Pregnancy and Beyond: On choosing godparents

By Patty Adams Martinez, 

Zach Braff’s longtime buddy, and former Scrubs costar, Donald Faison bestowed upon Zach one of the greatest honors a parent can give someone: the title of godfather. In true celeb fashion, Zach turned to Twitter to announce the big news with an adorable photo of him and baby Rocco (similarly, Jaime King recently announced that Jessica Alba and Topher Grace are her son James’ godparents on Instagram). The funnyman couldn’t resist a silly caption: “Me and my god son. Made with @donald_faison’s sperm.”

But choosing Godparents is no laughing matter, and it can be a daunting task—one that takes more thought than you’d think. It’s not just about picking your sister or your BFF, you really need to think about who will be the best fit for your family in every way.

Godparent means different things to different people, so first think about what it means to you. Are you looking for religious role models who will give your children spiritual and moral guidance throughout their lives? Do you want your baby’s godparents to be emergency guardians in case anything should ever happen to you and your baby’s dad? Or do you just want your children to be surrounded by people who love them, and who will be there during the most important events in their lives—basically, a second set of supportive loved ones to talk to and confide in? Or are your ideal godparents all of the above?

Proximity is something to consider too. If someone lives across the country, can they be as big of a life influence on your child as someone near by, who can make it to every game, recital or birthday? Or if something does happen to you, are you ok with your child being uprooted to move to another city or state (though obviously where someone lives now doesn’t mean they’ll be living there forever anyway)?

Do you want godparents who are very similar to you? Or would you prefer them to give your kids a new perspective on life that is different from yours but still compliments it? How involved do you expect them to be?  For instance, your ER surgeon/former sorority sister that you’ve loved and treasured for years may not be able to be as present in your baby’s life as someone with a less crazy job.

There are so many questions to ask yourself before deciding. It’s good to start thinking about it while you’re pregnant, so hopefully you have ones chosen by the time the baby is born. Confession time: my son’s 16 months old and my hubby and I still haven’t settled on godparents. At this rate, he could have a wife before he has a godmother!

Thanks to our partners at for sharing this blog.

What criteria did or would you use in picking godparents for your child?


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6 Responses to “Pregnancy and Beyond: On choosing godparents”

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southern.maple Says:

December 18th, 2013 at 9:30 am

Confession: I had no idea what “godparent” meant until very recently. I was always under the impression that “godparent” referred to someone who was like a parent to you or just a very close family friend. The idea of making someone outside the family your children’s godparent is quite odd to me. Maybe because I don’t have close friends? In my family we bestow the honor on the most trustworthy and reliable set of grandparents, or perhaps an aunt or uncle if the grandparents were unable.

CandaceMarie321 Says:

December 18th, 2013 at 9:39 am

For us Godparents are meant to take a role in the child’s spiritual up bringing, guardianship of the children in an emergency doesn’t play into this decision. We are somewhat stumped on Godparents for our fourth (due in May). My older sons have uncles and aunts and one very close couple of friends. I have two brothers who have still not been named godparents, but they are atheists so not a very good choice.

birdies Says:

December 18th, 2013 at 10:13 am

My boyfriend and I already have a plan for who our children’s godmothers will be. To me a godparent is someone you can trust to be there for your child in the case they’re not comfortable coming to you. No matter how open you are as a parent, there are times when your child may feel the need to talk to someone else about things. I want to chose people who I know will provide good advice, even if it’s not what I would tell them.

My first is my best friend. We have known each other for nine years now, and I know that even when we disagree about things, she makes good decisions. Since I have no siblings, she is my sister, and she would love my babies to no end.

Next, is my cousin. My whole life she has been my defender and confidant. She is doing an amazing job raising her own daughter, and I know she would always encourage and support my children.

Last is my sister-in-law. Same thing as my cousin. She was the first in Mr. E’s family to reach out and befriend me. She made me feel truly welcome, and again, her ideals line up with mine.

Godfathers are a completely different story though. We have no idea who we would chose.

EmilyVA Says:

December 18th, 2013 at 3:40 pm

As a Catholic, every baby has their own set of godparents to be baptized. Each child in a family is usually given their own set. A least one of the godparents has to be Catholic and the other must be Christian or also Catholic. It’s a spiritual and ceremonial role that is considered an honor, but doesn’t necessarily having meaning beyond the ceremony. My godmother is a flake, but my godfather is my uncle and we are close (he wasn’t married at the time). My friends chose either other couples or singles that are close friends or family members. Traditionally a godparent is more likely to be a friend or a cousin and not a grandparent or even aunt or uncle, because they already have a role in the child’s life. If you have a close friend the godparent is a nice way to honor them and give them a role in the child’s life. There is usually not a legal arrangement to care for the children in our tradition, among other reasons most people want their children to be kept together.
I find it a little weird when everyone gets the same godparents or when there is only one godparent. That seems odd to me.

TheFutureMrsB Says:

December 19th, 2013 at 12:59 pm

To OH and I godparents are people who will take care of your children if something happens to you as well as being there for your children. We always thought my best friend would be the godmother of our children and his best friend the godfather. At the time they were dating so it seemed logical; they’ve since broken up which would make for a very awkward situation.
Since OH has a job that moves us quite frequently (and sometimes quite far) we’ve come to accept that our old friends and sometimes even our families won’t always be around for things such as birthdays, school plays, etc.
I’m still iffy on who would be my child’s godmother. Three of my close friends have offered but neither of us wouldn’t be comfortable with any of them raising our children and the one I would be comfortable with raising them is in a relationship with someone I would not want around my children. OH still wants his best friend to be the godfather but as he said he doesn’t want kids he has taken himself out of the running.
My brother and myself don’t have official godparents as we were never baptized in the Church. We do however, have unofficial godparents who were to take charge of us in the case that anything ever happened to our parents.

ricalini Says:

December 20th, 2013 at 9:52 am

My parents chose close friends to be my godparents to extend our family rather than giving their siblings an additional title, since they were my aunts and uncles anyways. I will probably do the same.

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