What kind of birthday girl are you?
The one that says “oh, it’s no big deal” and avoids celebration altogether? Or the one who has super high expectations about the things that should go down on your seriously important day of birth? Maybe neither of these extremes work and you find yourself somewhere in between.
One type of birthday girl I know a lot of… is the one who secretly hopes other people will celebrate her and make her day super special. Many times, this type is left feeling sad and disappointed when the day comes to an end. The “-zilla” is not reserved only for the wedding day, my friends. The birthday-zilla is a real person.
I should know. I used to be her.
I grew up with the sense that it was seriously important that other people made a big deal of you on your birthday. It was up to other people to “make” you feel special. This was somehow correlated with love, worth, or value. Birthdays were a big deal. I have always worked hard to make my kids birthdays a big deal. It’s ingrained in me. It’s actually something I’ve had to work hard to learn to rein in and undo a bit.
When I got married my mom still planned birthday gatherings for me. After she left it was up to my husband… dunt dunt dun.
Let’s just say he did not grow up with the same birthday celebration expectations. Nor is he super skilled at pre-planning and anticipating all the requirements on my mental list (what do you mean you can’t read my mind?) Lord knows he tried once he found out the fury that was unleashed when it wasn’t right (kind of kidding).
But seriously, we have had many knock down drag outs over all things birthday and gift giving for any holiday. That could be another post all together. For now, I will say that we have come a long way in this department.
And… I have a friend who has helped to expand my birthday horizon significantly.
Enter my dear friend Heather. Heather rocked my world when it came birthdays and celebrating your own birthday. Thank goodness for her! In the midst of writing this article I had a memory pop up on my social media. The pic is of Heather surrounded by some of her closest friends at the nail salon 5 years ago. This girl knows how to prioritize her birthday and she’s been doing it since I met her.
Back in the day she would push me to celebrate my birthday. I went through a phase where I pretended to be the “no big deal, it’s just another day” kind of birthday girl. It felt easier to act like I didn’t care than to be disappointed.
She would call and ask… “SO, what are we doing for your birthday?” While I resisted, she pushed. But mainly she pushed me to see things differently. And the truth is, I wish we could all see this differently. She told me I should write an article titled “Moms: How we can change the world by celebrating our own birthday” and here I am!
She introduced me to the concept that your birthday is an important day where you can be in control of your own happiness. It may seem silly but if you really think about it, the implications are huge. She pushed me to stop depending on other people to “make” me feel special. We can make our own selves feel special and valuable and all the things that we birthday girls deserve.
This concept was completely foreign to me at first. It really felt kind of selfish and weird. But she kept pushing and so I did it anyway.
And then, one of the biggest epiphanies in my life was on my birthday a few years ago: I was DONE depending on other people for my own happiness. Done being a victim to circumstance. No more waiting around for others to celebrate my life. I was the one who needed to celebrate my own life!
I get it. It goes against much of the junk and baggage we often carry around in our heads. I don’t deserve this. I shouldn’t take the time away from the kids. I’ve got too much to do. Everyone’s going to think I’m selfish. Yeah, I know the things that run through your head. I’ve had them too. This is even more reason to try it. It’s quite liberating. But just in case you need a bit more permission, here you go.
Here are my top reasons you should take charge of celebrating your own birthday.
We must get comfortable with celebrating our own selves. We’ve got to completely undo the concept that we are selfish or prideful if we celebrate ourselves. It’s 2019 friends. That is so old school. Time to get with the times and start practicing saying nice things to yourself and get rid of the mama guilt. Girlfriend, you deserve to be celebrated! The more we can embrace this concept the more it will spill into the other places of our lives where we are falling short of the self-love we so desperately need.
No one knows what we like or want better than we do. If you don’t know what you like or what you want to do… we’ve got a problem. Start exploring if you need to. Sit and listen to yourself. What do YOU want to do? What a perfect day to start practicing this vital piece. No one can plan the dream celebration better than you! Get up close and personal with the vision for your life. On your birthday, and every other day as well.
Our birthday is truly something to celebrate. It is NEVER something to balk at that you get another year on this earth. You are here, you have breath, you have more time. THAT my friend is something to celebrate! And because you’re here that means you still have something do give and gifts to share. What a truly beautiful and remarkable thing. Hats off to all the ways you will add to the world in the year you’ve been given!
It’s a great excuse for girlfriend time. Let’s be real. The only time mamas tend to come out and actually do something is for a friends’ birthday. It’s the one time you can say you “have” to go. So why in the heck are we not celebrating our birthdays much more often?! We need our girlfriend time, and this is the very best excuse to get it! Plus, the more you prioritize refilling yourself the more you’ll see the benefit of it. This will encourage you to continue to do it and reach out for growth and connection. It shouldn’t be limited to birthday celebrations, but they really are a great excuse.
It helps us let go of the old expectations. Nothing shatters old wounds or old ways of thinking better than doing it all completely opposite of the beliefs you’ve held to be true. In order to let go of old expectations we have to act. We have to take our power back. Smash through the old belief that other people are responsible for making you feel like a someone. Push yourself to see things differently.
It takes pressure off the people we love. We all know how stressful it can be to try and live up to someone else’s expectation of perfection. Then when whether or not they live up to that ideal is a direct reflection of ourselves… man, this is a recipe for disaster! Nobody deserves that kind of pressure. Yet we do it to each other all the time. No more birthday girl. You’ve got the reins now and they can breathe a great big sigh of relief.
It’s a time to give yourself a pat on the back. Goodness knows the huge number of things you do in one day. The hours you’ve works, butts you’ve wiped, books you’ve read, laundry you’ve done, mouths you’ve feed, toys you’ve picked up, fires you’ve put out… makes me sweat just writing it. Here is one thing I do know. You do a TON and you deserve a pat on the back. This is your ideal opportunity to do just that! You deserve that big ol’ pat on the back!
This year I turn 40! You better believe I am going to plan the most amazing celebration! It could be on an island, it could be on my couch in my favorite sweats.
That’s the beauty…I get to decide.
We can indeed change the world by celebrating our own birthday. We can change our own personal worlds at the very least.
But just imagine if we had all kinds of empowered women walking around celebrating their own birth. I would have to say that would make a pretty big impact.
So…what will you do for your birthday this year?