Can you tell me a bit about you?
I'm 30 and single, living in the city. Most of my friends are getting married and having babies. Its been lovely sharing these life moments with them and I'm super proud to be a godparent for two of my friends' babies.
When were you asked to be a godparent?
I was first asked about 5 years ago for my best friend's little boy. I was chuffed to be asked and immediately said yes. My second godchild was born two years later and I was equally as chuffed to take on the role. Honestly I was and still am up for anything involved in being a godparent. They're great kids and I want to be there as an adult they can trust. I also wanted to continue the connections I had with their mums - something that definitely gets trickier as friends move away and have families.
Were expectations about your role discussed?
No expectations were communicated but my godparents were an important part of my childhood, and so I wanted to do the same for a new generation.
Can you tell me more about the relationship with your own godparents?
Me and my siblings had 3 GPs each, all with different levels of input into our lives. Some were really great at checking in and remembering birthdays etc. and it was always nice knowing you had another adult to go to or to have in your corner. Godparents were also someone we didn't have to share with our other siblings which I think was nice when you do have to share everything else.
What does it cost you to be a godparent?
For the Christening - including travel, accommodation, and gift - was £250 for each child as both were out of town. For Christmas and Birthdays - I started off strong at about £50 for each, but this has shrunk to about £20. More recently I actually only spent £7 on a birthday present - and she loved it! Visiting/Travel to spend time with them throughout the year costs probably around £300 a year on petrol/trains etc.
I also often end up paying for things like cinema trips, plus small gifts for visits and things like baking or craft supplies. Plus lots of time! I'm very guilty of thinking 'I'm sure they need the money more than me', and then not chasing the parents share of the cost…
How do you feel about the effort it takes?
I love my godkids and I wouldn't want to change anything about what I do. I just struggle with getting nowhere near what I give - in terms of my time and attention (and money)- in return. Both families now live several hours away but I'm always the one to travel. I'm also lucky to even get a text for my birthday, despite me sending gifts for the children and the mothers.
I get the feeling that because I'm single, childless and on a (modest) London wage, the assumption is that I'm totally carefree and rolling in cash, and my time doesn't matter as much. I get that parenting is ridiculously hard, so I would never want or expect things to be even, but a thank you or a birthday card would be so nice!
I was talking to another single friend about this recently and she said she has actually turned down offers to godparent now, as it was getting too much and it felt like more of a tick box than a request for someone to look after their child's wellbeing.
Have you talked to the parents about it, or do you plan to?
No and probably no...it's incredibly hard being a parent and the last thing they need is me being petty about the odd thank you, but I do try and show how grateful I am for these things if they do come through.
What advice would you offer to others who might be struggling with similar challenges?
That's tricky...it all depends on the individual relationship. But at the end of the day, no one is forcing us to do anything. If you feel that you can have a frank conversation about it without adding to their parental stress, then do. But equally - it's fine to just stop making the effort if you feel like it's having a real negative impact on you.
Would you still have accepted if you knew exactly how it would turn out?
Probably yes...it's just who I am! But I would definitely think carefully about GPing for any more kids. Luckily I don't see there being any more on the horizon!
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