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to think choosing godparents who are already family is a 'waste'?

(45 Posts)
SlightlyJaded Thu 02-Dec-10 21:45:56

Buggeration and wank, I'm really annoyed.

DCs (3&5) have never been christened although it is something that both me an DH feel we want to do. In all honesty we just haven't got round to it blush

My dad and DHs mum have been nagging asking when we are going to do it and we vaguely mentioned this winter.

Now for some background:

10 years ago - before DH and I were married, his brother and his brothers wife asked me to be godmnother to their second born DS. (DH is godfather to first born). Apparently they had 'checked' with DH that we were 'serious' - so that presumably I would 'be around for the duration' and then they asked. I said yes and we talked about the fact that if anything happened between DH and I, it would not effect my commitment to my godson. As things turned out, DH and I married and my godson is now also my nephew.

Roll forward to a couple of years ago and I told DH that I would like my two best girlfriends (both childless and very fond of my DCs) to be godmothers. They are both people I love dearly and people whose morals, values, humour etc I cherish. I am the only child of an only child so have virtually no family of my own. To me, this was a way of introducing some permanent fixtures into my DCs lives who happened to be lovely people.

DH was fine with this and thought he would ask his two best friends to be godfathers.

This did not go down well with BIL and SIL. Apparently we were supposed to 'ask back'. I told both of them that I loved them and valued their input in my children's lives but having such a small family myself, I thought this was an opportunity to 'expand it'. I tried to explain that my personal feelings are that our DCs already have BIL and SIL as Aunt and Uncle. This explanation was not well received either. I then want on to say that actually, I thought having godparents who were already family was a bit of a wasted opportunity. I was made to feel a bit cold and as though I didn't understand how 'real families' worked. We let it slide...

Now we have started talking about pinning down dates, and are back to the elephant in the room. Yesterday my MIL started shit stirring talking about how BIL and SIL are so upset that they might not be godparents and BIL and SIL have actually been quite spiteful, telling anyone who will listen that I am choosing my friends because they are 'wealthy girls from west london, not working class people from essex' confused. This is absolute bollocks.

Finally, I called SIL tonight and told her (again) why I wanted to ask my friends. That it was not because we didn't want her, but I felt we already had her in her role as Aunt etc. She pointed out that girls can have two godmothers to which I replied "yes, you are right, they can". This was supposed to be non committal but 10 mins later we got a call from MIL saying "oh I am so pleased you have asked BIL & SIL to be godmother. it was the right thing to do"

I feel a bit sick. I could bite the bullet and let it go ahead but I know it will always make me angry as it was not our decision and we are being railroaded. On the other hand, I can't face another stupid conversation about me picking my 'mates because they are posh'. They're not and it's irrelevant.

AIBU to just roll with it even though the principal of the thing is now making me really cross.

frgr Thu 02-Dec-10 21:48:54

YANBU. You want your friends to be the godparents for pretty good reasons, if your in-laws are disappointed with that after you've taken the time to explain your (reasonable) thoughts on it.... and if they still don't get it.. tough titties to them.

Your child, your choice. MIL and in-laws are fine to voice their input, but they're clearly not respecting what you've outlined here.

Their problem, not yours.

Stick to your guns.

SlightlyJaded Thu 02-Dec-10 21:49:08

Oh I should add that in the event that anything happens to DH and I, my parents would in all likelihood care for our DCs - with support from my two girlfriends (who are like sisters to me) and BIL and SIL. So the issue of 'godparenting' in that respect, is not the dealbreaker.

Oh I did not like even writing that down

MillyR Thu 02-Dec-10 21:49:35

Most of my children's godparents are family members.

You are not under any obligation to ask someone to be a godparent just because they asked you to be one.

You haven't asked your BIL and SIL. Tell them they are not godparents and if they want to attend to baptism they have to behave and stop being so childish and difficult.

Curlybrunette Thu 02-Dec-10 21:49:44

It's your children, your Christening, you decide. Tell them for once and for all that you have decided your friends will be the godmothers and that you want them to support your decision or keep quiet about it.

frgr Thu 02-Dec-10 21:50:34

p.s. i think this episode says more about their lack of respect for your wishes than anything related to who does or doesn't get to be god parents. <now goes and sits on hands before i say anything else>

grendel Thu 02-Dec-10 21:54:12

Well, speaking as someone who 'only' got my aunts and uncle as godparents, while my brother and sister got godparents who were my parents' friends, I remember feeling very short-changed as a child. They got extra presents from their godparents but I never did, and more importantly they had this extra relationship with adults outside the family while they were growing up which I lacked. My godparents never felt special to me, and I'm certain I was never very special to them - just another niece.

Still bitter about this 40+ years later? Oh yes.

mummyshreddingnora Thu 02-Dec-10 21:57:39

YANBU - just call her and explain she must have got the wrong end of the stick (Good luck with that!)

I felt the same, didn't have christening but naming ceremony... DH and I both agreed we wanted friends - ie people who didn't already have an 'official' role for our DC

Figgyrolls Thu 02-Dec-10 22:04:36

I find it odd to make family members godparents (and my uncle is my dsis godfather and my dad is my cousins gf), they are already family aren't they?

I couldn't agree more that godp's should be people who mean something to you and perhaps know you from different times!

I also find it weird to ask a married couple to be godfather and godmother to the same child, although we a married couple who one is gp to dd and one to ds.


BetsyBoop Thu 02-Dec-10 22:10:38

It's your decision who the god parents are, however you can have "extra" ones if you want.

I have three godmothers - apparently my DF & DM were discussing it & agreed on "Doris", DF thought DM meant his SIL Doris (which he should have realised was odd as her & DM never really got on) & asked her, but DM actually meant her cousin Doris, so rather than hurt feelings I had two godmothers called Doris grin and another godmother + godfather of course. (As it happens SIL Doris was a crap godmother/aunt & never even remembered my birthday as a kid, my other godparents were/are all fab )

godparent selection is a mine field of expectations & hurt feelings IME...

lazylula Thu 02-Dec-10 22:12:30

I think yabu in thinking that having family as godparents is a waste, but not unreasonable in not choosing family if that is not what you want. Ds1 has all family as godparents, ds2 has 1 family member and the rest are friends, it is what we chose for our children.

optimisticmumma Thu 02-Dec-10 22:14:31

YANBU. We have a mix of friends and aunts and uncles as godparents only because they are also friends etc. DO NOT be railroaded into something you don't want. I also think they are putting their own feelings ahead of yours....
BTW my children are now teenagers and our will has always stated we want the godparents, aunts and uncles and grandparents to 'have a summit' if anything happens to us to decide what to do. Unfortunately for my DHs 42 year old sister that is exactly what happened...
Whatever you do STICK TO YOUR GUNS!! xx

ElusiveMoose Thu 02-Dec-10 22:15:02

I agree that your BIL and SIL are being ridiculous about this - it's completely your choice, and the fact that they're kicking up a fuss about it would just underline the fact that I didn't want them to be godparents, if it were me. On the other hand, I don't have anything against family being godparents in principle. In our case, DS1 has my sister and my SIL as godmothers, and our best friend from university as godfather. But I'm rather at a loss as to what we'll do for DS2 (only 3 months ATM). The truth is, we simply don't have any other friends who I consider close enough to ask to be godparents. We've largely lost touch with other people from university, and although I have some close mum friends now, they're all relatively recent acquisitions (3 years or less), and I just can't predict yet whether I'll still be close to them in 20 years' time. Although I like the idea of a child having another adult from outside the family take an interest in them, it can backfire - DH's godfather was his father's best friend from university, but by the time DH was a few years old, they'd drifted apart, and I doubt his godfather would recognise him in the street these days (or vice versa).

Madinitials Thu 02-Dec-10 22:16:07

Good grief, they are already auntie and uncle, is that not special enough? And to have to "ask back"? Where do they get off?!

Stick to your guns and call SIL again to tell her that when you agreed to 2 godmothers, it was your best friends you were referring to, she (and MIL) needs to be told straight. Don't get drawn into it again.

Here endeth the sermon.

SirBoobAlot Thu 02-Dec-10 22:20:33

Blimey confused Tell them (and MIL) to bugger off, go along with what you have planned, or not bother coming.

Of course there is no obligation for you to then ask them - its not "swapsies" for goodness sakes.

Call her and tell her that she obviously misunderstood what you said.

SlightlyJaded Thu 02-Dec-10 22:25:15

I want to call her. I am just such a chicken unconfrontational person that I am dreading it. Everyone is smiling and jolly at the moment and I just hate having to be the one to say "actually, you can wipe that smile off your face, you misunderstood..."

Even DH has been sucked in. His view is now "oh just leave it. We can have one of your best friends for DS and one for DD and SIL can also be GM to DD"

Oh bugger. I hate stuff like this.

veget8ed Thu 02-Dec-10 22:27:56

I have just had DD2 aged 14 and DD3 aged 5 months baptised and DD2 did not have god parents as she was old enough to make her promises herself. The role of god parents is not to look after the child in the event of untoward events, but to be a positive role model and help them by example to lead a christian life. You should choose the people whom you think would best fulfil this role and firmly explain to your family the importance of the choice you have made for your children. If they have no respect for your choice ask them how do they think this reflects on them and the role of being a god parent!
Final note, be preparded for attending baptism classes before the vicar agrees, that is if you don't regularly attend church.

SirBoobAlot Thu 02-Dec-10 22:37:06

Give me her number, I'm in the mood for an argument grin

What date have you set? If its far enough away she will have time to cool down about it.

Its a horrible position to be put in. I kind of get where your DH is coming from, but think you have to stand your ground.

FingandJeffing Thu 02-Dec-10 22:38:14


It should totally be your choice and your family do sound precious. However in your shoes I would now just go along with it for a quiet life and try to forget all about it. Not worth a big family row over, however irritating they are being.

MrManager Thu 02-Dec-10 22:43:16

I agree with Madinitials, being both an uncle and godfather is overkill, no?

You should probably question whether to have a christening at all, seeing as the main reason seems to be appoint godparents (unless you're particularly set on taking the child to church regularly), and that's just giving you headaches.

SlightlyJaded Thu 02-Dec-10 22:46:15

SirBoob lovely - thanks. I'll PM you grin

SirBoobAlot Thu 02-Dec-10 22:51:04


GraceK Thu 02-Dec-10 22:57:50

Historically, the godparents should be unrelated & preferably from a different village - in case the entire family / village gets wiped out by the Black Death!

I've never understood asking uncles & aunts to 'double up' as godparents, after all they already have a role and the godparents should either be religious or of great value to the parents (or ideally both). My SIL's family do the 'family godparent' thing but they didn't christen their sons so we didn't have to ask them - thank the lord as she takes umbrage at the smallest thing. Part of the reason we had our DD's christened was so they would have close bonds with some of their parents' friends. I love mine - why else would I be excited about receiving a visit from some bloke my Dad went to uni with?

I think you should hold your ground & would have done myself if the situation had arisen but am glad I ducked the bullet. Good luck.

FifiForgot Thu 02-Dec-10 22:58:10

Neither of my children have relations as Godparents. DH and I agreed at the beginning that we didn't want related Godparents because they would already have a connection to the children. I have a fantastic relationship with my (un-related) Godparents, DH on the other hand has his Aunt and Uncle and doesn't because of family tensions.

MiL was a bit put out that DH's sister wasn't asked to be DD's Godparent, but couldn't say anything because neither was my brother! We asked some very close friends to be DD's Godparents and DS actually has the same ones (because we chose so well the first time wink!)

Stick to your guns, throwing a strop because "we asked you and you haven't asked us" is ridiculous. You clearly have good reasons for asking your friends, quite frankly, your SiL/BiL/MiL need to get a grip.

MumNWLondon Thu 02-Dec-10 23:10:02

Is there a limit to how many godparents your children can have? If not why can't they all be for the sake for family unity?

I do see your point though, doesn't seem much point in them being godparents if they are already aunt/uncle. But for whatever reason they are really offended and you can't change that so its up to you how much you care about them being being offended.

As example, many years ago when DH and I got married I initially said no bridesmaids but DH's eldery GM said oh I'm so excited as I have been promising M (DH's cousin) to be a bridesmaid when E (DH's uncle) gets married but he's still single so she can be your bridesmaid. We calmly explained that we didn't want any bridesmaids. Anyway next thing we knew we got a call from M's mother so excited as the GM had called her to say that we wanted M to be a bridesmaid. Not quite the same, but sometimes for the sake of family unity you have to let these things go. Now I am really really hoping that when M gets married (probably soon!) she'll ask my DD to be a bridesmaid. Sadly GM now deceased so she can't do reminding!

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