Last Thursday was my birthday. I turned 31--pretty awesome, right? Yeah, no need to congratulate me. Since I became a mom almost five years ago, birthdays haven't been the best. There's really nothing to look forward to, right? Unless my husband whisks me away for an unexpected trip sans kiddos, a birthday is just another day of work. The needs of my children don't vanish for the day so I can lay in bed all day watching movies. Even my dreams of the perfect birthday have been diminished to something as mediocre as watching movies!
If I get really honest with myself, even before motherhood, birthdays were often a let down. I have always expected to get everything I wanted on my birthday, and it pretty much never happened. I think I cried at every birthday party I had as a kid, usually because another child added "cha-cha-cha" to the birthday song when I had specifically requested no "cha-cha-cha's," or something equally horrifying.
Motherhood has only heightened the tension between birthday expectations and birthday realities. A day spent doing whatever you want whenever you want with whoever you want when you're a mom…it's an oxymoron. By definition, the majority of our lives as mothers is spent worrying about what our little people want and need. For years this felt like a death sentence on my birthday happiness, but not anymore.
This year, I decided to give myself a Happy Birthday by choosing to find happiness in whatever I needed to do that day. To celebrate turning 31 I made breakfast, read my Bible, went child shoe shopping and only managed to find 1 of 3 necessary pairs, changed diapers, ate lunch with my boys and MIL at Panera, put a son down for a nap, got a surprise gift of a kiss and an I Love You from my preschooler, helped a toddler stay in his room during quiet time, packed for the cabin, let my sons watch a TV show while at Noodles for dinner, entertained children in the car for 3 hours, received gifts and ate cake and let my boys stay up way too late once we arrived at the cabin, and even managed a few chapters of a book.