Are you constantly trying to be a peacemaker between your bickering parents and the in-laws? Do you constantly have to ease the tension at family gatherings that involve both sides of the family? If this describes your family, you are probably biting your nails right now in apprehension over the outcome of your next baby shower. Try these peacemaking skills to ensure a more pleasant baby shower for everyone on your guest list!
- Divvy out specific jobs. Give each parent an assigned duty for the shower. One could buy, stamp and mail invitations. Another one could plan the activities at the shower. This way each in-law is involved and no one comes to the celebration with hurt feelings.
- Include both parties. During the duration of the shower, ensure both families are equally involved. Don’t break up in cliques that exclude some family members. Remember that all guests were invited to join in on this day of baby preparation.
- Address issues beforehand. Timing is everything. Pick a day and invite your mother-in-law or mom out to lunch. When she is in a pleasant mood, bring up the baby shower that is in the near future. Admit you are aware of the differences that many of the family members have, but ask her to please put all these differences aside for celebration of her expected grandchild. Let her know your anxieties and how you just want to focus on the new little one—not on past happenings or disagreements. Don’t forget to point out that a typical baby shower only last a couple of hours.
- Be considerate. Women are extremely emotional beings and can take things quite personally. Even though we are women ourselves, we have to remember that we are dealing with women in our friendships and family relationships. Guard your tongue and don’t belittle or criticize other guest’s views pertaining to the future plans for the baby. Many guests will offer their unsolicited opinions about motherhood, stay-at-home moms, working moms, epidurals, breast-feeding and more. Just listen and be polite. Try to change the subject if conversations become heated over a controversial subject concerning pregnancy or motherhood. Even if someone does become upset or angry about other views, keep a soft voice and a kind smile. It is difficult for an angry person to remain that way if the other party is calm and docile.
- Keep things moving. If guests are busy with games, activities, eating and opening gifts, it will leave less time to sit, converse and argue. Add some background music to avoid people feeling the urge to talk just to avoid awkward silences. If conflicting parties are present, less verbal communication is best!
- Invite a large group. The more people that are present at your baby shower, the less likely it is for the in-laws to bump into each other and begin quarreling. Offer plenty of seating so that your mom and in-laws will have a large selection of people with whom to mingle. The majority of people are also less likely to create an unbecoming scene when there’s a crowd present.
If anxiety still plagues your mind, you can always take the safe route and have two separate baby showers. One for your husband’s family and one for your family. The atmosphere will be more comfortable and you can spend your nights sleeping instead of worrying. Sometimes a new baby in the family can actually create a closer bond between family members as now they have a little life that they both equally love. This new little creature has inherited both sides of the family and may bring them closer than you have ever dreamed. Enjoy the day set apart to celebrate the birth of your upcoming bundle and focus on the days of joy that lie ahead.