"You did the right thing." That was the reassurance a lifestyle etiquette expert offered to a young woman who refused to attend a baby shower for her pregnant sister-in-law; "I can't bear to go," this woman wrote, "because my husband and I are suffering through painful infertility treatments." Well, as a woman going through those very same infertility treatments, I read the etiquette expert's validating response, and wanted to (dramatically) hurl the magazine against my living room wall. Before you call me insensitive and cold-hearted, know this: I completely understand a baby shower is the last place that woman wants to be, when her heart is aching for a swollen belly of her own to celebrate. I understand attending would be hard, even hurtful. But that baby shower has nothing to do with her.
These days, it seems more and more women are choosing to back out, instead of buck up. Our world is more open, the problems we face are more public. That openness leads to increased awareness and sensitivity, both great, wonderful things. But somehow, with our problems "out there," we are expecting them to be everyone else's problem, too. At least every other day, an article appears on my Facebook feed instructing the rest of us on "10 Things Not to Say to (fill in the blank)." The issue isn't just with infertility, but any personal struggle or trial: divorce, death, domestic violence, difficult relationships. The other day, a girlfriend told me she had decided to no longer go over to her mother-in-law's house for Sunday dinner. Why? She didn't like feeling judged and stressed out on what should be her own day of rest and relaxation. Huh?
Women, please: draw boundaries, set limits and take an occasional reprieve when you need to - and you will need to! But when things aren't comfortable, pleasant, or easy? Don't automatically throw in the towel, hold up your hands in surrender, and walk away victimized. Dig in. Try. Grow. These trials we face, whatever they may be, provide an opportunity for us to strengthen our own spirit. It's an opportunity to become more selfless, patient, controlled, disciplined, compassionate, even humble.
When we dismiss social or emotional obligations because of our own self-perceived limitations, we give up the chance to become better human beings. We feed selfishness, which can grow into entitlement - the idea that this world should revolve around our own needs and challenges. I repeat: don't back out, instead buck up.
We can do hard things. We can choose selflessness. We can show forgiveness and practice tolerance, even to those in our closest circles. We can acknowledge other people's happiness isn't there to add to our own personal pain.
Here's my humble two cents worth of advice to that young woman: go to the baby shower. Plaster a smile on your face, even if it's slightly forced. Try to focus on this event being an opportunity to highlight your sister-in-law's joy, not your own misery. It will be hard. It will hurt. Have a good long, messy cry on the drive home if you have to. But I can promise: you'll be glad you went. You'll be stronger because you did. And other women, who share in your heartache, will draw strength from your brave and selfless example. If the women of this world need anything right now, it's strength - not self-involved excuses.
At the end of the day (and the baby shower), we need to stop expecting everyone else to say or do the right thing - and start expecting just a little more of ourselves.
Brooke Walker is the host and executive producer of "Studio 5 with Brooke Walker." She is also a member of the award winning KSL News Team, where she frequently contributes as an anchor and reporter. Brooke loves finding inspiration from other people's life experiences and enjoys sharing those stories with viewers. In her spare time, you can find Brooke curled up with a good read or cashing in on quality "girl time" with her three sisters. Also high on the list: shopping, working out and anything chocolate.
I don't usually blog about DIY projects because, let's face it, I am anything but a DIYer.
BUT! I came up with this yesterday to give as Christmas gifts to my kindergarteners. I am so excited to see their faces when I tell them they are getting snowman poop!
This is the softest playdoh and it smells so good. I tried to find scentless conditioner so I could flavor it with peppermint extract. I was disappointed when I couldn't find any but the coconut conditioner made it smell amazing! Really, the possibilities of things you could do with this recipe, are endless.
So without further adieu. I give you, Snowman Poop.
Snowman Poop (non-edible)
2 parts cornstarch
1 part conditioner
Styrofoam containers with lids (I bought mine from Old Grist Mill for $0.05/each!)
Black & Orange Sharpie
Ribbon for a scarf (optional)
Throw it in a bowl. Mix it up until it's not crumbly. Let it sit for about 10 minutes until soft.
*I used 6 cups cornstarch (which was 2 boxes), 3 cups of Suave Coconut Conditioner (+ a few extra squirts until it wasn't crumbly), and ended up with a good size ball for my 21 kids. Total cost was under $5!
I thought it was only appropriate that snowmen's poop was sparkly so I added blue glitter to the boys, and pink to the girls.
Then I drew a snowman face on the lid.
You can add ribbon, washi tape, or twine to make the snowman look like it's wearing a scarf.
And move over Dr. Seuss! I wrote this cheesy poem to attach to the scarf. Feel free to download and print for yourself.
Headed to a baby shower but don’t
want to show up with the typical onesie or diapers? Here are 25 unique gifts
that are sure to be a hit!
(* indicates gifts that would also make great group
gifts if you are buying with other friends and family!)
1. Your favorite children’s book with
a special message written inside*
It’s a gift that will be used for
years to come and what could be sweeter than reading a special message from you
as they grow older? Here are some books that are sure to leave an impression:
2. A basket full of paper products
There is nothing worse than those
bring-in meals coming to an end. But a close second is worrying about dishes
when you’re still trying to figure out how to function with a newborn. A basket
full of paper plates, napkins, cups, and cutlery will be a gift that saves the
day and leaves a lasting impression.
3. Baby’s first year calendar
Every mom always has intentions of scrapbooking and writing down their baby’s first word and each special moment. But those things are easy to fall by the wayside once the realities of motherhood kick in. A calendar specifically for baby will make it easy for the parents to remember every important milestone that is easy to forget.
4. A picture frame with a gift
card/money toward a photography session*
Newborn pictures are something
that will be looked back on….well, forever. However, a quality photo shoot can
cost a pretty penny. This is a gift mom will never forget.
5. Hand/foot casting kit
Sooner than later those tiny little hands and feet won’t be quite so tiny! This gift is priceless and perfect for all the times she will be wishing she could freeze time.
6. Hooded baby towel
This is not something that usually
makes the shopping list for a new mom but will save the day when it comes time
to give baby their first bath. Doll it up with some baby wash, lotion, and
7. Sample box subscription*
This gift keeps on giving. (Literally!) When the novelty of a new baby wears off, this will provide something to look forward to as well as a way for her to find new products that she loves! These boxes are darling for new moms:
Try to remember that it’s not just about that new baby. A gift card to the spa will save the day when her feet are swollen and she wants a maternity massage, or after the baby comes and she wants a facial for some alone time.
10. Amazon Prime Subscription*
There is nothing worse than trying to shop once you have kids. Most mom’s turn to online shopping. Since Amazon basically has everything in the world (they sell underpants dispensers, people!), make life a little easier on her. Amazon Prime includes Amazon Mom (20% off diapers and up to 15% off other products) as well as the free shipping, free e-books, and free video/TV streaming that comes along with Prime.