Once you have children, it takes a ton of effort by
others you to keep your birthday from becoming just another chance to worship at the high holy altar of “well damn, when did I get this old?” Most people have a hard time wrapping their minds around the fact that by giving birth to someone else, they effectively signed away all claims to celebrations of their own birthday.
I’ve had it lucky. Thanks to my husband’s insistence on booking himself away at conferences every.single.year for the entire time that we were dating, I hardly notice anymore when my whole family forgets my birthday. But I realize that not everyone has the hardened heart experience I have and is not always prepared for the bitchslap that is birthday post-birth (not yours…theirs…), so I thought I’d write up a handy guide to the five things I’ve learned about birthdays.
5 Things I’ve Learned About Birthdays
- With kids, it’s the thought that counts. No seriously, it is literally the thought itself that counts as a present. Why? Because when was the last time that your kid sat down and thought about you. Probably never. So if your kids manage to say “happy birthday” without any prompting on your part, you’ve hit the jackpot.
- With spouses, the best expectation is no expectation. This year I gave up any hopes for a gift, and lo and behold if my husband didn’t hit it out of the ballpark on the first go. He walked the dog without complaining and arranged to meet me out for lunch. When he showed up at lunch with a rose, I asked him if he’s having an affair. Low expectations, my friends, low expectations.
- Girlfriends will give you what you really want: space. When your birthday rolls around, all of your girlfriends will say things like, “OMG, we should go for a drink,” or “We should totally have a party and celebrate”. If they are true friends, they will keep the thoughts at the should/could stage and will slip a bottle of wine into your diaper bag when you aren’t looking. Moms know, the thing we most want on our birthdays is a little peace and quiet and a big, big glass of red wine.
- The day of the week is irrelevant. While the 20 year olds in my office were bemoaning my unlucky Monday birthday, I was silently trying to work out what I’d do differently if it were on a Saturday instead. Sure, I had to go into work, but I also got to pee whenever I wanted, eat cake without sharing half of it with a kid and linger over lunch and not feel guilty. I assure you, no Saturday could ever compete with that.
- One person will always come through in the clutch: YOU! That’s right, as the official birthday-present-purchaser for the family with virtually unlimited access to Amazon Prime, you can buy yourself whatever you want for your birthday and no one will be the wiser. (Ok, fine, within reason. Party poopers.) This year I bought myself wine, expensive chocolate truffles and an extended solo trip to Starbucks. I really know how to treat myself well.
— Lynn Morrison (@NomadMomDiary) July 6, 2014