I’ve had a love/hate relationship with my birthday since I was a kid. The summer I turned 13, I also started shaving my legs. Instead of being excited about growing up, I remember tears streaming down my face as I felt like I was “shaving away my childhood.” A little dramatic? I think NOT.
Celebrating OTHER people’s birthdays is easy. In fact, I love it. I’m quick to send an encouraging birthday text to a friend or bring them Starbucks to brighten their day. Heck, I might even plan a surprise party once in awhile.
But celebrating my own birthday? That’s a mixed bag. And something funny happens when you have kids. You tend to downplay your own needs and desires in favor of caring for the little army of cute people you’ve created.
“Oh, I don’t need anything for my birthday,” I hear myself saying to my husband. But deep down, there’s a tiny part of me that wants to be celebrated like a 5 year old again. Break out that Barbie-head piñata filled with cheap candy and let me have a whack at it! But seriously, forget the tootsie rolls and those nasty peppermint discs and put some peanut butter cups in there for crying out loud.
But here’s the thing I’ve realized: Everyone deserves to be celebrated…yes, even you and me.
And what’s more, having the opportunity to celebrate us is important for our kids too. It shows them that we have needs and feelings and candy cravings just like they do. And some day when our kids are grown up, they will have permission to embrace their own birthdays and celebrate all they have to be thankful for.
So let’s ditch the sacrificial mindset for the day and embrace the fact that we are worth celebrating.
7 Simple, Fun Ways to Celebrate & Enjoy Your Birthday as an Adult
1. Eat Out With Friends
I. love. parties. Not necessarily the loud, dancing kind, but definitely the hang out with your friends, eat great food and laugh together with no particular agenda kind. So last year I instituted a brand new birthday tradition: birthday breakfast out with friends. And it’s my new favorite!
No stressful planning, whirlwind cleaning, hours of prepping or boatload of cash needed. I just pick a place (my favorite breakfast spot), name the date & time, and invite some friends to join me. I tell them not to worry about gifts or cards, just to pay for their own breakfast. They order whatever suits them and I walk away with a full heart and having spent less than $15.
We talk and laugh and tell birth stories (because we’re moms and we can’t help it) and laugh some more…because birth stories are as hilariously horrifying as they are beautifully meaningful…let’s be honest.
So forget the fancy party and just enjoy a couple hours out with friends.
2. Grab Takeout & Stay Home
Tacos are my constant companions. I don’t know how to describe it, really, they’re just…magical. Leftover chicken? beef? fish? Turn it into a taco and you’ll feel like a gourmet chef.
One of my favorite ways to celebrate my birthday is simply getting my favorite takeout (ahem…tacos) and doing a movie night at home with my husband and kids.
You don’t have to cook, you get to eat delicious food, and you get to enjoy snuggling up on the couch together in celebration of you.
3. Get Some Alone Time
Can I get an amen? One of the best gifts we can give ourselves as moms is the day off. Or at least a few hours off. Whether you ask your husband to take over, drop your kids off at Grandma’s house or invest in a babysitter for a few hours, do something that you enjoy just for the heck of it. Get your nails done, go to a movie, go shopping, take a walk by the lake or sit at a coffee shop and drink an ENTIRE cup of coffee before it gets cold (it feels like chasing a unicorn most days). Or…wait for it…take a NAP.
Note: Just don’t tell your kids that all you want for your birthday is to be alone. They might get the wrong idea.
4. Take a Day Off from Housework
It. Can. Wait. In the best case scenario, recruit your family to take the wheel for a day and manage the dishes and clean-up so it doesn’t run amok in your absence. But if that isn’t possible, just give yourself permission to walk past that pile of dishes in the sink for a day and head for the couch instead. You deserve it.
5. Do Something Out of the Box
Whether you’re someone who loves routine or not, we all get stuck in a rut sometimes. But on your birthday? Do something new. Breaking out of the norm is one of the most powerful ways to create memories. Take a painting class. Bake a soufflé. Try rollerskating with your kids. Book a photo shoot with a local photographer. Try something crazy you’ve always wanted to try and give yourself permission to look ridiculous doing it. Playing it safe won’t get you anywhere. Challenge yourself in a new way and enjoy every minute of it.
6. Reflect & Dream
Birthdays are naturally a time for evaluating where you’ve been and thinking about where you’re headed. Embrace it. Set aside some time surrounding your birthday to write a list of 10 things you’re thankful for. Spell out 3 ways you have grown as a person or things you’ve accomplished this past year. Then let yourself dream about the future. What are 3 things you want to grow in or accomplish this coming year? What are you excited about? What makes you feel hopeful? Focus your mind on gratitude and hopeful anticipation. It will be like a healing balm to your weary soul. While you’re at it, check out these 8 Tips for Rocking Your Goals and make those dreams a reality!
7. Let Others Celebrate You
This is one of the hardest things to do sometimes. We work SO hard to make sure everyone else has what they need. When someone tries to pour into us, we can be quick to say, “No, it’s okay. I’m fine.”
Just say thanks instead. You may not get fancy gifts or a trip to Hawaii (if you do, please invite me), but when someone wishes you a Happy Birthday or offers to buy you a coffee or posts a nice message on Facebook, let yourself feel the small act of love and know that you’re totally worth it.
Take advantage of all the free birthday stuff that’s available! Whatever you favorite stores or restaurants are, chances are they have an email list or rewards program that includes free stuff or discounts for your birthday! I’ve gotten free coffee from Starbucks, chips & guacamole from Chipotle, and so much more simply by signing up for their email list. (You can always unsubscribe from it after your birthday…until next year, of course.)
Whether birthdays have a good association for you or you’ve struggled with them, recognize the beauty of another year of life. Sure, we’re not perfect. But life, in all it’s chaotic twists and turns, is a gift. Celebrate it.
Like this post? You may also enjoy:
- 7 Surprisingly Effective Productivity Tips for Busy Moms
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- 10 Childhood Games You Didn’t Know Were Preparing You for Motherhood
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