There are lot of parents who choose godparents, religious or not. It’s a sweet ceremony that can create a bond between your baby and someone close to you for a lifetime.
I’m a cradle Catholic. I love the premise behind baptism. And because I’m afforded through my religious upbringing all of the pre-qualifications for baptizing a child, I thought, Why not?!
My desire to baptize my daughters was not deeply religious. The old Catholic in me wants to confess to you, dear readers! Gasp! I baptized my kids in an old cathedral to have the beautiful ceremony. I did it to celebrate the baby. I baptized my kids so that they could have a special bond with two other people besides me and their dad. That’s it. How many Hail Mary prayers do I have to do for that?
Forgive me, mamas, for I have sinned.
I wasn’t afraid my kids were going to go to hell if they weren’t baptized. I wasn’t motivated by religious duty. I wasn’t moved by God to do it. I don’t believe in any of it.
But let’s be clear, this is not a debate about God or religion.
This is, however, a proclamation to call out all godparents who royally suck at their jobs as godparents.
As a person who has godparents, and has been asked to be a godparent (I declined), and a person who picked godparents for my own kids, I’d say I’m pretty much a GP expert. I have a pretty good handle on all the types of godparents out there in the world because I’ve encountered them.
Here are six types of godparents who suck:
1. The Ghost Godparent
These are the ones who were all gung-ho at the ceremony, but cannot be found after. They can’t even bother to drop a line on Facebook. They’re indifferent to the relationship. No need to force it.
2. The Godparent Who Thinks They Are the Parent
Whether they’re actually a parent themselves or not is not the point. Their unsolicited advice on a regular basis is the gawd-dang problem here. Holy hell, back off godparent who doesn’t know boundaries. Note: If their intentions are good, forgive them for they have only slightly sinned by being a self-righteous dickhead. This relationship needs work, but I believe it can be mended.
3. The Godparent Who Was Your Friend, But Isn’t Your Friend Anymore
For whatever reason you and your BFF ain’t BFF anymore. Maybe the rotted relationship was caused by a bad fight, or more simply, the friendship has run its course. Either way, can you say awkward? What do you do? Grant visitation rights to your kid if you and your friend aren’t speaking? Do you try to reignite the fizzled-out friendship for the sake of saving the godparent relationship? Do you just keep it movin’? This is a tough one. I say if there are no hard feelings involved, fake it ‘til ya make it.
4. The ‘I’m Broke’ Godparent
No one’s expecting godparents to shell out exorbitant amounts of money on their godbabies. No one’s expecting gifts from the godparent. But, announcing that you’re broke all of the time makes the parents of the children feel bad, like they somehow are to blame for putting financial pressure and obligation on the godparent. Gifts are not all the parents care about—not even a little bit. When godparents continuously proclaim their poor financial status, it minimizes the meaning of the relationship between them and the kid. We don’t care that you’re broke, we just want you to stop talking about it.
5. The Rich Godparent
The one who makes you look like shit because they spoil the ever-living hell outta your kid. The indulging and spoiling are so bad, so extravagant that your kid is practically waiting for you to croak. They’re secretly hoping you’ll kick the bucket so they can live with their “never-say-no” godparent
6. The Preachy Godparent
Listen, I know the whole godparent thing is rooted in religion. I get it. But, please don’t use your title and your privilege to preach all day about spirituality and religion to my child. Last I checked, I’m still the parent, which means I’m in charge of teaching things—especially religion. A godparent’s role is to witness the ceremony and support. Be a back-up spiritual/religious coach, not the front-runner.
There’s nothing you can do about a lousy godparent. You can’t re-baptize your kid and pick someone else. You can’t strip the title from them. The only things you can do are 1) pray for them (that’s my religious response for all of you believers out there. I am not a believer, but I believe in respecting and being open-minded to other people’s beliefs. So there.
Or, 2) make up for shitty godparents by filling your kids’ lives with other people who love and support your kids. These can be adults in the community, friends of the family, people you’re close to. As long as your kids are surrounded by kind and supportive adults, you don’t really need the whole godparent thing in your life or your kid’s life. Is it nice? Mostly, yes. Is it necessary? No. People change. Preferences change. Relationships change. Instead of dwelling on the no-good godparent, move on and embrace the village, your tribe of inspirational and loving parental stand-ins.
So do my kids have good godparents? If I must confess, only gawd (I’m from New York—that’s how we say “God”) knows.