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I want to 'resign' my Godchildren

(66 Posts)
thesaurusgirl Thu 20-Feb-14 19:31:12

Long and strange post coming up. Not something I can discuss with people in real life as I feel slightly ashamed.

I was confirmed at school. I love the ritual of worship and go to weddings, funerals and baptisms, but I haven't taken communion for nearly twenty years. I continually wish I still had my faith, but it seems to have petered out in adulthood. Now I would really describe myself as an agnostic.

Nonetheless, I am a good Godmother to five children. I make a fuss of the children when I see them, and sometimes take the older ones out to treats such as lunch or the ballet. I give generous presents at Christenings, generous presents for Christmas, and generous presents for birthdays.

In the last year, I split with my long-term partner, finally got a big promotion, and moved into my own place.

The parents of four of these children barely acknowledged these massive life events (all of which were incredibly stressful and upsetting at the time, although I'm now finally reaching the point where I can see they were all for the best). None of them have made plans to socialise with me at events that do not involve their children.

Their indifference has left me feeling hurt, sad, embarrassed and resentful. All bar one of the friendships have long been social rather than close, but now they just seem totally one-sided. I feel I've been manipulated into maintaining these empty friendships through the Godmother relationship, which is rather lucrative for them but gives me little pleasure.

Frankly, there are other children in my life that I like more, and whose parents have closer relationships with me. I'd now like to concentrate my time and energy (and spending!) on them, not on people too selfish to even bother texting me to ask how I am in tough times.

The birthdays of two of my Godchildren are coming up shortly and I'm sorely tempted to 'forget'. I do receive thank you cards, but not one child - or their parents - has ever remembered my own birthday. Petty I know, but it just emphasises the one-sided nature of the relationship. I want to quietly drop their parents, and the parents of the other two, from my social circle.

But part of me - schooled in the Church and still beset by religious guilt now and then - is agonising. It is wrong to punish the children because I'm upset with their parents, isn't it? I'm angry at the materialistic nature of this relationship, but perhaps I have encouraged this by being so generous?

Yet I'm finding it hard to accept the hypocrisy of maintaining meaningless friendships too.

Oh God <there I go again> what do I do?

MardyBra Thu 20-Feb-14 19:33:52

Personally I would just cut back a bit rather than making a formal resignation. It's not the kids' fault that the parents haven't interacted with you in the way in which you would like.

sadbodyblue Thu 20-Feb-14 19:34:03

stop the angst and yes only keep up with the ones you see.

I don't see my one god child now. he must be 22 but his parents moved away and we lost touch.

sure he's managed without us.

prettybutclumpy Thu 20-Feb-14 19:34:18

I can see where you're coming from on this. It is not the childrens' fault, but their parents have really let you down. I'd stick to cards through the post and spend your time on adults, and their children, who really matter to you.

nancy75 Thu 20-Feb-14 19:34:51

Send a card and a £10 gift voucher.

It would be interesting to see if the parents suddenly get in touch if you forget a birthday

AtrociousCircumstance Thu 20-Feb-14 19:35:00

Perhaps you could downsize the gifts significantly and send a card this year?

Then next year just a card?

I think you have every right to feel as you do. Don't feel bad about it at all.

LaurieFairyCake Thu 20-Feb-14 19:35:01

Cut down on the material stuff - send a card and a fiver. Being a godparent is providing something different, a relationship they can rely on. And that part is not to do with their parents.

On a separate note, their parents are crap friends - I'd drop them if you're not close.

thesaurusgirl Thu 20-Feb-14 19:35:32

It wouldn't be a 'formal resignation'. I'm too cowardly for that! I was just planning on becoming increasing forgetful...

Logg1e Thu 20-Feb-14 19:36:29

Just drop the parents, but I would carry on sending, say, Christmas cards to the godchildren as a way of keeping in touch.

wombat22 Thu 20-Feb-14 19:36:51

I did a similar thing with my nephews/nieces. They are adults now and have never even sent a text to wish me happy birthday or to thank me for their presents, so I just stopped buying for them. One of my brothers questioned it and i said that there was too many of them and as they got older they needed my gifts less. Just "forget" to buy for them and see what happens. We spend too much time trying to please others smile

FlirtingFail Thu 20-Feb-14 19:39:13

I utterly understand how you feel. You have every right to. People can be real arses.

How about sending a card and a 'meaningful' book e.g. one you liked when you were their age? That's not such a big commitment of money, time or energy as you are currently putting in, but you can still feel like you are doing the decent thing.

FlirtingFail Thu 20-Feb-14 19:39:37

And yes, drop the parents.

Chocotrekkie Thu 20-Feb-14 19:43:28

I would gradually withdraw - so a present for say half the amount you usually spend and don't make an effort to see them.

But I am not religious at all and don't have godchildren.

I think this is just what happens with friends - you are very close to people at certain points in life - then as your lives go on and things happen you just grow apart.

Your own life takes over so when you got a new job for example they were worrying about choosing a pre-school. They have become focused on that so are chatting to others with kids the same age who live in the same area. You starting a new job isn't on their radar - jobs don't affect them at this time. They probably aren't doing it deliberately and may be hurt to think they have hurt you.

There are some people who stay close to you forever but in my experience this is rare and usually based on changes happening together - so you both meet a partner, have kids at the same sort of time etc.

drnoitall Thu 20-Feb-14 19:44:46

Jeepers! The godparents of my dc don't send regular gifts and neither would I want or expect them to. It's about being a good role model and a shoulder if they need it.
There a masses of pretty trinkets that costs very little, perhaps you could send something meaningful and a card.
You should not being feeling guilty.
Unfortunately life moves quickly, and sometimes people don't find the time to keep up, which is shame.

HoneyandRum Thu 20-Feb-14 19:46:58

As true godparents are about supporting a child in their spiritual life it shouldn't be a relationship based on a load of material stuff anyway. Sending a card is perfectly fine, just showing that you're thinking of them and care about them is all that is needed - especially as you are agnostic.

thesaurusgirl Thu 20-Feb-14 19:48:19

Thank you for the replies. I did wonder whether I was being petty in feeling the way I do, so it's a relief to have so many of you sympathise.

The mother of the fifth child is my best friend and says I should send the children a goat from Oxfam, as the children won't notice but the parents will soon get the message!

SauceForTheGander Thu 20-Feb-14 19:48:50

Would you consider much smaller gifts rather than dropping the gifts altogether?

impatienttobemummy Thu 20-Feb-14 19:49:48

I reduced the amount as I have been in the same situation it's now a card and a £10 voucher

impatienttobemummy Thu 20-Feb-14 19:50:17

The children will notice you 'forgot' and could be hurtful

thesaurusgirl Thu 20-Feb-14 19:50:34

With regard to the presents and treats, I went a bit overboard with the first Godchild (my bestie's daughter), and then felt I had to treat all of them equally.

Think I was 'appointed' by at least two couples who saw how generous I had been with Christening gifts in the past, so perhaps I do only have myself to blame.

curiousuze Thu 20-Feb-14 19:51:23

It's a bit passive aggressive to stop the cards and treats for the children. I think that would be a shame. People get busy and drift along not realising they've let friendships slip - was it all onesided or were you not trying to make plans with them either? Just sounds like they've been thoughtless.

To be fair I wouldn't expect friends to be all worried about me or ringing up etc etc because I moved or got promoted. In fact I have a sneaking suspicion that many of them don't really know what my job is...

thesaurusgirl Thu 20-Feb-14 19:56:23

I do take your point about ordinary friendships failing, but the Godparent relationship is anchored with religious vows, it isn't a casual friendship built on common ground at an NCT meeting.

As BF pointed out, all the parents managed to text me when their children were having birthday parties. And they couldn't have been unaware of my split with ex-DP, even if they didn't know or care about my troubles at work.

thesaurusgirl Thu 20-Feb-14 19:57:12

Sorry, should have been clearer, the relationship is as much with the parents as the children. It says so in the vows.

thesaurusgirl Thu 20-Feb-14 19:58:48

Will the children notice? All are under five.

chesterberry Thu 20-Feb-14 19:59:42

From what you've written you would not be unreasonable to decide to 'drop' the parents of your godchildren and I don't think you should feel an obligation to give gifts or to be generous with the gifts you do give. My parents have completely lost touch with some of the godparents of my siblings and I and they did not all send birthday/ Christmas etc gifts for the duration of our childhoods. Friendships can break down over time and I don't think it is always possible to foresee when your children are christened as babies who you will still be friends with several years down the line and I don't think it is that unusual, especially in families where Christening is done more as part of ritual (as it was in mine) rather than because there is a very strong faith.

If you wish to maintain a relationship with your god-children and their families then perhaps you could just continue to send a card and a small gift to mark birthdays and Christmas but otherwise if you really don't feel the families of your god-children are making an effort you shouldn't feel obligated to keep sending things. It should not be your sole responsibility to maintain the relationship and it does sound like your time, effort and money would be better spent on the children of friends who do have time for you, regardless of whether they are your godchildren or not.

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