Let’s talk birthdays when you’re a mom.
Many people say that as you get older, birthdays become less and less noteworthy. At the passing of each year, birthdays slowly spiral downhill until eventually they are just like any ordinary day. No more party hats. No more confetti. No more mylar balloons. No more off-pitch rounds of happy birthday celebrating another passing year. What once was a day full of celebration in your adolescent years somehow morphs into any normal day where you’re lucky to finish the day with a few cards to commemorate another passing year.
Roughly 5 years ago, I found myself contemplating the fact that many of my friends had shared with me that the highlights of their birthdays, especially in these child-rearing years, were their free birthday drink at Starbucks, a family dinner (complete with a meltdown or two) and an early bedtime. While I realize that there’s nothing quite like the birthday parties of our youth, I don’t think that as adults we have to sacrifice a good birthday celebration for our growing number of children and gray hairs.
So I made a change a couple years back and I’ve got to admit – I think I’m slowly redeeming mom birthdays.
Rather than sit around with my mom friends and collectively be discouraged by the lack of celebration happening on our birthdays, I decided to take matters into my own hands and here’s how I did it.
Redeeming the Mom Birthdsay: One Step at a Time
Note your friends’ birthdays on your calendar.
I religiously keep track of my friends’ birthdays. I know it seems elementary to suggest writing down birthdays in your calendar but I’m telling you, if you want to redeem mom birthdays, you’re going to want to make note of your friends’ birthdays. Don’t wait until you receive a Facebook notification the day of a friends’ birthday. You need to have the dates in your calendar so you can plan ahead. (You’re welcome to go do that now. I’ll wait here and then we’ll move on.)
Plan to celebrate.
The actual details of how to celebrate are largely up to you; however, in order to truly redeem mom birthdays, it takes some planning ahead. For me, I typically reach out to the birthday girl a week or two before her birthday to ask if I could plan something to celebrate. Over the years, celebrations have ranged from small intimate coffee & donut dates at the park with our littles running around to large group moms night outs where we raise our glasses high in celebration of the birthday girl.
It doesn’t matter so much what you do, but that you do something.
I heard it once said that the very best gifts say “I see you” to the person receiving them. That is true of celebrations as well. No matter what you do, make sure the celebration says “I see you” to the birthday girl. Birthdays are a unique opportunity to show the people we love that we see them and love them for who they are.
Lastly, one of the other traditions I’ve embraced over the years is taking a few minutes to encourage the birthday girl with spoken words of affirmation. In today’s culture, very rarely do we have the opportunity to speak words of encouragement directly to someone’s face. It’s even gotten so uncommon that the thought of doing so oftentimes makes people a bit squirmy. Regardless of the squirminess it causes in some of us, at a friend’s birthday celebration, it’s become customary for me that I get the attention of the whole group (whether around a park picnic table or a restaurant table) and I ask everyone in attendance to think about something they appreciate about the birthday girl. After giving everyone a few minutes to think, we then take some time going around one by one and looking into our friend’s eyes and telling her what we value about her and what we admire about her. Sure, it’s great to send a kind text or two every now and then, but looking into someone’s eyes and telling them what you appreciate them is truthfully one of the very best birthday gifts you could give a friend.
While I realize that there’s nothing quite like the birthday parties of our youth, I don’t think that as adults we have to sacrifice a good birthday celebration for our growing number of children and gray hairs.
I realize that the years of raising little ones oftentimes leave us with few options, however when it comes to celebrating our birthdays, I don’t think that we have to settle. And it starts with you! Make the change your friends need and start making celebrations a part of how you do friendship.
How do YOU celebrate birthdays with your mom-friends? We'd love to hear some ideas for parties, gifts, and more!
Steph is the Founder & Director of City Moms Blog Network; growing the network after founding its original site, Scottsdale Moms Blog, in 2009. Now living in the greater Minneapolis area, she oversees the national network by spearheading growth strategies, sales initiatives and shepherding and encouraging an ever-increasing number of moms managing individual local parenting websites. She is married to Alan and is mom to three little girls, Nora, Elsie and Audrey. She loves throwing a great party, connecting people and cooking with a glass of red wine in hand.