So it was my birthday this past week… and we celebrated in style, my kind of style. It has taken years, literally, but I have finally figured out how to do the birthday thing. I know when you have many small people to take care of that often your birthday is the last thing on your mind… but if not for yourself, but for the people that love you… they really do want to celebrate you and we can all get a little more gracious regarding receiving their blessings…
Se7en tips for a Great Birthday
- Tell your Friends: They love you dearly, and just have forgotten your birthday… the year I didn’t mention my birthday to anyone, and the father person was away traveling, was the loneliest of all. It was the year no-one said happy birthday. I realised too late that it was self-induced misery, and now I will say to friends something like, “It’s my birthday next week.” Really, your friends want to know…
- Invest in a Calendar: You can go one step better than telling folks it is your birthday, and get yourself a pretty birthday calendar and fill in all your friends’ birthdays so that you can say Happy Birthday to them when the time comes.
- Get to See Your Friends: You don’t need to have a massive party, you don’t need to co-ordinate a million schedules, just ask a friend or two over for coffee and then enjoy it. If all your friends are on the far side of the world and a lot of mine are… then at least chat with them… you will feel better for it, there is a reason that the people we love dearly are our friends…. they uplift us.
- Decide on a Non-Negotiable: You will have to do things on your birthday that you may not like to do… that’s life, especially life with many small people, but there are many things that can be avoided… no housework on your birthday (for the win)… the world will not fall apart if for one day you don’t do housework. Make sure there is absolutely one thing that you can do that makes you happy and make sure it is on the to-do list for the day. It may be a bath, a hot cup of coffee, it may be a nap, for me it is a play on the beach, make sure it happens… everything else can actually be caught up later. Also, Tell Folk What You Need. Once you have decided what it is you need, make sure your family know what it is… if you need a cup of coffee and they secretly plan a banquet then things are not going to run smoothly for you… just saying!!!
- When folks Ask How You Would Like to Celebrate: “Nothing” is not the best response… I told my kids that I didn’t think we needed to do anything for my birthday… turns out they really wanted to do something to celebrate and persisted… they rephrased it and asked, “What would be my favourite day?” That was easier to answer: Time on the beach, a lingering lasagne lunch in the great outdoors, and friends to catch up with. They made it happen.
- Let Folk Spoil You: I don’t normally drink cream soda floats, though they totally remind me of my childhood. When my kids wanted to spoil me with cream soda floats, I didn’t refuse, I let them get totally onto it. They had such fun spoiling and what mother wouldn’t enjoy their crazy joy!!!
- Don’t Get sucked into the Whole Gift Panic: So many folk, myself included battle with finding and thinking about the perfect gift, so much so that by the time we have thought of every possible gift scenario and like none of them, the day has arrived and it looks something like: Too little too late. We can all fall into this panic. The father person is brilliant at spoiling me and yet recoils in horror at the mention of my birthday… this year I told him to totally remove “birthday” from his plan for this week… and he totally got it. Not every gift has to be the best gift on earth… sometimes a bunch of flowers or a chocolate are the most perfect treat, and say happy birthday far better than discovering that the gifter anguished for months.
- Don’t Ignore it, it Won’t Go Away: Trust me on this… if you leave it until the day or worse the day after, then chances are that you will have regrets. Avoid those regrets. Birthdays are meant to be enjoyed and sometimes circumstances can make them seem like the pits… but often times there is something to be said for just accepting it and making a plan of action. Even a teeny tiny little plan in the middle of a long day, can turn an ordinary day into a birthday of note.