The term ‘baby shower’ is often assumed to mean that the expectant mother is “showered” with gifts. The custom can be defined in relation to the bridal shower, which may have derived its name from the old Victorian custom. It was customary to put presents inside a parasol which when opened would “shower” the bride-to-be with gifts (Montemurro 2006:3).
The shower can be hosted by anyone: from relatives, parents of the mother-to-be, her in-laws, to her friends, office colleagues, and school friends. Baby showers can also be hosted by churches, but most people prefer a relaxed atmosphere where people close to the mother-to-be participate and have a great time. This becomes an opportunity to help the mother-to-be feel completely relaxed, greeted and surrounded with support, so that she does not feel anxious about the new chapter that is about to begin in her life (Robinson 2000:1).
Are You Ready for a Baby?
Similar to the classic purse scavenger hunt game played at traditional baby showers, this game asks guests to look for baby-related items around their house. You can play this game via email, chat, or video group call.
Before the shower, make a list of standard baby items. Choose about 5-10 to use for the game.
You can send the entire list at once or present one item at a time.
Share an item with guests and ask them to find something that closely resembles that item. For example, someone might present a beer bottle if the item is “baby bottle.”
Guests can send pictures of their items or show them on camera.
Award 2 points to anyone who found the exact item and 1 point to anyone who found something close.
The person with the most points at the end wins.
Motherhood can be seen as a transitional stage and showers become testimony to that transition. Arnold Van Gennep discovered that all rituals share or follow three stages: that is, separation, transition and incorporation (Dundes 1999:101). Rites of passage are “ceremonies that mark important transitional periods in a person’s life, such as birth, puberty, marriage, having children, and death.
Rites of passage usually involve ritual activities and teachings designed to strip individuals of their original roles and prepare them for new roles.”. Rites of passage, therefore, are rituals and/ or ceremonies that accompany major personal transitions by individuals as they move from birth to death (Fischer and Gainer 1993:320). Van Gennep (1960) maintains that the mother-to-be is temporarily removed from the community.
During baby shower celebrations it became apparent that contemporary mothers are expected to behave according to the prevailing ideology of “intensive mothering.” It is as a result of the high expectations coming from the attendees of baby showers that the theory of a “good mother or intensive mothering” by Sharon Hays (1996) was adopted for this paper.
The theory requires a mother to be a central care giver to the child, to follow the advice of experts; always put the child’s needs ahead of her own, and be fully absorbed emotionally with the child. In addition, the “good mother” discourse requires mothers to “act responsibly and present themselves in culturally recognizable and acceptable ways.” (Miller 2005:86) This became evident from the advice the participants shared with the mother-to-be. These included, among others, personal hygiene to the dos and don’ts of a mother in confinement, botnets.
It is worth noting that the good mother “casts a long shadow over the women’s lives, motherhood and mothering continue to remain the subject close to social regulation”, as confirms Ruddick (2001:189). Even though Gaborone baby showers emphasize the “good mother,” it is worth noting that contemporary representations of a good mother are not uniform and stable. For instance, the “good mother” appears differently in various settings – she is nuanced in multiple forms. Therefore, to take the “good mother” literally means working on the ideological aspects of mother and motherhood and the notions of hegemonic motherhood.
Guess the Baby Item
See if guests can identify different baby items by looking at close-up pictures.
Choose about ten baby items to use for the game. You can also use pictures of these items from a magazine.
If you’re on video, turn your camera off, hold the item really close to your camera, and then turn your camera back on for the close-up shot.
The first person to guess the correct item gets a point.
The person with the most points at the end is the winner.
Cloth Diaper Challenge
No baby shower is complete without at least one baby shower diaper game. Guests will need to get creative to complete this DIY diaper challenge. This game works best on camera, but could be done through pictures.
Ask each guest to find something in their house that can be used as a baby, but it can’t be a real baby, a person, or a baby doll.
When everyone has a baby, give the challenge.
Each guest must find something to use as a cloth diaper and two things to hold the diaper in place. They can’t use an actual diaper or real safety pins.
Guests must then put their cloth diaper on their fake baby and hold it up to the camera.
Award points for completing the task and creativity.
Baby Shower Word Bingo
Similar to baby shower gift Bingo, this game requires guests to listen for baby related words during the shower.
Each guest needs to make their own Bingo board. It should be a five-by-five grid.
In each grid square, guests should write a baby word they think will be said at least once during the shower.
When a guest hears a word on their card, they put an “X” in that spot.
When a guest gets a row, she calls out “Bingo” and wins.
Baby Shower Memory Game
At the start of the shower, share information like the baby’s due date, potential names, and anything else guests might want to know. At the end of the shower, ask guests to list all the information you shared at the start to see who remembers the most.
Virtual Baby Shower Prize Ideas
Even though your shower is virtual, you can still give out baby shower game prizes. Think of great digital gifts you can immediately send guests during the party or send prizes in the mail after the event.
- E-gift cards
- Netflix free movie codes
- Choice of charity for a donation
- One month of a video streaming service
- One month of a music streaming service
- An online class
- Celebratory video from the mom-to-be
Shower Fun From Afar
You don’t have to be in the same room to shower a pregnant friend or family member with fun. Check out classic baby shower games and think of easy ways you can adapt them to a virtual environment. The goal is to have fun and celebrate the coming of a new baby, so don’t stress out about what’s missing from your shower and enjoy what’s there.
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Moloi, Lesedi. 2006. Celebrating Womanhood through Baby Showers in Botswana: The Case of Gaborone. University of Botswana. Unpublished Dissertation.
Montemurro, Beth. 2006. Origins of Bridal Showers and Bachelorette Parties Something Old. Something Bold. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
Neyer, K. 2006. “What Happens at a Baby Shower?” [Online]. Available: https://www.families.com/blog/whathappens-at-a-baby-shower [Accessed 2016, February 24].
Porter, Michael and Kelso, Julie (Eds.). 2006. Theorising and Representing Maternal Realities. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholar Publishing.
Robinson, Janice. 2000. Pride and Joy: African American Baby Celebrations. New York: Diane Pub Co. Ruddick, Sue.2001. “Making Connections between Parenting and Peace.” Journal of the Association for Research on Mothering 3(2):7–20.