This post was inspired by an article I read recently about the new trend of “gender reveal” parties. Apparently, this is the latest excuse for recognizing, acknowledging, and throwing a party for every single little thing that used to be something that just garnered a “congratulations”.
Everyone in the modern world has noticed the way society has changed it’s attitude in the last ten to fifteen years. It’s an attitude that screams “I’M ENTITLED; GIVE ME WHAT I WANT N-O-W“. From new mothers receiving “push gifts” to kindergarteners receiving iPads for Christmas to ten-year-olds receiving iPhone 5’s as an upgrade from their iPhone 4S (which replaced the last 3 iPhones that they lost). I know that none of this affects the way I raise my kids. But i won’t lie, these ideas drive me insane. I’m going to break down some of the latest ideas along with my unbiased opinions. I’ll apologize in advance if anyone is offended.
Gender Reveal Parties: There are entire boards on Pinterest dedicated to this idea. Evidently, the idea is that when the mother has the ultrasound which would reveal the gender, the technician is instructed to place a piece of paper on which the gender is written into a sealed envelope. The couple then hands this envelope over to a party planner, friend, or baker and then they can become part of the big surprise, too. Bakeries are advertising “gender reveal” cakes; when the cake is cut into, the inside is either pink or blue and and then all of the celebrating can commence. I’m sorry, but is this something really worth throwing a party to share? Is a phone call or an e-mail not enough anymore? I mean, it’s a 50/50 shot, right? I don’t know that this is an excuse for presents (at least that’s what I’m reading) but for me, it’s definitely an excuse for recognition for something that has been coming naturally to women since the beginning of time. Which brings me to……..
Push Gifts: I became aware of this trend about three years ago. Honestly, this absolutely blew me away. The idea here is that the mother receives a very large gift – usually jewelry, from what I have read – to reward and recognize her for the act of giving birth. Um, hello, but it seems to me that your CHILD is the “push gift”. I had 2 c-sections – should I have received a “slice gift”? Or is that a cop-out and I get nothing? I should have gotten breastfeeding gifts. Now THAT’S an accomplishment that should be rewarded – instead women who do that get kicked out of restaurants and shopping malls. So basically, HAVE a baby, get diamonds; try to do your best to CARE for that baby, get thrown out of public places. Is the monetary value of the push gift based on the weight of the baby or the number of hours the mother is in labor? What about adoptive mothers? Are they unworthy of a push gift? It’s too bad this trend wasn’t around 90 years ago because my great-grandmother had ten children. She’d have been DRIPPING in baubles.
Babymoon: This is a vacation that a couple takes before their baby is born. Now, I’m not talking an overnight trip to a local resort – we’re talking Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Paradise Island here. Hey, I’m all for relaxing as much as possible before a baby is born, but let’s face it, kids are VERY expensive. It would never occur to me to plan an exotic vacation while I’m pregnant. Here’s an idea – I know this is unheard of – make that exotic vacation something which to look FORWARD. Let’s face it, the people who are planning these “babymoons” aren’t exactly the folks who have been skipping out on trips pre-pregnancy. My parents took four children to Walt Disney World when my brother was a NEWBORN. No, I’m not condoning bringing an infant to Beaches Resort in Antigua, but your life does not end when a baby comes along. You can still go on vacations. We took our boys to Sanibel Island when Christopher was nine months old and Michael was 2 years old. It was SUCH an enjoyable vacation. Yes, that’s right, we took our kids along and STILL had fun. The closest I had to a babymoon was when I was 6 months along with Christopher and Mike and I spend about 7 hours alone at Discovery Cove in Orlando while my sister babysat Michael. No, it wasn’t the Caribbean, but it was a really, really nice day.
Sip and See: Sorry, Rachel, (that’s my sister who recently shared that she’d attended one of these), but I just had to include this one. This is the equivalent to a baby shower, but it is one thrown AFTER the baby has arrived. Invitations are sent, food and beverages (including champagne) are served, and guests come to see the new baby. I’d like to know if this is in ADDITION to the pre-baby shower. I know that many moms don’t have a shower after the first baby is born (although I’m noticing that even that seems to be passe’) so I’d have to guess that this is a really good excuse to still receive those presents.
Now to go off-topic here, WHAT on earth is going on with these gift registries? When I had my kids, I refused to register for stupid stuff like wipe-warmers and diaper stackers. I didn’t even get one of those travel systems (stroller/car seat combos). I did my homework and registered for a lighter stroller and a separate car seat. The price for the two separate items ended up being less than the combo. That type of thinking is evidently not acceptable. The new thinking is – find the most expensive store with the priciest items, and put those on your registry. Why ask for a practical stroller for $200 when there are much nicer ones with trendy brand names for $1,000? I mean, you’ll be using it for about 2 years – that’s a long time! What’s a thousand dollars in the grand scheme of things? I mean your baby will spend approximately .01% of his or her life in that stroller.
So to wrap this up, no, this topic had nothing to do with autism or special needs. I guess in a way, it relates to my life because when one has a child like Michael, all those little mundane things that were mentioned above are just so completely unimportant. It’s sad that society feels that every little accomplishment deserves recognition – right down to the simple act of giving birth. It’s sort of like those brides who go nuts about everything being perfect for their weddings. It’s not the parties and celebrations that are the important – it’s what happens after that. To borrow a quote from the film Hope Floats – “it’s the middle that counts”.