Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Celebrating Birthdays as a Mom

In case you hadn't heard, yesterday was my birthday. It was a typical crazy Monday (my hardest day of the week), then we celebrated with a great dinner, pumpkin cheesecake, presents and a movie. I don't know about you, but I find it hard to "celebrate" my birthday now that I'm a mom because I'm so busy being a mom, which involves changing diapers, wiping noses, being at others' beck and call (not to mention driving to preschool, driving to speech, stopping at Whole Foods). Now if you can get away on your birthday, to a spa or a date night with your husband, that's great. Have a wonderful time! But if, like me, you celebrate amongst the chaos, here's my advice for how to enjoy your day.

-Low expectations. If you expect to be treated like Queen for a Day, you will be disappointed. If you expect that it will be a usual day of chaos with some birthday cake thrown in, you'll be able to appreciate the extra perks like your favorite dinner and a movie when the kids are in bed.

-Answer the phone or don't. I don't know about your traditions, but in my family, people call on your birthday. This can be fun, enjoy it! Or it can be annoying. Maybe you'd rather be watching hulu. Or maybe you just had a baby two weeks ago and all they want to do is hear about the wonderful baby (who is keeping you from getting any sleep). If it's the latter, feel free to let the machine get it.

-Feed your kids what they like. Lunch and dinner drive me crazy these days. Even if your kids don't have food issues, why not give them their favorite foods so meal times are ever so slightly more manageable. For my birthday dinner, I chose to get food from Carrabba's--my favorite restaurant and we had a gift card. My kids could have had their usual this and that, but instead I made a frozen pizza. This didn't work as well as I'd hoped, L still hopped up every 5 minutes to scrounge for food, driving Hubby and me kookoo, but I still think it was a good idea.

-Dad home early. With the kids' earlier bedtimes, I knew it would be hard to get takeout, eat, have cake, and open presents without keeping the kids up late. Hubby would have to leave work on time or early. Yesterday, he didn't get out as early as I would've liked, but we rushed through dinner and managed to get everything done and the kids down on time. Maybe I should have titled this Enforce Bedtime. ;-)

-Time management/Plan ahead. If you're a regular reader, you know I suck at time management in general. But I planned ahead for my birthday so I wouldn't need to shower before bed. I picked up the living room on Sunday night so the mess wouldn't drive me crazy. I left myself very few chores and got them done pretty early in the day. Then I was able to watch Project Runway on DVR while L was at preschool and watch Glee on hulu during nap time. Then, once the kids were in bed, I could crash in front of a movie--no shower, no chores.

-Think ahead to after the kids go to bed. The real "gift" of my birthday was once the kids were in bed, I got to pick the movie. The kids are in bed by 8:30 so that leaves enough time for a short movie before Hubby and I get ready for bed around 10:30. It took me a while to choose what to watch, I wanted something I was guaranteed to like, but I had trouble choosing among our old favorites (I've seen them too many times). Finally, I searched instant Netflix and found a Jane Eyre with Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine from 1944. We hadn't seen it before, but I love the story (Jane Eyre is one of my all-time favorite books). Sure enough, it was quite good, though I wore out before the end and we turned it off around 10:00 (we'll finish it tonight or tomorrow).

That's it, that's what I've learned through trial and error over the last few birthdays and it worked for me yesterday. Focus on what you can control (what's for dinner, what kind of cake, what to do after the kids go down) because there's so much you can't.

For more tips and tricks, visit We Are THAT Family.

Tell me, how do you celebrate birthdays now that you're a mom?


Kathy said...

You've learned a lot early! My oldest is 17, my youngest 7. Only the last two years did I really get the birthday thing right. Great suggestions! Thanks for sharing!

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