It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Birthdays

Did you know there are roughly 365 days in a year? Once every four years, that number jumps to a whole 366. Ish.

Given the number of options there, you’d think I could have spread out the births of my children.

Instead, our birthdays are all in March and April, with one aberration conveniently very close to Christmas. Add Tax Day and our wedding anniversary to the mix, and March and April are pretty much like a second Christmas season.

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It’s all because of me. When I was younger I did not expect to get married. By default, I didn’t expect to have children. However; I vowed that, if I had children, I would never have their birthdays next to each other. This resolution came from the laments of peers and cousins who had to share special days. I would be a more fair mother than theirs; I would save the sanctity of days of birth.

Then I married someone in the same month we were born.

Then our first son came a little earlier than his due date and a little close to our births and anniversary.

The final straw was when my second son came nine weeks early. I figuratively threw up my hands and decided, so long as they all came into the world healthy, I would take it.

….which is why, when I was pregnant with our third, I spent all day of my birthday willing him to stay inside at least till our scheduled C-Section within the week. ‘Cause, by then, I had more realistic life goals.

 

Photo Credit:
S O C I A L . C U T
Kari Shea

A Very Unmerry Birthday to You

Yesterday was my birthday. As a mother, that meant the day ran about the same as all the others but my kids and husband wanted me to be happy. Act happy. Look excited. Smile more (well, at all). Eagerly anticipate what household object they had gift-wrapped.

In short, I needed to be as excited as the boys all feel when it’s their birthday.

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Like most events in life, however, I dread my birthday. I don’t like being the spotlight. I’m not a fun present un-wrapper. I’m not the life of the party. When birthdays or Mother’s Day roll around, I’d rather not be here to celebrate. This desire confuses and hurts my family.

The problem is that the day is still a day. My day of birth was a Saturday this year; but, when it’s a weekday; I still have carpool, cleaning, sports classes, dinner, dishes, bedtime, and attempts to bond as a couple.

The problem is that my entire life is to anticipate the whims of the house and its occupants and cater to them to avoid nuclear meltdown. Everyone else’s needs come first and I feel shallow thinking about myself.

The problem is, like with most events, I need to ask for what I want in order to receive it -and I feel bad for having wants in the first place. I’ve crumpled up and trashed anything resembling innermost desires; and feel like an indecent, filthy street beggar pawing through something molding when asked about them.

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Why? That doesn’t seem healthy. Perhaps it’s not.

Acknowledging the problem or even testing out the whole “asking for what I want” thing doesn’t erase the guilt. Again, though, why not? And, more specifically, how can we erase the guilt? Lobotomy?

Frankly, I’ve spent the last few years in an intentional haze of semi-tiredness (very like a lobotomy) in order to avoid some of these bothersome feelings. I’ve numbed to avoid sadness and empty despair and hopelessness. I’ve pretended contentment and ignored myself in order to function.

*Sigh*

Birthdays don’t have to be so heavy and serious, of course. I actually only cried because I wanted to a little yesterday. Then, my sister planned a surprise mani/pedi appointment and my mother took me to lunch afterwards. My husband, for his part, took the children and the housework for the day.

In all, even my Eeyore side had to agree that it was a good birthday.

Now, if I could just get over how guilty I feel that everyone did all that for me…

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—————

Sunday, March 17: “The Magic Clothes Washing Machine,” my scientific observations of what the clothes washer produces.

Monday, March 18: Wrote a poem for The Bloggers Bash competition titled, “Five More Minutes.”

Tuesday, March 19: Shared a quote by Christie Mellor.

Wednesday, March 20: Whispered my super secret tip about bread preservation.

Thursday, March 21: “In Case of Emergency, Interrupt.” Never ignore The Look.

Friday, March 22: Advised against Super Momming in “Pinterest Mom or Sane Parent?

Saturday, March 23: Shared Unfiltered Mama‘s tweet about difficult kids.

Sunday, March 24: Today! Yay!

 

Photo Credit:
Jorge Ibanez
Jiroe
Rune Enstad

Pinterest Mom or Sane Parent?

Not too long ago, I had a side job. It entailed scouring the internet for pictures of birthday parties, home décor, and craft how-to’s; stealing copying those pictures; and writing about them using keywords and sponsored links.

Before I had that job, I didn’t have a Pinterest account. I didn’t have an Instagram account. And, honestly, I didn’t even have a blogging account.

Before The Job I planned birthday parties for the sole intent of celebrating someone’s birth. I had little that was superfluous for decorating. And I hadn’t ever made a cardboard tombstone or flocked a Christmas tree.

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After nine months of writing the articles, therefore, I knew a lot more about the back-alley world of Pinterest. I knew that there were at least “11 Classroom Games for Room Mothers,” that I could look up “10 Minecraft Party Ideas,” and that there were “12 Ways to Pumpkin-Up Your Porch.” (That last title was my idea.)

And I felt a bit disturbed.

Were all the moms out there really doing birthday parties like that, or houses?

What I’ve seen in real life confirms my fears. Joanna Gaines is all over magazines, Target, and my neighbors’ houses. Party favors, games, and backdrops for one-year-olds follow a coordinated theme. I scrolled through a thread on TwoFacebook recently about installing pallet board walls, headboards, or ceilings. Women in my area show up to parties in low boots, tight pants, front-tucked-in shirts, and long-curled hair; carrying magazine-ready plates of organic foods and centerpieces that would shame Martha Stewart -for an afternoon lunch.

Over-the-top, much?

I know how lovely a well-planned party looks; how much creativity cred a mom can get from other moms for sticking to a theme. I’ve seen the white sitting rooms, silver candlesticks, and fur rugs that make a house look like a family never even breathed in it.

Yes; it’s a nice look.

No; it’s not worth it.

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Why? Because we have to live in a house. We have to raise our children to be balanced and not assume perfection. We need to be present more than give lots of presents. It is possible.

The reason I have a birthday party is not to show off.

The reason I decorate my house is so the kids can look forward to a holiday and so the house itself feels dressier.

The reason I run through a how-to is so that I can get the battery changed in the car without electrocuting myself. If I read a crafting walkthrough, it’s so that I can make an awesomely scary ghost with the kids.

Parents have enough on their plates without worrying about plating the food. They have enough mess to clean without trying to get handprints onto paper plates or shiplap onto walls. Do we really need to make parenting more difficult?

No.

So, don’t feel guilty with a Wal-mart cake and singing. Don’t sigh over mismatched furniture. Don’t worry that you can’t make an American flag out of a pallet.

You just might be human. Plus, your little humans will learn to be reasonable, too.

 

Photo Credits:
Photo by Patricia Prudente on Unsplash
Photo by Niklas Hamann on Unsplash
Photo by Hedy Yin on Unsplash