifts? This sounds so strange to me.”
“Especially since baby showers are supposed to be about helping the parents prepare for the baby as well as celebrating their new chapter.”
“I’m going to say NTA, it does sound incredibly self centered. Are there grandpa showers? Or aunt and uncle showers?” – herozerocapitalZ
“That’s why it’s so self centered. It’s literally a shower for someone who isn’t even having a baby to receive gifts. Like I guess stuff the grandma ‘needs’ to take care of her grandchild?”
“Which is ridiculous because most of the type of people who would want this are also the type of people who will never be left alone with said grandchild.” – TA122278
“NTA. It is incredibly rude and insensitive to suggest a shower of her own just because she’s going to be a grandmother for the first time. I’ve never heard of that type of shower. It sounds ridiculous.” – mizfit0416
Though a grandma shower can be done tastefully, a few cringed at the thought of this MIL’s shower.
“My MIL’s coworkers threw her one. She just gave us most of the presents. A bunch of people bought onesies for the baby saying things like ‘I love grandma.'”
“They got her some cute grandma themed things too. There were also toys and other random baby things.”
“I thought it was silly but sweet of her coworkers. That being said, I think throwing one for yourself is super tacky.” – reluctantlyoblong
“A grandma shower is good if she only invites other elderly. They can chip in with old baby stuff.”
“Otherwise she might not have understood the shower part, and just means a grandma party. A party to celebrate she is becoming a grandma. Have some wine, chips n dip. A celebration.” – guyonaturtle
“I mean… both my kids grandparents have stuff at there houses for babies. It’s not controlling, it’s just that on occasion we or out siblings have had emergencies and gone to them to stay and it makes it so much easier that they’re fully kitted out and we don’t have to worry about taking everything with us.”
“They were given used items by friends though, not a party situation.” – Too_Tired_Too_Old
“‘Oh, you’re having a baby? Yay! Let’s make this about how it will be for meeeeee!’ That is so, so cringy.”
“When my sibling had a child (only grandchild in our family), my mother and I hosted one of the showers for the new parents.”
“My folks live in a senior community and their friends threw a surprise grandmother shower for Mom.”
“Some of the gifts were new and store-bought, some were handmade and some were used. These used gifts were items the other grandmas had for use at their homes and no longer needed them”
“I absolutely adore my folks’ friends for everything they did and gave. My sibling and sibling-in-law’s child often stays with my folks so she came into the world with two bedrooms and two sets of necessities.”
“The amount of love shown still warms my heart, years later. Mom would never have thrown herself a shower and was careful to always make it known they were available when needed and not intrusive.”
“She has Alzheimer’s now and while she hasn’t slipped away completely, she still retains her knowledge, memories, and recognition of her only grandchild, thank God.” – Flat-Succotash5369
The OP felt conflicted about what she said after she saw her husband’s reaction, but the subReddit reassured her that her mother-in-law was going about this situation in all the wrong ways.
While she had every right to be excited about her first grandchild, making the moment about herself was the last thing she needed to do.
While having some drinks and maybe organizing a diaper drive for the new parents, or even going thrifting for a secondary nursery, would be pleasant and sweet, having a whole shower where she expected the attention and gifts to be about her was totally another.