Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Advice, Please!

So, I have another dilemma relating to my baby shower this weekend. I say another dilemma because it seems that there have been quite a few surrounding what should be a fun event. First, there was the incident where my one friend was offended by the invite and called me a gift grubber - haven't heard from her since. Then, there was an entire issue over my mom and sister not wanting to come (three hours was too long of a drive for them), then shocking me by RSVPing yes. Then, more drama with my sister not wanting to drive my mom (and my mom doesn't drive). Most of it has been pretty silly, and this latest event is no exception, but I want your advice.

I have a friend I will call Stacey. She and her husband have been our good friends for over five years. They have two boys, S and D. Stacey's husband is in the military, so they move a lot. They currently live in San Franciso, about a 16-hour drive from our house. I never would have expected Stacey to make this trip simply for my baby shower, but she insisted on coming, and I was pleased to invite her.

Stacey had originally planned to fly up for the weekend, but then decided that she would rather drive up with her two sons and spend some time with other friends and family that live in the area. Her husband is flying up Thursday to hang out with my husband during the shower and then drive home with them on Sunday. Stacey and the boys are all staying at her cousin's house, as her cousin is currently out of town, and it leaves them a lot more room than trying to cram into our not-so-extra space.

I have to say that I was very relieved that they weren't staying here. I love Stacey, her husband, and sons. But Stacey is not shy about letting them run wild when they are here. She sleeps late in the mornings and the boys will come and knock on our door until I get up to make them breakfast. The boys have no eating schedule and "free feed" all day, so one of them is always hungry. I don't have any problem making them food, but it was almost comical last time. I would get one of them fed, clean up from that feeding, and then the other would be hungry. Lather, rinse, repeat all day. When I am not pregnant, this can be tiring, but I was exhausted after their last weekend stay, and that was back when I was only about five months pregnant. They also climb all over our furniture and pretty much act like kids. This also doesn't normally bother me, but with other guests in the house this weekend plus people coming by to look at the nursery, I would have probably have been a little stressed constantly picking up after them.

Still, that's not the point of this blog. The point is that I had told Stacey that children are not being invited to the shower. There are almost 30 people coming and C is having her own son leave with her husband. I had just assumed that the boys would stay with Stacey's husband during the shower. I apparently assumed incorrectly.

Stacey had asked another local family member to watch the boys on Saturday, but that person is now unavailable. So, last night, Stacey left a message that she will be bringing the boys to the shower. I know that C will not be pleased. She has put a lot of effort into making this a really nice party. Stacey doesn't do a great job of keeping the boys quiet and usually just leaves them to their own devices. I definitely don't want to have them there, irritating other guests, and especially irritating C.

However, I feel a certain obligation to Stacey, too. After all, she has come all of this way. I feel rude telling her that she has to leave the boys with her husband, since that is obviously not what they want to do. I have given some thought to hiring a babysitter and offering to pay for it, but having never used a babysitter, I don't even know where to begin to find one, especially on relatively short notice. If I did find one, they would be a stranger, and I am not sure that Stacey would feel comfortable leaving her children with someone she didn't know.

So, what would you do?


Rachel said...

I think this is why you're not supposed to 'host' your own shower - so that the host can lay down the law on the children/no children issue. I would call your friend who is hosting and see if she knows any babysitters (she must, doesn't she have a child?) and if not ask her to ask her friends for a babysitter. I don't really think it is reasonable for this woman to bring her children when her husband is in town and could be watching them (would your husband mind planning a special activity for them and taking them along? That would skirt the whole issue) but it all depends on the friends involved. I do think if you have to call your friend and tell her not to bring her children that you should just pass the plan off on the host - she's throwing the party, she made a rule for her own kid, she said no (i.e. this is not your fault at all).

Ms. J said...

It sounds like "C" is the one throwing the shower for you? If so, you need to call C right now, tell her what you just learned this, and have her call Stacey and say "uh-uh." This should NOT Be your problem to deal with - it should be the shower-thrower's to fend off.

If you were throwing a shower for a friend, and this happened, YOU would make that call, right? So in this situation, C needs to make the call. If she refuses, then have your husband call Stacey's husband and maybe talk to him man-to-man? (Though I still say C needs to deal with it). Maybe C can find her a local babysitter to take the kids to a park or movie for a couple of hours?

Mazzy said...

The above comments are correct! This is not your problem, it's the hostesses! The beauty of being the guest of honor is that you leave the ticky-tacky details to those who were so kind to want to give you the shower in the first place. I would let hostess and Stacey figure this matter out on their own, as harsh as it sounds. You should not have to be stressing out about anything right now, you are supposed to just show up and glow with that beautiful belly! =)
I had this happen at my bachelorette party. One friend informed me she was bringing her infant son to this very adult themed party and I let the hostess know and they worked it out just fine, no hard feelings at all!
Good luck, let us know how it turns out.

Nicky said...

Yes, technically it is C's job to be handling this sort of thing, but given that she doesn't know your friend, I don't think that she's a reasonable "shield" for you -- if feelings are hurt, it's still going to be your problem.

I would ask your husband to help with this. Have him come up with a child-friendly activity, then call Stacey's husband and explain to him that the two of them should really watch the kids while you and Stacey enjoy the shower. It's not an unreasonable thing to ask a father to watch his own kids. Having your husband give that nudge/suggestion may make it happen without offending anyone.

If that fails... I'd let her bring the kids. If she were local, I'd be saying something else, but it's tough for people who are in from out of town. This woman is traveling a long way to attend the shower; I'd rather have disruptions at the party than appear selfish over this relatively small issue. Mention to a few other friends that Stacey's in from out of town, so she has to bring her kids to the shower, and ask if they could help to try to keep the kids occupied if they get disruptive. I'm sure several people would be happy to bring some games, etc., that can be used to distract the boys for a few hours so that you don't have to be the one dealing with it.

Good luck!

Newt said...

Oh my gosh. You or the hostess definitely needs to be firm but kind on the "no kids" rule. It's only fair to everyone, and Stacey needs to start learning (gently) that she can't just impose her kids on the world like this!

If they have other friends and family in the area, couldn't one of them recommend a babysitter? It may be that it would be easy to make arrangements, but she just hasn't tried because she hasn't processed why the kids would be a problem.

I know she doesn't mean to be inconsiderate; she sounds like a dear and sweet friend. But her being a little clueless shouldn't translate into huge impositions on you, when you already have a lot to worry about.

Gosh, usually I don't give advice like this, but I'm so struck by this story! It really sounds like you've gotten into a pattern of accommodating this deal with her boys and it would help a lot to break the pattern a bit, especially when you have your own baby on the way.

Good luck!

HereWeGoAJen said...

Yeah, tricky. I think if it were up to me, I would circumvent the whole thing by trying to come up with something for all the kids to do elsewhere. That way they aren't there, but no one gets all upset and cranky. Maybe C's kid could invite them to a movie? Or, you said that the shower was next door to you, right? You could have a babysitter stay with the kids at your house. That way, even if it is an unfamiliar babysitter, Stacey can check on her kids. (You'll have to get a strict sitter that will make sure the kids stay put at your place though, and don't wander over.) You can say that you were afraid that the kids would be bored at this ADULT event.

It's unfair that you have to deal with this though.

Anonymous said...

I say you're pregnant and you can play the pregnant-beeyotch card whenever you want to... :o) Your husband will be with the boys dad, so get him on your side (if he isn't already) and tell Stacey that your hubby is looking forward to spending time with the boys. If she balks, just tell her your host has asked that there are no children at the party, period. Keep us posted though. At the end of the day, C is hosting the shower, and if she's concerned about children being there, she can be the one to tell Stacey.

Jen said...

I agree with the others that this is really the hostess' problem and not yours. At the same time, I can understand now wanting to hang C out to dry on this, so perhaps you two should could consult and come up with a game plan. She might have ideas you haven't even thought of. Like maybe C's husband wouldn't mind taking the 2 boys along with his son during the shower.

Prairie Girl said...

Personally, I'd tell my friend that the boys are so not going to have a good time at the shower. Then have your hubby and her hubby plan something BETTER then going to shower. A day of fishing, going to play lazer tag, golfing, going to the zoo...anything other then the shower.

I don't think it's the hostess' place to say no, then Stacey will be upset that you didn't tell her yourself so I would definately have my hubby take the punch for me and plan something fun for the boys and the other hubby to join in on! Good luck!

Polka Dot said...

I'm in full agreement with Nicky's comment. yes, C is the hostess but C doesn't know Stacy and it's going to make a sticky situation even stickier if a stranger calls Stacy.

I agree with enlisting your husband to help (why can't the men keep them?) and / or asking C if she knows of any babysitters that can watch the boys.

Either way, I do agree that a foot needs to be put down (I had to repeatedly do it over my "no kids" rule at our wedding & reception). Stacy understood that coming in and she should be agreeable to an alternative plan.

In Search of Morning Sickness said...

You know, it's a tough/bad situation to be put in.

But honestly? I'd totally hire the babysitter. It seems to be the only way to ensure the shower is stress free and as fun/beautiful as it was planned to be.

You seem to know plenty of people in the area with kids. Can you ask them for a quick recommendation? Then you could tell "Stacey" who you've hired, and that they come very trusted.

I hope the shower is wonderful! Loved the belly pics - so pretty!

Kathy V said...

While it makes it difficult that Stacey is from out of town, there are plans that can be put in place. I would call around to your friends and see if you can hire a babysitter. Have the babysitter come early so that they can get to know the boys and the boys can get to know her. And like somebody said, worse come to worse, Stacy can check on them at your house during the shower.

Or Have your husband and their dad do something with them. Obviously the dad should be taking responsibility for his children to begin with. Buy a football and take them to a local park. They don't sound like infants so this shouldn't be a problem. Or take them to another activity.

I would also talk with C but like somebody else said, she doesn't know stacey so it would make things more awkward. See if C has any other suggestions but tell her that you are willing to hire a babysitter so she doesn't get offended. I hope all of that information helps.

Joy said...

Oh my............ I don't have any pearls of wisdom so hopefully someone else has a great idea! That is TOUGH!!! So sorry you're in the middle of it.

Searching said...

I'm with the babysitter idea. I've been hired to watch kids I didn't know for special occassions where they aren't invited. Usually good places to find sitters are from friends or church. (I was my church's nursery sitter for YEARS and ended up babysitting nearly every child there!). I'd also have your hubby do some talking with Stacey's hubby. I love the fun outing idea, too. GL!

PamalaLauren said...

Well honestly I would have never not allowed kids and if that had been something that was going to happen, I would have hired a sitter for those with children since the bulk of my guests weren't from my town. I also had a co-ed baby shower.

Anns said...

Hmm.. do you have any friends with teenagers that might be able to watch the kids in another room of the house?

That's really frustrating.. don't let it ruin your day. If even the boys DO end up there (which I certainly hope they don't), perhaps demand that someone speak to Stacy if they become unruly or get in the way.

Good luck, that can be a touchy situation..

Julie, Todd, Kate and Miles said...

I think I'd see if your hubby could suggest a fun activity to do with her husband and kids (maybe the zoo? or go downtown to the sculpture park--that can be real fun for kids). He could say, oh, let's let the women have their girly time and take teh kids ____. That could be an easy way out, without making C have to confront her. If he's not able to do that, or if her husband refuses to watch them, then I'd definately let C take it from there. Maybe she has a neighborhood kid that could watch the boys in the yard, or something like that.
Good luck with it! And let us know how it turns out!

Anonymous said...

I thik this is why we don't have baby showers in the UK! :)

I agree with everyone else here - bill it as a lovely time for the men to bond with the boys, and ship them out somewhere fun - rather than saying "lets get the kids out of the way" maybe it could be billed as a "boys day out - no girls allowed", then it feels like to the boys like *you* are the ones being inconvienienced rather than them!

The Broken Man