Baby godmamma drama

September 25, 2006 | 6 comments

Thank you all for your thoughts on my question about godparent etiquette. Your input actually changed the way I was going to handle the situation. I’d convinced myself that I just had to ask married couples in pairs, but after reading your comments I felt assured that it’d be OK to make my choices primarily on who would be most committed to strengthening my children’s faith.

I thought it would be smooth sailing from there. Never did I anticipate that the fact that I don’t know many religious people has actually made the process more of a social minefield.

Here is how conversations about the subject have generally been going. I didn’t have this exact conversation with anyone, but it’s a pretty good compilation of the types of things I’ve heard regarding this issue:

ME: So I’m thinking about asking cousin Tracy to be the baby’s godmother, and an old family friend to be his godfather.

THEM: What about Tracy’s husband, Ron?

ME: Umm, we’re having them baptized Catholic. Ron’s not Catholic.

THEM: Whatever, they were married in the Catholic Church. Just tell the priest he’s Catholic.

ME: Err, well, I don’t think it works that way. And, besides, it’s important to us that our children’s godparents take their roles seriously.

THEM: [Confused look]

ME: You know, that they’re supposed to support their godchildren’s faith, and if anything were to happen to us, to make sure the kids continue to be Catholic.

THEM: [Looks has if they’ve just heard that concept for the first time] Really? OK, well, I’m sure Ron would do that.

ME: Remember that appalling joke he made at the dinner table at Christmas last year? The one where the Pope walks into the bar and sees–

THEM: Oh, yeah, that was pretty bad. So maybe he’s not that Catholic. Or Christian. But you really need to make him the godfather. It will cause a lot of ruffled feathers around here if you don’t.

ME: [Bangs head into nearest solid object]

So, that’s how it’s going. I know that baptisms are supposed to be done soon after birth and that it’s supposed to be a smooth, quick process, but that’s not how it’s shaping up. Ah, the joys of being one of the very, very few Catholic couples in our familial/social network. 🙂


  1. Barb, sfo

    Yeah. I know. I totally feel for you there.

    I am godmother to 3 children and I have to say, it’s easy to see which ones were “political appointments.” And I am so honored by the one that wasn’t. I’m much closer to that godchild than the others. Probably I shouldn’t discriminate that way, but I can’t help it.

  2. Julie

    About baptizing as soon after birth as possible…if you can’t swing it, don’t stress about it. Circumstances were a bit wacky for us, so our first was baptized when she was four months old. No biggie. 😉

    Hope you didn’t hurt your head on that solid object…oy.

  3. Amy Caroline

    You know, it is simple going to have to come down to what is best for your child. Feathers might get ruffled, but you know what they have to get over it. The fact is that “Ron” should understand if he isn’t Catholic that he cannot be the godfather. You can be nice about it, of course. And if or anyone else doesn’t understand that… well, phooey. You have to do what is right. And they will all get over it.
    Good luck!

  4. SmartBlkWoman

    So what if feathers are ruffled? This is your child and you have to do what you feel is best.

    There is no such thing as the solution that makes everyone happy, so you have to make yourself happy and everyone else will just have to get over it.

  5. Kiwi Nomad 2006

    I just went to a funeral of a father of three young children. It was quite remarkable how the children were welcomed and involved in the whole service. The service was held in an Anglican church but I think the mother might be Catholic. Anyhow, at the beginning, the three children went up to light their baptismal candles that were then placed on their Dad’s coffin throughout the ceremony. Each child had a godparent who went up to help them with the lighting of their candle. Very special thing for a godparent to do with a child.

  6. 4andcounting

    I had to tell my sister that I wouldn’t be asking her to be a godparent to a child until she came back to the church. It hurt to say it, but we wanted godparents that would take their role seriously. Happily, she and her husband came into the church before my second daughter was baptized and they are her godparents.
    You have a right to say that this is important to your family and they can choose to respect that or not. Your child’s spiritual growth is more important than ruffled feathers.

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