Just as selecting a name and decorating a nursery are a natural process when you're expecting a baby, having a baby shower is a staple in most first time pregnancies. Carefully planning cute games to predict the sex of the baby and easing the tensions of an expectant mom are a major part of putting together a baby shower. Between registering for the latest in car seat safety and making sure the shower guests go home with a darling and memorable keepsake, a fun and festive option to shine a spotlight on the father-to-be is often not a priority. While baby showers that include the expectant father when the gifts are opened, or those with a couples theme, lets a soon-to-be-dad into the party, it still does not allow for him to have his own day to be showered with attention, gifts and games. And, despite their admiration and affection for both mom-to-be and baby, dads typically do not look forward to attending baby showers.
Everyone feels sympathetic for a father-to-be at his baby's shower. Standing sheepishly off in the corner, hands pushed deeply into his pockets, most men would feel out of place at a luncheon wrapped in pink or blue tulle. However, many guys admit they wouldn't mind a day of their own to celebrate their impending arrival, and would appreciate the thoughtfulness and consideration of being made to feel special while anxiously awaiting the birth of their child.
Maintaining a masculine flair is usually crucial to planning a dad shower, and most prospective attendees are more likely to jump on board if the event has a catchy theme or name. Surprise your co-parent-to-be with a special shower of his own. Ask for his opinion or preferences for his special day. Most men are not concerned with finger sandwiches and frilly cake so consider a grilled buffet or variety of pizzas as the main course. Themes such as "Bill's last baby free bash" or "Rob's Pre-baby Barbeque" pique everyone's curiosity and set the tone for a fun, lighthearted event.
Enlist plenty of help
As much as you know what his favorite cologne may be or just how much salt to add to his popcorn, you may not know what the latest trend in fishing equipment is. Talk to your partner's brother, best friend or a close relative to help plan the event. They can offer a man's perspective, give input on a terrific theme, or know of a buddy with tickets for a sporting event the gang can incorporate in the celebration. If you're planning a surprise, remember you'll need help keeping dad in the dark and getting him to the party on time. Someone to handle sending out invitations and fielding questions will be beneficial to making this a stress-free day for everyone.
Let your creativity flow
If you're going for a sporty theme, consider using baseballs or footballs as invitations. Using spray mount, you can affix the printed invitations to the item of choice as a fun, masculine and memorable invitation. Instead of almonds wrapped in lace, commemorative baseball hats touting the dad's favorite team, stuffed with popcorn or peanuts, make a great take-home gift. Tying a note with the date of the party, the baby's due date and a simple thanks can also double as a thank you card.
Timing is everything
Coordinate parties and schedules to coincide or to be held on concurrent weekends, depending on the preferences of the parents to be. Keep in mind you may not want to plan an event too close to the due date, or that it may conflict with his work schedule. This may also be the perfect opportunity to surprise someone who always seems to figure out what he's getting for his birthday.
Another baby...another party
Another innovative twist is planning a father's shower for a repeat dad-to-be. After spiraling through the whirlwind of preparing for a first child, expecting a second child can be more comfortable and methodical. A second time dad won't expect a day dedicated to him, and will appreciate the thoughtful sentiment. Expectant fathers who know that the gender of their new baby is opposite of a sibling's may also appreciate a fun and relaxed opportunity to celebrate his latest uncharted foray into parenting. A father's shower that celebrates a second or third child takes some of the pressure off of family members and friends who are wondering what gift to give the new baby or parents.
Themes and dreams
Imagine a baby shower without streamers, elaborate centerpieces and balloons. A father's shower can be simple and easy to set up since virtually no decorations are necessary. And, remember that a party for the dad-to-be does not necessarily have to be centered around giving and receiving gifts. A hip pop might enjoy a poker party that gives him the chance to catch up with friends and show off his ability to assemble the new baby's crib. Some men might enjoy getting together to watch a weekend sporting event, feast on favorite snack foods and share diaper changing horror stories.
Sporty or spice
If your partner is a sports fanatic, team apparel, logo merchandise and pint-sized athletic gear are the perfect items to add to his gift wish list. Most professional and semi-professional teams offer infant and toddler sized items that are often available on-line for easy shopping. A handyman will get a kick out of receiving a tiny tool belt and work boots for when the baby is old enough to follow dad around the garage or workshop. Whether the dad is a golfer, pilot or Daytona enthusiast, apparel, merchandise or even a certificate for tickets to an event make terrific, manly gifts for a father shower. Remember to encourage guests to shop for gifts the proud papa can share with his child as a toddler as well as an infant.
Time for dad
Another option is giving the dad-to-be the chance to have a night or weekend to himself. A father's shower can be nothing more than the opportunity to relax, prepare for fatherhood, or hang out with equally busy friends before your baby arrives.
Balancing the guest list
Just as an expectant mom usually has many circles of friends to consider, a future father probably has many friends and associates whose circles may or may not overlap. Although it may be considerate to invite his boss or other people he works with, many guys prefer to keep their professional and personal lives separate. Consider if his co-workers would feel out of place with his college buddies, or if your husband would feel awkward blending different groups of people.
Keep your expectations realistic
Even though he's agreed to the party and you're a more-than-willing host, resist the urge to overdo. For example, gifts don't need to be opened during the event. Games of the traditional baby shower variety are probably a no-go. Finally, it's probably best to leave the word "shower" off of the invitations, and go with a more coed-friendly "party." Too plain? Think fest, fiesta, celebration, bash, gala or clambake.
One last thought
But most of all, when planning the party, think not of what you would like to do, but what most fits the man in question. Keeping that at the forefront of your mind as you plan will ensure that he -- and therefore, all the guests -- have a fun and relaxing celebration.