Hospital & Birth Etiquette

I have been sitting on this post for a few weeks, not being sure whether it was appropriate to share.  This is a subject that is now very sensitive to me after my own experience with labor, delivery and visitors.  I truly believe most people don’t understand the rules of etiquette when it comes to baby hospital visits and such, so if this can serve to enlighten even one person, I’m happy.

A few weeks ago I read this fabulous article from one of my favorite etiquette blogs, The Pink Teapot. Janine gives some awesome tips for Moms-to-be as well as potential visitors.  Some of my favorite points:

For the Mom’s to be:
  • It’s okay to say no.  There is no cause to be rude.  Although sometimes we have people in our lives who are pushy or overstep their bounds, we can plan ahead, thus helping to minimize the “drama”, let me explain:  the day you are in labor is the wrong day to discuss with your mother-in-law that you’d rather she not be in the room as you’re delivering your baby.  Think ahead of people who you need to discuss this with and have a candid conversation with them.  If you are unable to do so in person (because of fear or logistics), a sweet email, filled with excitement about the new baby and a clear invite or boundary given, will help ease that tension.
  • You need your rest:  This is more than an etiquette tip, it’s advice from a mother of four.  I so enjoy company and love people, but the 48 or so hours we spend in the hospital with a newborn baby combined with the annoying (but necessary) interruptions of the hospital staff, do not create a restful environment to begin with.  Mix in all kinds of visitors and you’re even more exhausted when you come home even if you thrive on people like I do.

For the Visitor (family or otherwise):

  • Please respect that it is not the end of the world if you are not there for the actual labor and delivery of your grandchild.  Although I understand it may feel that way, it’s simply not the time to be imposing on another person.  I remember my sweet mother-in-law and I having conversations about this when I was pregnant with my first child and I remember her being so respectful of my wishes.  I actually wanted her there just after, and we told the family we’d call them.  My husband’s family as well as mine respected that and we had all of our family around us within hours of my son’s debut into this world.
  • Please don’t ask if you can be there during labor and delivery- and don’t just show up.  Again, this is a private thing, a painful thing, a wonderful thing.  There are so many emotions wrapped up into this event that make it special.  It should not be intruded upon by someone else, no matter who that person is.
  • Don’t get your feelings hurt.  My wise mother always says, “remember it’s not about you, it’s about them”.  I am a tender-hearted person and I wear my heart on my sleeve, so I understand getting my feelings hurt, but this is not about you, this is about the person who is holding that little bundle of joy…remember that.
  • Don’t assume and bring children. It’s always best not to bring children to the hospital for so many reasons. They press the call buttons, run around, bring germs along with their sweet faces… none of these things are appreciated. A visit can always wait until they get home from the hospital so you can find someone to tend to your children to go and visit the baby and mother.

That was pretty lengthy, but I couldn’t really leave anything out! I love how she includes tips for both the mother and the visitors, because really, everyone could use some help in these awkward situations. No one wants to have a horrible birth experience!

I know the comment about getting your rest sure hits home (right, Kourtni, Colleen, Larissa, Kristen, Jennifer, Megan, Jimaie, Kristen, Shea, Lisa, Talia, Nanette, Liz, Natali, Molly & soon to be Crystal, Tristan and Kate? Whew!)

If I can stress one thing, it would be to accept the help that is offered to you.  Those first few days after you pop that baby out are so tough… DON’T TRY TO BE A HERO, lady.  If you have a mom, sister, grandmother or friend who is willing to watch the baby for even 2 hours while you get some rest, jump on that opportunity with no reservations.

Do you all have anything to add? Any good, bad, or ugly hospital experiences to share with the rest of us? A tip or two for the moms-to-be?

Frugal Gift Giving

I have issues when it comes to gifts.  Serious, elitist issues.  See, I like the recipient to know I spent time and put thought into picking out the absolute perfect thing, try to make sure I don’t come across cheap, and absolutely despise giving gift cards (can we say cop-out?).

The part I have the most difficult time with is the whole gift wrapping thing.  Shoving the item into a flimsy bag with a wad of tissue paper (or even worse… too little tissue paper) is like a dagger into my little snobby heart.  Of course, I’ve been known to do this if I’m in a pinch, but ONLY when absolutely necessary and ONLY with the cutest bag available (none of those plain, $1.99 Target crummy things).  Are you seeing the elitist thing coming out?  I’m ridiculous, I know.

Justin (a frugally-minded fellow) is highly bothered by this and likes to stress the point that we don’t have a ton of extra money to be spending on gifts for everyone we know.  He gets frustrated with me for wanting to give the gift that ‘little extra something’, when all those little extras add up.  This is also the same guy that wanted me to give a $10 gift card to his sister for her 25th birthday.  Yeahhh, we’re just not on the same page here.

I have come up with a little plan in an attempt to please everyone involved in this gift-giving fiasco — do it the Semi-Homemade way (à la Sandra Lee, minus the .15 blood alcohol level).  What I’m doing is purchasing either the gift wrap OR the gift, and while keeping a budget in mind, I make the other item.  It’s interesting to see how your creativity comes out when you’re working with a budget.  And the bonus: The recipient can see the time, thought and effort that was put into their gift.

A Recent Example:

Supplies before...

Basically, all I did was wrap the boring, plain box in some cute scrap booking paper, tied some ribbon around the edges and secured it with one of those super cute labels.  I LOVE those things!

The finished product

Happy Birthday, Mom!

How do you all keep gift-givings within your budget?   Is it rude of me to ask?

Etiquette Bits – On Rudeness

Being a rude little snot seems to be the cool thing to do these days. Amen?

Cashiers who don’t speak a word to you are number one on my list — ahh, it drives me nuts. It’s called Customer Service for a reason… if you have no people skills, get a new job.

Don’t even get me started on drivers who don’t signal before a turn, the ones who try desperately to sneak in front of you at the last minute to be at the front of the line at the light, OR the little devils who pace the car in the lane next to them making it IMPOSSIBLE for me to pass and causing me to be late to work because I was forced to go 25mph the entire trip (this morning).

Bitter, much?

The following tips on handling rude people and situations shed a new light on my own attitude — and the fact my slight overreactions seem to be compounding the problem (See #3 on the list below). My 10-second-minimum horn honking habit shows I’m not any better than the drivers I despise so much, apparently. Who would’ve thought?

5 Ways to Combat Rudeness

  1. Don’t take it personally. Perhaps the offender is having a bad day.
  2. Size up your annoyances. Is it worth it to make a fuss over something small, or is it a waste of your emotional time?
  3. Set a good example. Rudeness begets rudeness. If you speak sharply to the bank teller, don’t be surprised if you get the same treatment in return.
  4. Count to ten. When someone’s behavior makes you angry, take a few deep breaths and ask yourself, “Is it really worth blowing my stack over this?”
  5. Laugh it off. If you can’t come up with a friendly joke, just chuckle and change the subject.

From the brilliant Emily Post (& family)

Lesson learned:  We are the ones who need to go out and set the bar.  No eye rolling, whispers under your breath, or laying on the horn for unnecessary and ridiculous amounts of time to get the point across that you are unhappy (MORGAN).

A recent post by Kate over at Kate’s Wedding prompted this post idea.  If you have a minute, check out her blog — fabulouuuuuus.

Etiquette Bits – Lipstick at the Table


As much as I’ve preached the importance of etiquette and manners, I have to admit that I have made many a faux-pas in my day (the composition of that sentence is probably one in itself). A major complaint my family has is how frequently I reapply my makeup. My Mom, in particular gives me quite a hard time, reminding me that I don’t need ‘all that makeup’ (yes I absolutely do), and can’t understand why I would ever feel the need to apply powder more than once during the day (do the words oil slick mean anything to you?).

Anyway, a question that has been nagging me for quite some time is whether or not applying lipstick at the table after a meal is considered rude. Whipping out the compact and fixing my eyeliner I can understand, but what about a quick little dab of gloss? After doing a little research, I’m pleased to say I haven’t been behaving too terribly after all.

Helena Echlin writes an article called Table Manners, and I found these guidelines helpful in my quest for lipstick etiquette knowledge. She makes a few good points:

  • Generally, you should save grooming for the bathroom, but putting on lipstick is different because it isn’t unhygienic. Brushing your hair, flossing, and filing your nails — just don’t. Gross.
  • It’s important that you get the task over with quickly. A quick swipe of lipstick or gloss is acceptable, but fiddling around with a lip liner is not.
  • If you absolutely NEED a mirror, at least make sure that it’s cute and dainty (aren’t those darling?).

Emily Post would also add these tips:

It’s okay to quickly apply lipstick at the table if you’re with close friends or relatives in a non-business situation, and at a non-deluxe restaurant. In general, personal grooming should be done in private for the simple reason that it can be annoying and it’s tacky. But putting on lipstick without using a mirror and without fanfare is one grooming ritual that can sometimes be performed in front of others. Still, think first! When in doubt, don’t do it, such as when you’re at a business meal or with people you don’t know very well.

So basically, keep it quick, don’t draw too much attention to yourself, and when in doubt, make a trip to the restroom. That’s one place no one will judge you.

Because this isn’t just about my baby…

I realize I’ve been doing quite a bit of pregnancy posts lately — I’m just a tad consumed with it all, can you tell? In keeping with my Prissy side, I’d say it’s high time I speak on something that everyone can appreciate… Etiquette! Yayyyy. After all, what’s more ladylike than having manners?

As dull as it may seem, I can’t stress enough the importance of every day etiquette. It reaches far beyond ‘please and thank you’ & chewing with your mouth closed:

“Wherever two people come together and their actions affect one another, you have etiquette.”

– Emily Post

With the assistance of Emily Post’s Etiquette bible that my dear friend blessed me with on my birthday, I’ll have something new and useful (hopefully!) to share with all you wonderful ladies very soon.

And if you’re just DYING to see each week’s installment of Pregnant Morgan’s Expanding Waistline, never fear … I’m on a roll with my ghetto-work-bathroom-low-quality-cell-phone-pictures. Why stop now? :)