I loved my birthday when I was a kid. My mom always baked my favorite cake, cooked my favorite dinner, and made that day easily the best day of the year. As a child-free adult birthdays usually meant surrounding myself with friends, enjoying free drinks at the far, and staying out way too late. Then I became a parent and everything changed. As a parent, your birthday is totally different once you have a kid, and while it's not the most substantial change you go through it certainly is worth discussing.
I guess I should be completely honest and say that my birthday, well, sucks now. As a mom it's my responsibility to make everyone else's birthday magical, while mine is cast aside as "just another day." Unless I put in the time, effort, and energy into planning my own party and baking my own cake, I can expect the day to come and go sans fanfare. And while I know my children are too young to really plan a gathering or purchase presents, I have to admit that I miss feeling special on my birthday. I miss being celebrated by the people who love and care about me. I miss having at least one day that was about me, especially now that I'm a mom and, well, it's never about me.
As mothers we're told we should sacrifice every single thing in our lives and about ourselves for our children, and I feel like how our birthday celebrations evolve is proof that messaging exists and we buy into it. We will plan extravagant birthdays for our children, spend an obscene amount of money, and invest an inordinate amount of time to make sure their day is special, but when our birthday comes around we go through the motions of just another day. Don't us moms deserve a little celebration, too?
This might not be the hill every mom wants to die on, but I think moms work too hard, give too much of themselves, and love far too much to be ignored on their birthday. And since the first step in fixing a problem is admitting there is one, here's how your birthday changes once you become a parent:
No One Remembers
I get it. If it wasn't for Facebook, I would probably forget everyone's birthday, too. I probably wouldn't have adult friendships either, if I'm being honest. If I didn't write my birthday date on the calendar at home, though, the day would probably pass without a single person in my family saying happy birthday. It's kind of a relief and a downer at the same time.
You Have To Make Your Own Cake
Just once, I would like my husband to bake me something for my birthday or pick something up from the bakery. I don't really like cake, but a pie or a pan of brownies would be awesome. I have baked everyone in a family a cake for their birthday, every single year, so I really wish I didn't have to bake my own, too.
It's Impossible To Make Plans
It's so hard to plan a night out when you have kids. For the most part your friends have kids, too, so coordinating schedules to get everyone in the same place at the same time is almost impossible. Finding a babysitter is difficult and almost always expensive, and leaving the house takes at least two hours. By the end of the entire ordeal you wonder if it's worth it.
Even if I do get to go out for my birthday, it's often just dinner and a movie with my husband. I enjoy that one-on-one time, to be sure, but I wish my birthday celebration was as extravagant as it used to be.
You Don't Actually Need Anything
I've reached a point in my life when I don't really need anything for my birthday. So, for the most part, birthday gifts seem kind of, well, silly. The last thing I need is more stuff in my home. At the same time, though, it's kind of sad to not open any presents on your birthday. It's difficult to explain, but here we are.
You Have To Plan The Party
To be fair, my husband actually planned a birthday party for me last year and it was awesome. But before last year and for 10 years prior, I've had to plan my own party or night out to celebrate my birthday.
You Aren't Really Excited About Getting Older
Let's just say I have reached an age when my kids say, "Wow you're old, mom," when I tell them my age. When you're older your birthday really is just another day.
You're Too Tired To Care
As a work-from-home mom I am way too tired to plan and execute another birthday party, remind everyone that birthday party is coming up, and pick out a present for my husband to purchase and give me during that party. My head is full of everyone else's schedules, doctor appointments, meal plans, and birthday wish lists, so even trying to plan a small gathering is exhausting.
You Can't Help But Compare It To Past Birthdays
When I turned 30, my BFF threw me a huge weekend-long affair. We wore vinyl ballgowns and tiaras, everyone I knew crammed into my house, and we were so loud the neighbors threatened to call the police. A decade later, I had wine in my pajamas, after the kids fell asleep, on my birthday. It was pretty nice, yes, but sort of pales in comparison to birthdays past.
It's Easier To Realize How Lucky You Are
Waking up to the sound of my kids singing "Happy Birthday" is pretty amazing. Yes, my birthday is completely different now that I'm a mom, and, yes, sometimes I feel completely forgotten on my so-called special day. Sure, I usually have to plan everything myself and rarely do people remember my birthday without some prompting. But I am always surrounded by my family on my birthday, and that truly is magical. I also have the opportunity to make sure my kids' birthdays magical, and that is worth more to me than any amount of birthday parties or presents.