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Should I Fire My Daughter's Godmother?

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Anonymous: When I was pregnant with my daughter, Josie, we carefully considered whom we would ask to be her godparents. My husband wanted his best friend to be the godfather, so I selected my good friend Kara as godmother. She was a spiritual person whom I thought could give my child some guidance later on when my daughter and I weren't seeing eye-to-eye.

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Kara was honored that I asked her, and accepted. At first, she was dedicated. She was right there when my daughter was born, and for the first seven years never missed a birthday, Halloween, Valentine's Day or Christmas. When Josie was old enough, Kara started taking her on a yearly "godmommy-goddaughter" outing for shopping and lunch. Josie had Kara's number memorized and would call her to talk about friends, or a boy she liked, or the test she'd aced, and whenever we'd be on the phone, Kara would always ask to talk to Josie before she hung up. 

They had a great relationship. It warmed my heart, and I congratulated myself on choosing someone so into the job (especially since Josie's godfather has been absent since day one). But two years ago, things started to change, and my daughter was left wondering why "Aunt Kara was mad" at her. After I sent out my yearly Halloween potluck invite, Kara wrote back to say she couldn't make it, because she was going to a party in her own neighborhood. I couldn't believe it! She'd always been so excited to come on Halloween! And then it was time for our trip to San Francisco for Josie's 10th birthday -- an event we'd been planning for years -- and she e-mailed and said she had to cancel because of a "work thing." 

My daughter was crushed, and I was left wondering if I'd made a bad choice in choosing Kara as a godmother. (It wasn't just those two things, by the way, that made me feel the way I do. There are several other instances, too.) Is it just too big a commitment to be a good godparent? I get it, kind of. Being present in a child's life -- one who's not your own -- is not an easy thing, especially when life gets to be ... well, life. But why say yes in the first place? 

My daughter is hurt, and I feel betrayed. I didn't choose my friend on a whim, and now she has let us both down. I thought I had made a good pick! Has anyone out there gone through this? I feel like calling her and telling her to forget the whole thing, that I'm officially firing her as Josie's godmother. What do you think?

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17 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous November 18, 2010, 8:25 AM

Call your friend and find out how she’s feeling. Maybe she has other things going on in her life right now. Maybe she thinks you’re expecting too much. Maybe you did something that irritated her.

I think very few people would be willing to do as much as your friend has done for someone else’s kid. I don’t think she really owes you anything and I don’t see where it would get you to fire her. Figure out what level of commitment she is comfortable with and help your daughter adjust to it. If you think your friend owes your daughter more, it will probably hurt your daughter.

Anonymous November 18, 2010, 9:06 AM

Um, I think you maybe need to get over yourself. Godparents really aren’t obligated to do anything but be there for the baptism. Sounds like you had a very demanding schedule for her - like a 2nd mother - and maybe she wanted a life of her own. Or maybe just adult time with YOU - not just a constant babysitter for your child. Did you maintain your friendship or just expect her to care and bond with your daughter?

Lisa November 18, 2010, 9:29 AM

I think you were expecting way too much and maybe she’s just exhausted. Being a godparent is usually largely symbolic, and it’s supposed to be about giving spiritual guidance, not taking your daughter on shopping trips. Your friend might be trying to tell you that she wants to be relieved of the duty.

Melissa November 18, 2010, 9:32 AM

I so understand.. Would love to fire the couples that are godparents to our sons (so far the ones for our daughters have been good). Our oldest’s didn’t even come to his first communion earlier this year. And our other son’s godmother has unexplainably stopped talking to us. The hard part is we didn’t have a lot of people to choose from to begin with.

Jaime November 18, 2010, 9:36 AM

My godparents were never around or there for me like that growing up. My godmother is my moms best friend and a mother of one of my good friends. While I know that I can trust her and talk to her, once I was older than 9 I realized that it was not a required relationship for me to have to grow up. We still talk occasionally and of course love each other. But you get your own life and as a child you start to pick who is important in your world and who you can trust and you don’t need your parents picking for you. Your daughter just needs to honestly be told that sometimes people have other commitments. Maybe she wants to start thinking about a family of her own and not be such a staple in yours.

I think it is your responsibility to tell your kid that she was there for her all through her childhood, and that she will probably continue to be there for talks, proms, grads etc, but that sometimes people need to do whats best for them. Even if it is selfish and doesn’t serve you. A ‘godparent’ is not a substitute parent. its a fancy name for someone who will sponsor the baptism and hopefully be there as spiritual aid in the years to come.

Dee November 18, 2010, 10:30 AM

I don’t think you should fire her I think you need to sit down with her a have a talk to see what’s going on maybe she’s having some personal issues going on in her life right now and if that’s the case than ask her if she can talk to Josie to let her know that it’s nothing she did and that she still love her but she is dealing with some personal issues right now. People are so quick to give up before finding out what the really problem is if your friendship means that much to you and your daughter than try to talk to your friend before giving up on her because you said it yourself she was always there so it sounds to me like something is going on.

JoLynn November 18, 2010, 11:42 AM

It sounds to me she has let you down in a big way as a friend. After letdown after letdown you just get tired of it. I can relate. My child’s godmother has not been there for her and has not seen her in a full year. I think once she had kids of her own, mine took a backseat.

Renae November 18, 2010, 11:51 AM

I don’t understand why my goddaughter’s mother is so demanding. I’m starting to feel like I’m a sub so she came go out..

Anonymous November 18, 2010, 12:00 PM

Wow and we wonder why kids today are so entitled!! She is a godmother - a symbolic title - not a mother. She was very generous with her time and now she’s probably just tired of being expected to shell out her time and money.

Carol November 18, 2010, 2:57 PM

I agree with the second Anonymous, Lisa and the third Anonymous posters.
The God Mother did a lot for your daughter. Be grateful. She may now have a busier life or sufferred a financial set back.
Has she stopped all contact with your daughter?
And sorry, it’s too late to “fire” you freind as Godmother. And over what exactly, a skipped holiday and trip? In ten years? Get over yourself, please for the sake of your daughter.

renee November 18, 2010, 3:16 PM

godparents arent supposed to be your childs best friend or a 2nd parent or a gift giving,vacation taking,never ending bank.they are supposed to be a spritual advisor of sorts. be there for baptism and then be there to ensure the childs religious education is carried out, thats it nothing more. the modern version of godparenting is what you expected your friend to be,your wrong,she may not be. and why dont you call and ask? maybe she is busy with her own cant expect her to be there all the time for yours.

ally November 19, 2010, 10:28 AM

i disagree with many of the prior posts. godparents should be there for the children WAY beyond the baptism. maybe not for shopping trips, every holiday event or party, etc. traditionally weren’t godparents caretakers for children should anything happen to the mother and father? i think they should be there, maybe not so much emphasis on the spoiling factor, spiritually supporting, emotionally supporting, and overall just a part of the child’s life. maybe you should talk to your friend to see what’s going on, maybe something is going on in her own life…maybe she feels the love has not been reciprocated…? either way there has to be a balance, and firing shouldn’t be an option before you know what’s going on. also, think about your daughter. it would be sad to cut her completely out of her life if she has a legitimate reason for being absent lately.

Kasey November 21, 2010, 12:34 AM

I’m a godmother to 4 wonderful kids and I love them to death and spend at least a few days a week with them, but I’m also their mother’s best friend and don’t have kids of my own. I’m able to dedicate pretty much my entire life to her and her kids because I’m young, I work from home, and I’m single. Once that changes, I’ll still love them and want to see them but I’ll expect her to be willing to do the same for my kids as well, and to understand that life does get busy. Even though I love all of them there are simply times and days where I don’t want to be with them. Maybe I’m tired, maybe I’m low on funds, or maybe I just want to be in my pajamas all day. Either way, you’re acting really entitled and ridiculous and if you want to know what is going on, don’t write a blog - ask her.

Also, at JoLynn, um, of course your kids took a backseat to hers. Duh.

Kim November 28, 2010, 5:41 PM

I’m going on 18 in a week; is that legal age to fire MY godmother? She’s being a real pain!!!

Anonymous December 14, 2010, 9:47 PM

I don’t know how you should react to that, since my family is having a bit of trouble with our godmother, too. She’s never really fit into any type of ‘godmother’ role, and although lately she’s been trying to force her way back into our lives after years of total silence and absence with gifts and advice (which I’ll admit here is quite unwanted) and it turns out she’s been going behind our backs for years with strangers with OUR personal issues and making life-changing decisions—with our lives. So - good luck with your godmother issues. I’m starting to think the whole ‘godparent’ thing is a bad idea…

Kindergarten To Senior Picture Frames January 6, 2011, 1:12 PM

If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend.

Ashli Topia March 30, 2011, 3:20 PM

Incredible write-up,I do think you have for sure built a web page I need to return to repeatedly. Keep it up.

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