Planning a Father-Friendly Baby Shower
If the stork is scheduled to make a delivery to you or a friend, then a baby shower is certainly in the near future. These parties have traditionally been women-centric affairs, with a “shower” of gifts for the new family member and advice on parenting and motherhood. Movies and TV have done their part to reinforce the image of women gathered around for finger foods and a lot of ooh-ing and aah-ing over adorable onesies and playing baby-themed games. But why should the mother-to-be have all the fun? What century are we in? These days, fathers have a stake in childrearing, too. So for the guys out there, here are some tips on how to throw a baby shower for a dad-to-be.
- Keep It Light. It’s about celebration. This may sound obvious, but there’s value in emphasizing the need for this to be a light occasion. A lot of men facing fatherhood for the first time have no idea what to expect, or even what they should be doing. Pop culture, again, comes into play here, with TV and movies often depicting parenthood as the end of having fun. The Father-Friendly Baby Shower should be encouraging. Invite friends who are already parents to put the guest of honor at ease. Parenthood isn’t easy, so let the new dad know he has a community of friends he can turn to when he needs advice or has questions.
- Food Makes Everything Better. Nothing says fun and family like gathering around for food. Consider hosting a potluck brunch or cookout, or having someone bring the new father’s favorite dish. Sharing food is the easiest way to get the conversation going. It will be easier for the new father to absorb all the information in a natural way, rather than sitting through a barrage of baby advice.
- Get the Lawn Games Going. Your goal is to create a relaxed environment where He Who Shall Be Dad can relax and enjoy himself. After all, he’ll soon have plenty of work to do! Let’s be honest, the baby shower may be one of his last vacation days for a while. Set up a game of Cornhole or bocce ball or even a party-wide tournament.
- Lend a Helping Hand. Those who are waiting to play their game in the tournament can take turns with other activities like making custom onesies with iron-on designs, which is fun and helpful at the same time. You can also invite other dads to write down or record their experiences on how to be the most helpful once Baby arrives and Mom is occupied with nursing. Once the stork has made his delivery, it’s natural for a lot of other things to fall on the back burner. Consider putting out a sign-up sheet for friends to volunteer to mow the lawn or walk the dog in the first few weeks that dad-to-be is getting his sea legs as a father.
The prospect of fatherhood is exciting, but also nerve-wracking. There is little you can do to ease a friend’s nerves other than to show him he’s not alone. Throw a baby shower for him to shake him out of his deer-in-the-headlights state. Let’s get back to the original goal of a baby shower, to provide community and comfort for an anxious parent-to-be.