Friday, March 20, 2009

Thirty-Five-Year-Old Dinosaur

I received another baby shower invitation in the mail a few days ago.

I'm past the age of wedding invitations and most baby shower invitations. I'm always happy to receive a baby announcement and to send a gift when the baby is born.

But, I get really annoyed when I receive shower invites from across the country- when the mother-to-be knows you can't be there- in order to get a gift. I also get annoyed when it's from someone you haven't seen in ten years and here's the new one- baby shower invites from people who aren't married! Todd and I have a couple of these folks in our extended family. Now- there's always a ring involved followed by either a short-lived marriage or a broken engagement. I've seen this pattern again and again. Bristol Palin anyone?

Where has etiquette gone? Don't you think that if you're having a baby- and you're not married- that you should forego the shower?

I also think that if you get married- and are knocked up- you should get married quietly. At a courthouse, at a private home. There should be no 1. Dance 2. Dinner.

I've found that many people disagree and I ask the question again and again-- what is with the out-of-wedlock kids? I heard the other day that now 40% of children are born to single moms. There are more kinds of birth control available today then lipstick shades. If you don't want to get pregnant- you don't. This is crossing all socio-economic lines and education levels it seems to me.

I think it's a combination of things:

1. the idiots in Hollywood who have made it look "cool" to tote a baby around sans daddy

2. the Boomers refuse to encourage adoption of their grandchildren...every Boomer I know who is faced with this situation says they're disappointed, but there's no way that they're going to let that grandchild go- so they fully support (financially and emotionally) their single-mother daughter. They'll be in the labor room, they'll help with daycare and they'll help with the bills....whatever it takes. Of course, I believe a family should be supportive in this situation and it is the individual family's choice on how to handle this situation. My rule is- if I don't have to pay for your daycare, then do what you want.

3. marriage is no longer seen as an institution- but an excuse to have a wedding

4. it's now completely, socially acceptable

I'm seen as very cold-hearted with this issue and it's caused a couple of big arguments in my family. I never blame the children involved- but I certainly feel sorry for them because they're immediately at a disadvantage with only one parent.

When somebody gets knocked up- without being married- you're just supposed to hop on board. You're not allowed to say a thing- it's none of your business of course- but when it comes time for baby showers and weddings, rest-assured you're going to be on the invite list.

I picked up the Target registry for the un-wed mom-to-be yesterday...I started laughing out loud. Among the basics of onesies, baby monitors, high chairs-- one item stood out-- a $180 portable DVD player. Now THAT's moxie.


Preppy 101 said...

You are exactly right!!

Mary said...

Of course o agree with everything you say.

Jim said...

Sometimes "old fashioned" people frown upon things for a reason. They may not even know why, but there's a reason... and it's not that they're party-poopers. There are all kinds of advantages to a nuclear family, but rather than having to understand all of the pros and cons, it's easier to "shun" or frown upon certain behaviors. But now that it's some politically incorrect sign of intolerance to frown upon anything, you end up with all kinds of odd behavior... and the government has layers and layers of "safety nets" to prevent people from learning from their mistakes or discouraging that kind of behavior in the future. Economists talk about "moral hazard" when referring to continual bailouts. Well, that also applies to the non-financial world.

And yes, there are exceptions to everything, but overall, a lot of these "old fashioned" morals are there to make life easier for you, not spoil the fun.