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You Asked: Should I Back Out of Godmother Duty?

Dear Sugar,

I was recently asked to be the godmother of my cousin's first baby. I was thrilled and honored, and I accepted without any hesitation.

After telling a few of my close friends about my exciting news, I got a rather strange reaction that left me feeling awkward and slightly confused. They asked why she picked me because I "don't have enough money to spend on a godchild." Yes, I'm still in med school and I'm on a tight budget, but in my opinion, being a godmother is all about loving your godchild, trying to always be there for the child, taking the time to do things together and letting them know that they can always count on you. Of course, giving presents comes with the job, and I will enjoy spoiling him every now and then when I have more money, but my friends seem to think I am not fit for the job.

What do you think? Should I welcome the challenge regardless of my current financial situation or am I really just not fit for this role? — Conflicted Connie

To see DearSugar's answer


Dear Conflicted Connie,

Being a godmother means something different to everyone, but I happen to agree with your definition of the term — being there for the kids, loving them unconditionally, and being their confidant. It sounds like your friends have a different opinion, but remember that your cousin asked you to be this person in her child's life because she thinks you fit the bill.

Your first instincts were of joy and happiness, so don't let their judgment make you second-guess yourself. Embrace the challenge and just take it one day at a time. You won't be a student forever — one day you'll be able to spoil this child with gifts, but in the meantime, spoil him with love — that's what really matters. Good luck!


Join The Conversation
tinyspark tinyspark 8 years
You're in med school and on a tight budget? So what?! You're obviously a responsible, conscientious, hardworking person on her way to greatness. Go for it, it will be an incredible experience! Good luck to you.
Janine22 Janine22 8 years
Your friend sounds really materialistic and jealous!
bchicgrl bchicgrl 8 years
Wow since when does being a god mother to someone mean you have to have a lot of money. Your definition is 100% on, you are there for that child with love, support, and yes presents but it's your cousin's kid you would be buying them presents anyway. ha-ha
medenginer medenginer 8 years
It takes a village to raise a child. You seem very grounded and know what life requires. It's a very rewarding experience I would also share with my friends who could use some life lessons apparently.
Witchy-Ways Witchy-Ways 8 years
Well, according to the rules I know, being a godmother is basically being responsible for the child when parents are away (or dead) and to continue it's catholic/christian education. I don't see any sense in that which is why wouldn't want to be a godmother anyway... but seriously, it has nothing to do with presents (or maybe judging that is up to the parents of the child) so if you want to do it and the parents think you're the right person, why not do it?
Antimony Antimony 8 years
WTF @ those "friends"?? Your cousin obviously picked you for good reason!
Autumns_Elegy Autumns_Elegy 8 years
Very very well said skigurl.
luna08 luna08 8 years
Wow, they're so tacky! Get out of those friendships and enjoy being a godmother! Being a godparent used to mean that you would be a spiritual guide in case the parents died. It was an intimate family position since it meant that you knew the parents so well that they trusted you with their childs soul. Now its more about being an honorary auntie or uncle...again, a close family position. NOT a rich gift giver! Your cousin doesn't want your money, she wants your love for her child. My brother-in-law and sister actually "fired" their sons' godfather when he never once in the year that my nephew was fighting cancer asked about him. They asked a close (19 year old)family friend who cried over him and racked up miles of hospital trips to take his place. It's all about the love!
mehollowell mehollowell 8 years
They picked you for a reason.
jessie jessie 8 years
dearsugars advice is right on!
Michelann Michelann 8 years
I think you should ask your cousin what she wants out of you as her baby's godmother. I personally agree with your definition, and I bet your cousin will too. But if she thinks 'godparent' means 'gifts', then your inability to spoil the child might cause a problem. If the two of you agree on the job description, then it doesn't really matter what your friends think.
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
Money does not a godmother make. Yes, it'd be nice to be able to spoil your godchild with gifts, but you've got it right. You should spoil him/her with love. Your cousin asked you because she knew you'd love her child just as much as he/she will. Don't listen to your 'friends'.
lemamike lemamike 8 years
Do not back out! Being a godmother is great. I become one when I was a freshman in high school and now I am in college. I am not able to shower my goddaughter with gifts but we hold a special place in eachother's hearts. I make special time to take her places and do things with her. It is very special without material things. Make your relationship with your godchild more special than presents and definitely don't back out!
margokhal margokhal 8 years
Aren't godparents the ones who help rear the spiritual/religious wellbeing of the child? And become the guardians of the child, should something happen to the parents? Who cares what these people say! Of course being a godparent isn't about having tons of money! Your cousin obviously thinks highly of you and trusts you enough to be intimately involved with the child. She knows what she's doing. And as the mother of the child you will be mentoring/given charge of, I think the child's parents' opinions are the only ones that matter.
dm8bri dm8bri 8 years
What you stated about being a godparent is true - love, guidance and presence in the child's life is most important. However, it also means (at least in the past) that you will assume responsibility for the child should the parent(s) die. Now, of course, the parent(s) must actually state this in their will for it to be legally recognized (which can differentiate between a godparent and a legal guardian, as RunninginBoston stated). Maybe your friends were confused by that distinction? Otherwise, you should gently remind them that you aren't part of some mafia movie where the godparent buys the kid a luxury car on their 16th birthday, and accept your cousin's request with honor.
snow-flake snow-flake 8 years
Welcome the challenge!!
urban-chic-101 urban-chic-101 8 years
I'm still pissed my sis-in-law didn't ask anyone on my brother's side of the family to be my niece's god mother. The woman she chose isn't even in her life. I would give my life that kid.
Gdeeaz Gdeeaz 8 years
RunninginBoston. i thought the same thing as you. my godmother is also my legal guardian if something ever happened to my parents. and i think that might be what her friends meant when bringing up the money issue. OP... i agree with your definition of a godmother, and i am sure your cousin picked you because she knows you can handle it.
brielleblonde brielleblonde 8 years
i always thought of a godparent being the one who made sure you got your communion and conformation and looked after you in more of a religious sense...
TidalWave TidalWave 8 years
This is bizzarre! I agree with everyone!
RunninginBoston RunninginBoston 8 years
Um, are your friends confused about what a godparent is? Do they think it means that you are in the will and if anything tragic happens, you will be financially responsible for the child and they think you aren't financially capable of that? Because that would be a valid concern until you're out of medical school. However, godparents and legal guardians are two different things (although, sometimes they are the same people). My husband and I are in the will to become legal guardians of our relatives' children if they die, but we are not their godparents. They chose other people to be their godparents.
ang1885 ang1885 8 years
You don't just make someone a god parent because you feel like it. They thought about it and picked you. Your friends are idiots.
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 8 years
Are you kidding me? your friends suck. I was a student when my cousin asked me to be their gorgeous son's godmother -- really the only "official" duty I had was holding him at his christening. I get him things when I can, and will love him with that special title for the rest of his life. enjoy the honor!!!!!
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 8 years
Sigh. Ignore them.
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