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How to Throw a Baby Shower for Moms and Dads

Tradition says dads don’t belong at baby showers. Tradition is wrong.

Sep 20 2021, 4:57 PM

This story was produced in partnership with Fatherly.

Traditionally, baby showers have been women-only affairs, opportunities for the mom-to-be to play baby shower games with (female) friends and family while the dad-to-be makes himself scarce. Usually planned by female friends and/or family, they reflected the separate spheres each gender occupied—men in the workplace, women at home. That era is long gone, which means the era of the baby shower for men and women should finally begin.

But simply allowing the dad-to-be to attend the baby shower isn’t enough. The next step is to make sure that the event is one that he can enjoy.

Invite other dudes.

If you’re going to degender the honorees you should degender the guest list too. Inviting other dudes means a party that’s more fun—the more, the merrier and all that—and more like a regular get-together. And let’s face it: new parents don’t have much time to get together with friends, so a baby shower can also function as a social event that gets them through those tough early months.

Have a real conversation with the organizers.

A nice thing about baby showers is that they’re typically planned by female friends and/or relatives. That also means that the couple gives up control of the festivities which, given that ladies-only baby showers are still the norm, could be risky. Early in the process, it’s important for the couple to politely make it clear that any traditions that don’t fit with the inclusive nature of the shower they’re envisioning should be scrapped.

Open gifts together.

Mom and dad are going to share parenting responsibilities, so they should also share in the fun of opening the stuff they’ll need to fulfill them.

Make it a party.

Asking people to give up part of their weekend is a big deal, so it’s important that a baby shower has all of the ingredients that go into a fun party: food, booze (if you partake), maybe an activity or two, and plenty of unstructured social time (i.e. hanging out). Don’t overthink it just because there’s a baby on the way.

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