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You Asked: I Want to be the Godmother!!

Dear Sugar--

I am faced with a family dilemma. I have a 6 year old niece, whom I love dearly and a brand new 4 month old nephew. These are my brother's kids, and my brother and I are very close. When my niece was born, I found out about 3 months later, that my sister-in-law had asked her co-worker to be the godmother. I was very hurt (I expected her to ask her sister, if she wasn't going to ask me) and it was very painful to go to the christening and see this girl, who I didn't even know, stand up there with my niece. I had to be the bigger person so that I didn't miss out on an important event in her life. My brother argued that because we didn't go to church every Sunday that I shouldn't be so upset. I was upset because I see that as a very big honor, and I wasn't chosen for it.

Time passed and 5 years later, we find out that my sister-in-law is pregnant again. The whole pregnancy, I am dying to find out who the godmother is going to be. Well, last week I get a call from my sister-in-law, asking me to be godmother...I was ecstatic! She told me that when she talked to the church, I wasn't a practicing Catholic so I could not be the godmother. I asked her if there was anyway around it, I am baptized, christened and all of that, I just don't go to church every Sunday. She insisted that there was no way around it and said that since I couldn't be it, that she was going to ask the babysitter instead.

So, after we hung up the phone, I thought there must be some way - this is so stupid. So I sent her an e-mail and told her to hold off on asking the babysitter. I contacted my local church and they said all I had to do was register with their parish and I could be my nephew's godmother. When I went back to my sister-in-law, she had already asked the babysitter (because she didn't get my e-mail in time) and she refused to go back on her word to the babysitter. She kept telling me that it would leave the babysitter heartbroken if she took it back and that I should look at it from her point of view, but I told my sister-in-law that she was doing that exact thing to me!

This has caused a huge riff in my family to where I don't even want to go to the christening. I couldn't bear to go through that again. She and my brother just don't seem to understand. I don't understand why she didn't look into it more if she really wanted me to be the godmother. She and I were best friends, but now we aren't even speaking. If I don't resolve this, I will lose contact with my niece and nephew for good. What should I do?

--Disappointed Dana

To see DEARSUGAR's answer

Dear Disappointed Dana--

I hate to break it to you, but for whatever reason, it sounds as though your sister-in-law doesn't want you to be her son's godmother. Her excuses, while somewhat valid, were not thoroughly researched or else she would have seen the small adjustments that needed to be made on your end in order for you to be their son's godmother, which it sounds like you were more than willing to do. On the other hand, since she chose her nephew's babysitter - not even a fellow family member - maybe this whole godmother thing really isn't as big a deal to her as it is to you.

This definitely requires a conversation with both your brother and his wife. Be honest and tell them how important this role was to you and how hurt you are. Maybe they can explain to the babysitter that they did ask you first, and since you're family, it makes more sense for you to be the godmother. Are they open to the idea of having more than one godmother? Perhaps suggest that as an option so no one's feelings get hurt.

If nothing changes after you have a heart to heart with your brother and sister-in-law, I think you should still go to the christening. Try to remember this event is for your nephew regardless of how upset you are with his parents. You might regret not being present later on down the road. I know you're really upset about not being the godmother, but being your niece and nephew's AUNT is also a huge honor. It's your relationship with them that matters - not your "title."


Join The Conversation
lilegwene lilegwene 10 years
Cindeela, the post makes it seem like its all about being the Godmother. Like, no matter what, you have to have it. It seems extremely selfish. Now that you've explained your side of the story, I see why you're upset. It's not about the position of Godmother so much as your position with your SIL. Have you been able to talk to her about this? Like, sit down over dinner/coffee/ice cream and just remind her that she is your best friend. That you care for her unconditionally, but that you're hurt. Tell her you understand why things changed, but you hope in the future she can handle similar situations it with enough foresight not to offer you the position. Remind her you are family, and that your bonds are stronger than any. Even though she shouldn't always take your side... she should be willing to fight for you, and at least explain everything to you. Maybe watch "The Godfather" together to remind her of those family ties! ;) Also, if she had to get off the phone before she explained that you couldn't be the Godmother, it could be possible that someone from her parish was calling on the other line. She could have been hoping as much as you, or almost sure that you could be a Godparent, and be very disappointed with this turn of events as well. Just communicate with her. If she doesn't give you any good answers, just distance yourself for a little while until you cool down. One of the things my aunt always tells me when I get stressed out -- "Honey, don't sweat the small stuff. And its all small stuff!!" In the scheme of things, your SIL's actions are a little shady, but don't let it ruin the wonderful relationship you have with that growing part of your family. Thanks for coming in here and clearing things up -- that takes guts after all of this criticism!! Good luck!!
cubadog cubadog 10 years
I stand by my original statement... Your feelings are hurt be a bigger person and get over it already. There is nothing you can say that is going to change the situation and I am sure she feels you stepped on her toes by calling a church to get the answer you wanted. Hey Sugar can you post what she originally wrote I don't think it would change anything but it would be nice.
bfly1133 bfly1133 10 years
Cindeela I think you are still missing an important point here. cubadog is right, you should not have called another church. Every church and parish is different, and just because one says you can be a Godmother does not mean a different one will let you. The reason I bring that up is because maybe your SIL doesn't know how to explain that to you and that is why she is sticking to her guns about the babysitter. Think about how hard it was to tell you the first time that her church won't accept you only to have to repeat it another time. Plus you don't know if you really could be the Godmother if the baby is christened at that church. You don't know what the circumstances are with the Priest. He already knows you don't attend church so the likelihood of him changing his mind is very slim. Also, if you hadn't called another church there wouldn't be a problem at all because your SIL wouldn't have to chose between the two of you. :) At this point I don't think I can offer any advice on how to speak to your SIL accept for just telling her that you are hurt because it seems like she cares more about the babysitter than you.
Cindeela Cindeela 10 years
Okay, obviously sugar decided to leave some important elements out of my submission. This whole issue is not even about being godmother (my SIL's sister never sees the kids and her being chosen isn't even an issue). The problem I am having with this is that my SIL called me and asked me to be the godmother, but then had to hang up right away and call me back because she was at work. I told all of my friends and was ecstatic! Then she called me back an hour and a half later to complete the conversation and explain that she wanted me to be godmother, but after talking with the priest, realized that I couldn't. I told her that I was disappointed but that I understood. She then went and asked the babysitter. When I came back to her not even 24 hours later to tell her that I could be the godmother (which I thought she would be happy about) she refused to go back to the babysitter and explain the situation. This what I am dealing with (regardless of the godmother title--that is not what I orginally meant and my post was changed). The fact that my SIL (who is my best friend) felt that it was okay to revoke something from me, but absolutely refused to go back to the babysitter and explain what happened is the problem. I felt like the babysitter's feelings were put in higher regard than mine. She could absolutely not go back on her word to the babysitter, but I felt that that was what she did to me. I am not going to be the godmother and I have accepted that. That is not what I wanted the post to be about. I wanted advice on how to talk to my SIL on how she handled things.
cubadog cubadog 10 years
I agree with almost everyone else. Your post totally bugs me as well. Grow up! I am guessing your an adult time to act like one. You are being petty and overbearing just because you have been baptised does not make you a practicing Catholic I hate to break it to you but there are still a lot of parishes that require the godparents to be active in the church. I can't get over the fact that you took it upon yourself to call a church. Your their aunt time to start acting like it.
lilegwene lilegwene 10 years
popgoestheworld, I completely agree and couldn't have said it better.
brielleblonde brielleblonde 10 years
i think that because u don't go to church... u shouldn't be the godmother. If ur SIL wants to have her kids be religious then she should have the godmother be someone who actaully goes to church and sets a good relgious example for the child. Plus being the godmother isn't that big of a deal. Usually non-family members are made them so they can give other people in their child's life a title to old. Your already the aunt, which holds responsibility... so stop complaining.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 10 years
I guess I'm too innocent because I can't imagine someone would "taunt" someone else with being a god mother. But people are crazy out there, so who knows. To me, it seems like the SIL wanted to let her know how important she was and that she would be godmother - if and only if - she was practicing the religion. I think it was her way of trying to mitigate the situation, not tease her. I am not religious, but if I were, and I wanted to choose a godparent, I would definitely want someone who was spiritual and practicing, not someone whose motivation to go to church is to hold the title of godmother. The bottom line is, the SIL made her choice, and it wasn't her. The right thing to do is to move on for the sake of the entire family and not let petty disappointment get in the way of what should be a happy occasion. What bugs me about this post is this sense of entitlement. Like she was expected or required somehow to pick you, and when she didn't you "were the bigger person" by going to the Christening? How is that being a bigger person? She didn't pick her own sister for crying out loud. End point: Just because you are hurt, doesn't mean she's in the wrong. Perhaps you should start going to church on Sundays and learn compassion, forgiveness, patience etc. instead of entitlement and anger. We don't always get what we want in this world.
grl-in-the-world grl-in-the-world 10 years
I think since you have no control over this siuation you kind of have to take what you can get. Sure your sister in law sounds odd, but those kids are your brothers children and will love you no matter what your "title" is. Aunt is forever, you should be happy with that.
calibabi calibabi 10 years
i don't know much about the title of "godmother" and what it entails, since i'm not catholic...but in any case i think you should definitely sit down and have a heart-to-heart with your brother and SIL. if you love their children, you need to get along with the parents so you can be a part of their lives in the future.
bluejeanie bluejeanie 10 years
i'm going to go with lickety split on this one. from what you've written, it looks like she's using the title of godmother to tease you. she knows how badly you want it and is taunting you with it by giving it to the babysitter (THAT is MESSED up). there's some sort of bizarre power struggle going on here that i don't understand because i'm not in your family but i'd let it go for now. the babysitter is NOT going to be part of the kid's life forever. she really isn't. not going to the christening would be letting her know that she really got to you. plus, that would totally alienate you from your in-laws for a long time. there really isn't anything you can do at this point, when things have cooled down you could try talking to her about it.
smith3 smith3 10 years
Have you ever listened to what people promise when they become godparents? It's an enormous commitment to bring up a child within the church the parents have chosen, and to reject the devil. If you're not a practising Catholic and don't don't believe in those things why would you even want to be a godparent? Don't think I'm a religious fanatic -- I'm an atheist myself, and for that reason would never want to be a godparent -- I couldn't make a promise to friends or family that I had no intention of keeping, and I think it would be deeply disrespectful of their faith and their choices to demand to be a part of it.
lickety-split lickety-split 10 years
jen, i gotta disagree with you on this one. and coming from a family of people who don't "do the right thing", i have to say i feel for the writer here. to me it sounds as if the role of godmother is being used to taunt and hurt you. i have 3 girls in a VERY catholic family, 2 nieces and a nephew and guess what; you can have more than one godmother. one of my girls godfather is a priest, the other god parents are faimily members or life long friends. i see the co worker and baby sitter (are you freaking kidding me with someone on the payroll as godparent?) as a real slap in the face to you. you have every right to be insulted. we have one god parent who hasn't been to church in 20 years (health reasons) so i doubt the practicing part is true. your sil sounds like a bitch and your brother is being led around by her. why in the world would SHE call you rather than your own brother???? i'm guessing there are many other family issues and this is the result of those. when you have children they will see how it feels to be excluded from significant events and you might get an apology at some point. i would drop the issue of god mother with your brother. the real issue here is control and your sil has it all here. go and be happy and leave things as they are. in a couple of years when the babysitter is referred to as "what's her name" and the co-worker no longer has any contact with them you will have your chance to be smug. my middle daughter just had her first communion last weekend (as did one of my nieces) and the godparents have a big role in that mass. you might just get to be a godmother down the road :)
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 10 years
She didn't even pick her own sister. Doesn't that make you feel better? I agree with Jennifer76 - I think you are being out of line. Also, maybe she wants people that live really close, or maybe she wants to include as many non-relatives in the baby's life as she can, knowing you and her sister will always be there. This isn't about you, and you can't make it about you. Your feelings are hurt, yes, but hurt feelings aren't worth a rift in the family.
nicachica nicachica 10 years
i'm godmother to my sister's second born (my cousin BEGGED to be the godfather for the first kid and my bro-in-law's two sisters were the godmothers). ummm...the duties are honestly not that much besides some babysitting and playing and generally loving my godson/nephew. just because my niece (the firstborn) isn't my goddaughter doesn't make me love her any less. in fact, her godparents don't even do much with her so really, i fail to see why this is such an issue. i guess my experience is much more casual. i agree with all of the other need to get over this and have an honest talk with your brother and sister-in-law. i hope it works out for you.
callmehoney callmehoney 10 years
i agree with just seems like you are being very childish. you can't make it an all or nothing situation. how can you say that your niece and nephew will lose you forever if you're not a godmother to one of them? it's just incredibly unfair and selfish.
Marci Marci 10 years
Sometimes you just have to suck it up in life despite hurt feelings. The bigger picture here isn't about you but the emotional well-being of your nephews and/or nieces. I am a fabulous and favorite aunt but I'm not the godmother to any of my nieces or nephews. Yes, my feelings were hurt every single time, but in the end, all I really cared about was having a good relationship with my nieces/nephews and their parents so that they had a strong family unit. Godparent is a title that is an honor, but not all godparents live up to that honor. Yet you can still live up to all that and more as the aunt. I recommend not getting caught up in the title and do recommend getting caught up in being an involved aunt. It worked for me and I have very loving, special and rewarding relationships wth all my nieces and nephews.
purplesugar purplesugar 10 years
I agree that it is childish of you to skip out on the baptism just because you aren't the godmother, but I do wonder about your SIL's reasoning in picking non-relatives over relatives to be godparents. I can understand how you'd be hurt. I have thirty neices and nephews and am still not a godmother, but I haven't missed one of their baptisms (that I was able to attend at least), of course, I have older brothers and sisters who are all godparents to one or two of them, so I'm just waiting for my turn - and loving all my neices and nephews just the same.
boxem180 boxem180 10 years
Though I can sympathize but I have to go with jennifer76 on this one. You're already the aunt and that's an amazing thing in itself. Like you said, if you don't get over this, you'll miss out on a lot and missing out in the christening would be something you will regret for a long time to come.
jennifer76 jennifer76 10 years
In fact, I have to add more. This post really bothers me. I can't believe that you're being so petty that you're going to refuse to go to your own nephew's Christening. If you're that ready to go skip out on your Aunt duties, I can see why people would be hesitant to name you their child's godmother. And what right do you have to decide FOR your SIL that if she isn't going to name you, she should name her sister. This is so unbelievably controlling and petty, that I'm just irked.
jennifer76 jennifer76 10 years
Some people - like you - see the godmother as just an honorary thing that makes you feel special. And some people - like maybe your SIL - see the godmother as someone who is supposed to be actively involved with the spiritual upbringing of the child. If that's how she feels, and you aren't a practicing Catholic, I think you're being awfully pushy here. You're already the Aunt. What could be better than that??
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